Let me just start this by saying… if I was able to do this, anyone can do this. When I married J I couldn’t cook or bake ANYTHING. I was awful. I burnt NOODLES. Yep. Noodles. However, I have improved, just ask J! There are a lot of wonderful bakery items and meals I can make that are great! I’ve even found a new love for baking that I never though I would have! So, this will be 1 of 3 posts about pumpkin. This post is obviously about how to make a pumpkin puree, the next two will be on roasted pumpkin seeds and my version of a pumpkin pie!
I can’t lie to you about this though, those darn pie pumpkins are almost impossible to cut into. It took me an HOUR to just cut the tops of the pumpkins off and slice them in half. Yikes! You CAN do this though! And once you do it, you’ll never want to use canned pumpkin again. You can TASTE the difference. This is pure, unaltered pumpkin. No additives, no alterations. Just. Pumpkin. You can bake pumpkin pies, make pumpkin pancakes, put it in cookies, breads…. and more! I love fall 🙂
So…. onto the tutorial!
You can find pie pumpkins at most grocery stores, we mainly shop at a store called Ingle’s Grocery and they just so happened to have pie pumpkins for .98/lb today! So I grabbed two and thought we would try to make a homemade pie today. First step? The pumpkin puree!
My first thought was, “Oh, this is easy peasy! Just need to cut the top off, cut them in half and bake… no problem!” Then I tried to cut through one. Right. Easy peasy my butt. I do not recommend the knife I have pictured above, I ended up using a large serrated knife and a fondue fork (yes, really) to get these suckers open. I seriously stabbed the pumpkin with the fondue fork, plunged it all the way through and rocked it around a bit until the pumpkin started cracking. Then I used the serrated knife to finish cracking and cutting it around until I go the top of the pumpkins removed. That was HARD work. Seriously took me about 45 minutes!
After finally accomplishing that, it was time to cut the pumpkins in half (from top to bottom). Great. I was super excited about that. This wasn’t quite as difficult as the first step, I took the serrated knife and cut each side individually with a rocking motion until I got to the bottom, then I was able to just crack the bottom apart.
After that I was GOING to cut them in half again for a shorter baking time… but I said FORGET IT. My arms were killing me at this point, and Boogie and Miss V were done watching me act like a fool trying to cut them apart in the first place…. so moving on! This next part is the fun part! You get to scoop all the goop out! I scooped it out and put it in a colander (don’t throw those seeds away!). I used a large metal spoon to scoop everything out.
I actually ended up flipping those over so that they were facing down in the pan. I didn’t add anything extra like olive oil or water to steam it or anything… because like I said, this is just pure pumpkin! Put those in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350F. We have a wall oven, so it took about 30 minutes for it to cook for me. You want the meat of the pumpkin to be super tender. The skin will darken (you may see some brown) and be crisp and hard.
I flipped one over so you could see how AWESOME that yummy pumpkin looks on the inside! At this point I started getting pretty darn excited about that pumpkin pie I had planned! I let these cool for about 30 minutes (which in our house means, I let them cool until Bubby was done nursing and the girls had a chance to go on a potty break!) Once they were cool enough to handle, I transferred them to my cutting board and used a fork to pull the yummy pumpkin goodness from the hard skin.
I transferred the pumpkin meat into a medium sized bowl and mashed with a fork until everything was the consistency of mashed potatoes. I was surprised by this, my mom had warned me the night before that the last time she had attempted this it was super watery and didn’t turn out right. But the consistency of these pumpkins was fantastic! Once that was finished I used my hand mixer to puree the pumpkin. I tried using our mini Kitchen Aid processor, but it just wasn’t pureeing the pumpkin like I wanted. So, the hand mixer on high worked GREAT!
And that’s it! You can freeze this in ziploc bags (I had about 1 1/2 cups excess after measuring it out for my pie, so that’s what I did!). I’m pretty sure you can can this as well, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about that! My mom has been doing all the canning for us around here! (Thanks mom!)
Tomorrow I will post my recipe for the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds… they were delicious! So keep an eye out for that and for the pumpkin pie recipe! You won’t want to miss that!