14 November, 2015
Preparing a Pie Pumpkin for Baking
I have nothing against canned pumpkin. I actually think it’s one of the better canned items out there. But I am against wasting food and between Halloween and our CSA I had 3 pie, or sugar, pumpkins. They needed to be prepped so I could bake them into all of my seasonal recipes. Last year I made pumpkin, cranberry breads and a pumpkin, pecan pie. I can honestly say, that as in most things prepared from scratch, I could taste the difference between fresh prepared pumpkin and canned pumpkin in my pie. Last years pie was the best so far and I am hoping to recreate it again! But this is a blog about two dietitians so enough about pie.
To prepare the pumpkin I wash it, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Reserve the seeds if you like roasted pumpkin seeds. I didn’t think of sharing this recipe when I started this so I have no pictures of the beginning prep but it’s about the same as preparing a winter squash.
Now there are a few ways to proceed. The easiest is to place the pumpkin in a large covered casserole skin side up with enough water to come up 1/2 inch. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake at 350 degrees until it is soft. This can take a bit of time sometimes up to two hours. Keep checking every 15-20 minutes after an hour has passed. Check by inserting a knife or fork into the pumpkin. If there is no resistance it’s done.
I had to leave part way through cooking and I was hoping that by leaving the pumpkin in the warm, but off, oven it would finish cooking. It didn’t. So I peeled and cubed it which was very easy since it was partially cooked, added a bit more water, covered and cooked until soft. You can cook the pumpkin anyway you like as long as it gets soft. I wouldnt roast it for this it would be the wrong consistency.
Now scoop the meat of the pumpkin into a large bowl to purée with an immersion blender or into a food processor. Process until smooth. You could probably do this with a kitchen aid mixer, hand mixer or potatoe masher too just try to get it smooth. The mixture at this point is wet. I like to place the pumpkin purée in a fine mesh strainer set in a bowl.
It needs a few hours but I usually just place it in the fridge over night. Depending on how much pumpkin you are cooking you may end up with a lot of liquid. I needed to pour off the liquid a few times so that the purée was not sitting in it. I pour the liquid into a jar and I’ll use that in my next soup.