fall is my favorite season, and fresh pumpkin is one of the big reasons. i discovered how delicious homemade pumpkin puree is a few years ago, when i decided to buy a pie pumpkin from the farmer's market. the pumpkin puree is silky and has a fresh, bright flavor. i could even eat it plain, straight from the spoon. try it yourself, and you will end up with a lovely homemade pumpkin puree, pumpkin gut bread, and you can roast the seeds to boot!
start off by picking up a sugar (pie) pumpkin from your local market or grocery store. i hear smaller ones are sweeter, and they are certainly more manageable so i would start with one around 2-3 lbs.
cut the pumpkin in half, and break or cut off the stem.
Using the side of a spoon, scrape out all the guts and seeds and relive your childhood pumpkin carving days. don't discard them though, there is a use for both!
once your pumpkin is scraped out, place it face down in a pan (i used a glass pyrex 9" x 13") and pour in about 1/4" of water.
roast it in the oven for about 40 minutes for a 2.5 lb pumpkin. you may need a little extra time if yours is larger. a good indication is to gently tap the top of one of the halves. if this leaves an indentation, your pumpkin should be soft enough to puree.
remove the pumpkin from the water and let it cool slightly. your pumpkin skin should peel right off at this point, and you can add the bright orange flesh to the food processor.
if the skin doesn't peel easily, you can use a spoon to scrape out the flesh.
i used my miniprep to puree the pumpkin in about 4 batches, processing for about 30 seconds each. (my friend's immersion blender was also up to the task, if you don't have a food processor)
if you plan to use your puree for pie, i recommend that you strain your puree. scoop it into a fine sieve, and let it strain over a bowl for about 30 minutes, or until you see the excess liquid has drained out.
taste it, use it in bread, pie, or any other combination of spiced fall baked goods!
now, back to the guts... remember how i said to save them? we are going to use them up in this delicious recipe for pumpkin bread.
separate your guts from seeds.
mix the pumpkin with the other wet ingredients, and then add the spices (shown below) and other dry ingredients to this mix.
stir until just combined, and then pour into a parchment lined loaf pan. sprinkle with cinnamon, and if desired pepitas or chopped pecans.
bake for 30-45 min (depending on pan size, and your oven) until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
it makes a soft-textured, moist, and spicy loaf that no one will ever guess was made with pumpkin guts!
homemade pumpkin puree
makes a scant 2 cups from a 2.5 lb pumpkin
1 sugar pie pumpkin, about 2-3 lbs
water for pan
1. preheat oven to 375 degrees F. cut your pumpkin in half, breaking it open so the stem ends up on one side. cut off the stem, or break it off.
2. scoop out the seeds and guts. take your hollowed out pumpkin halves and place them face down in a baking pan. add water to pan until it reaches about 1/2" up the side.
3. bake in oven for 30-45 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is soft. you can test for doneness by tapping softly on the top of one of the halves with a utensil. if it leaves an indent, your pumpkin should be done.
4. use a food processor or immersion blender to blend the pumpkin into a silky puree, trying to get all of the lumps.
5. if desired, drain the puree over a fine sieve until it has released excess liquid (at least 30 min). i recommend this step if you are using your puree to make a pie.
pumpkin gut bread
makes one loaf (8.5 x 4" or 13 x 5" loaf)
edited from: diana's famous pumpkin bread
1 cup pumpkin guts, chopped finely into small pieces
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat flour or AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water (or if your puree has drained you can use this)
1/2 cup canola oil
extra cinnamon for sprinkling
pepitas for sprinkling (optional)
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F. mix together the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, spices, and sugar. to this, add your pumpkin guts with the remaining ingredients: eggs, water, and oil. mix the two together until combined.
2. pour the batter into a parchment lined loaf pan. either 8.5 x 4" or 13 x 5" works well. bake for about 30-45 minutes. (my 13 x 5" took 32 minutes and the 8.5 x 4" pan took 45 minutes)
3. take out pan when bread it done, it will spring back when you press it lightly, and a toothpick should have moist crumbs, but no batter. let cool completely before slicing. store wrapped in saran wrap.