Pumpkin Purée

Time for the yearly pumpkin explosion! We finally depleted our stock of the orange stuff that had been lingering in the freezer for the past two years. While processing the new batch, I realized that I’d linked to a thing that I kind of no longer use. See, I’ve processed enough pumpkins now that I have my own way of doing it. Give it a shot! If it works for you, great; if not, fire up the Google. There are a plethora of other methods that might be better for the kind of cook you are.

You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan), at least one small, firm pie pumpkin or hokkaido pumpkin (try to get one that is smaller than your knife), a food processor with a feed tube and 1 cup of cold water and maybe a pair of rubber gloves (pumpkin leaves a grody film on your hands, sometimes even after washing). Preheat your oven to 350° F/175° C.

  1. Cut up your pumpkin. Start by slicing off the stem end so that you have a nice, flat plane. Set the pumpkin on the cut side so that it is stable, then slice down, halving it longitudinally. Next, halve the halves longitudinally again, then halve the quarters latitudinally. You should have 8 triangular wedges. Gently scrape out the seeds, strings and spongy tissue with a large spoon and set aside. You can clean, season and roast the seeds if that’s your jam.

  2. Arrange the pumpkin wedges skin side down on the baking sheet and bake for 45-90 minutes. Depending on how thick the flesh is, you might need the whole time. The cut edges might brown or blacken a little – this is totally fine. After 45 minutes, check doneness by inserting a thin knife into the flesh – if it slides in easily, it’s done. If you get any resistance, let them go longer and test in 10-15 minute increments. When they’re done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely, at least 1-2 hours.

  3. Fit your food processor with the blade attachment. With a large spoon, scrape the pumpkin flesh into the bowl of the processor and discard the skin. You may need to do this in batches – a good guideline regardless of size is to fill your bowl to a little over half (maximum) with flesh. Attach the lid and turn the processor on to medium-low. If there’s enough moisture in the pumpkin, it should slowly purée into a uniform texture, moving around the bowl with no help. If it’s too dry and seizes up, add water a tablespoon at a time to loosen the pumpkin and (only while turned off!) reposition the chunks with your spatula to get it move into the blade. Once with a particularly dry pumpkin, I had to add a full cup of water to get it to smooth out. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure it’s uniform, then portion into airtight containers. Purée will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (it molds quickly) and in the freezer indefinitely (the smart thing to say is 6 months, but we ate two-year old pumpkin last month and it was perfect).

7 thoughts on “Pumpkin Purée”

  1. Pumpkin Risotto - Regensblog

    […] made a lot of pumpkin purée last fall, which took up residence in the freezer. In an effort to continue the meat detox from our […]

  2. Pumpkin Bread - Regensblog

    […] cloves, allspice and ginger — hit up ochef.com for some ratios to choose from) 1 cup (330g) pumpkin purée 1/2 cup sour cream or crème fraîche (100g) or 1/2 cup plain yogurt optional chopped nuts […]

  3. […] opted to roast the cleaned-out pumpkin chunks in the oven to soften up the flesh as described in her recipe for pumpkin purée. The upshot here was avoiding too much moisture in the […]

  4. Rachel

    I found this just in time! Now to bake a pumpkin pie…

    1. Sarah

      Glad it’s of use – let us know how it turns out!

  5. Tammy

    that is basically how I do it. I usually run the temperature a bit higher, and 30 minutes is enough time. I tried doing it with foil covering the pumpkin, but that leaves in so much moisture that the puree is too wet to make my pies (which is, so far, the only thing I make with the pumpkin).

    1. Sarah

      Dude, we embarked on this pumpkin madness together! I totally agree with you with regard to overly wet purée; that’ll ruin the whole pie. Also, I like the slight edge of smokiness with a dry-roasted pumpkin – makes it easier to go either sweet or savory.

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