When given the opportunity, I love trying to make something completely from scratch: grow it, make it, test it out. At least once anyway. Sometimes I find that making it myself makes all the difference and I never go back. (Definitely yogurt!) Sometimes, it’s just a fun experiment and gives me an appreciation of domestic chefs gone by.
I decided this fall that I wanted to try to make a pumpkin pie from a REAL pumpkin, not just a can of pumpkin purée. Even though a can of pumpkin purée says “100% Pure Pumpkin,” it can actually contain any member of the squash family (butternut, acorn, etc.). The exception is Libby Pumpkin, which has a proprietary pumpkin that they have bred for a soft and flavorful flesh. So why not try to make it myself, and know that it’s ALL pumpkin?
Roasting a pumpkin is just like roasting any other squash – I have roasted butternut squash many times – with an extra draining step at the end. While I doubt that I’ll make my own purée every time I get a hankering for a pumpkin muffin or pumpkin bars, I’m glad I tried it!
What you need:
- Pie pumpkin The pumpkins you use for jack-o-lanterns are NOT the same pumpkins you want to use for baking. If you are getting your pumpkin at a farm, ask them which they recommend. I used a Cheese Pumpkin.
- Knife, cutting board
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Fork, spoon
- Food processor
- Large bowl, colander, cheese cloth or butter muslin
Time: 2 hours (prep, baking, processing) + 8-12 hours draining
Serves: My 5 lb pie pumpkin yielded 45 oz (divided into 3 bags (1 3/4 c. each), each the equivalent of one 15 oz can of pumpkin purée)
Multiplying the recipe: You can certainly roast and purée as many pumpkins as you can fit in your oven!
Homemade Pumpkin Purée:
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Wash and dry the pie pumpkin. Use a knife to cut off the top of the pumpkin. Scrape out the seeds and membranes; discard or reserve for roasting the seeds.
Cut the pumpkin into four equal quarters, place them cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 60 minutes. Check doneness by poking the skin with a fork. If it inserts easily, the pumpkin is ready.
Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin into a food processor, working in batches. Process until smooth.
Place a colander in a large bowl. Line it with a double layer of cheesecloth or butter muslin. Pour the purée inside. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator to drain for 8-12 hours. Discard the drained liquid. Use immediately, or place purée in a tightly-sealed container or Ziploc bag. Store in the refrigerator for 3 days or freezer for 6 months.