Rather than letting the pumpkin my parents bought me over fall break rot into a malodorous mush on my desk, I decided to put it to use in some tasty baked goods. Believe it or not, you can make your own pumpkin puree, even with nothing but and oven, a bowl, and a fork.
When I was about 10, my dad decided he wanted to make pie from his homegrown pumpkins. It probably would have been great, if we had baked the pumpkin instead of boiling it. Needless to say, the legend of the chunky pumpkin pie lives on.
If you want to make a smooth, custardy pie from your orange gourd, you will probably want to puree it properly in a food processor. However, if you are in a dorm kitchen, as I am, and you only want to bake something like cake or muffins, you can mash your pumpkin and achieve a carrot cake-like texture in your bake.
Grab those autumnal spices, and here we go.
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
Yield varies depending on size of pumpkin. (Mine made about 1 ¾ cups of mash)
-First, you need a pumpkin of the pie-worthy variety, a cutting board, a knife, a spoon, a baking tray or some other form of oven safe pan (I used a crepe pan, of all things!), and (ideally) a food processor, (less ideally) a potato masher, or (if you’re me) a fork.
– Preheat the oven to 350⁰ F. Cut off the top of the pumpkin. Then, cut it in half vertically and cut the halves in half to make quarters.
-Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. (Save the seeds to roast later if you would like!)
-Place pumpkin quarters on tray or pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (mine took closer to 45 minutes or maybe a bit longer, but I suspect that was a temperature issue with our hall’s oven). They should be lightly browned and fork tender.
-Once the pumpkin has cooled enough to handle, peel the skin away. If you are using a food processor, pulse the pumpkin until smooth. If you are using a masher or a fork, just go at it and hope for the best. I found that adding some liquid (I used almond milk) helps smooth out the puree.
Voila! Pumpkin puree or mash. Use it right away or freeze it in a plastic food storage bag for later.