Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree
An easy tutorial for making fresh roasted pumpkin puree, which can be used in all of your favorite fall and holiday recipes this year. Use it for these homemade pumpkin ice cream drumsticks!
Homemade pumpkin puree! Let’s discuss it.
Let me start off by saying that I totally understand the argument for not making pumpkin puree from scratch. Most of us live within proximity of a grocery store that sells reliable and great pumpkin puree for less than $2.00 a can.
Let’s face it, most pie pumpkins cost at least $1.00/lb, so financially and logically, canned pumpkin puree makes a lot of sense.
I use canned pumpkin puree 99% of the time and you’d be hard pressed not to find a can of it in my pantry at any given time throughout the year.
On the flip side, I can personally attest that homemade roasted pumpkin puree is worth the effort (and I use the word “effort” lightly, because it requires very little active time, just a few more dishes!) every now and then.
Would I use it for regular pumpkin muffins or a loaf of pumpkin bread? Um, no. Probably not. I’m not sure if the average person would be able to tell the difference in a normal baked good.
I would recommend using it for a few things: homemade pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (if you’re going to the trouble of making pie crust and everything else from scratch, why not?), any type of pumpkin sauce or filling (for pasta, etc.), and any dish where pumpkin is the one and only star of the show.
When you pull a pumpkin pie (made with your very own homemade pumpkin puree!) out of your oven on Thanksgiving this year, I guarantee you will feel all sorts of good feelings. Accomplishment and maybe a healthy dose of Martha Stewart-esque pride. It’s the little things, right?
If you do decide to make homemade pumpkin puree at some point this year, there are few important ground rules. It is very, very important to buy a pie pumpkin for this.
Don’t try to roast your average jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Regular pumpkins have a significantly higher moisture content (aka. your pumpkin puree will be more watery, which will also affect anything you bake!) and are significantly less sweet in flavor. Not to mention, you’ll have a hell of a time trying to slice a normal pumpkin into pieces.
Many, many years ago, my family and I were celebrating Thanksgiving in England with my grandmother and we tried to make pumpkin pie (there is virtually no canned pumpkin available in England, or at least, there wasn’t at that point in time) with a normal pumpkin and it was…a disaster.
Seek out pumpkins that are labeled as “pie pumpkins”! Nowadays, practically every grocery store (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.) sells them near the produce section.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
Slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise, scoop out and set aside the seeds (you can clean and roast them for a healthy snack!). Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down on the sheet pan.
Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pumpkins have partially collapsed, and the flesh is very soft and is beginning to pull away from the skin.
Scoop out the flesh and puree until smooth in a food processor. Store in the fridge or freeze for later! That’s it!
After tasting this homemade pumpkin puree and Libby’s canned pumpkin (which is technically squash) puree side-by-side, I can say that homemade puree has a significantly better texture and has an overall better flavor on its own.
I wouldn’t personally enjoy eating Libby’s canned pumpkin out of the can, whereas I could easily enjoy homemade pumpkin puree on its own.
TIP: If you are planning on using homemade pumpkin puree for Thanksgiving this year, I recommend making it 1-2 days in advance to free up oven space and time the day of!
Check back on Wednesday for a new (incredibly fun) recipe using this homemade pumpkin puree!
Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree
- 2 lb whole pie pumpkin (do not substitute with a standard pumpkin)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise (depending on how tough the pumpkin stalk is, you can either slice through it, or remove it first, then slice). Using a serrated or large spoon, scoop out all of the pumpkin seeds and discard (or save them for roasting!).
- Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the sheet pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pumpkins have partially collapsed and the flesh is very soft and beginning to pull away from the skin.
- Peel the skin away from the pumpkin flesh and discard the skin. Chop the pumpkin flesh into large chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a blade attachment. Process and puree the roasted pumpkin until it is very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula. A 2-lb pie pumpkin should yield roughly 2 cups of pumpkin puree.
- Place the pumpkin puree in an airtight container, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can use the pumpkin puree (as you would any canned pumpkin puree) in all of your favorite pumpkin baked goods or pies. **Alternatively, you can freeze the pumpkin puree in Ziploc freezer bags (I recommend freezing them in quantities and labeling the bags, aka. 2 cups) for easy grabbing to defrost later.
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