Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baking with Fresh Pumpkin

Smaller is Better
Choose sugar pie pumpkins or other flavorful varieties. Small and sweet, with dark orange-colored flesh, they're perfect for pies, soups, muffins and breads.
A medium-sized (4-pound) sugar pumpkin should yield around 1½ cups of mashed pumpkin. This puree can be used in all your recipes calling for canned pumpkin.
Field pumpkins, which are bred for perfect jack-o'-lanterns, tend to be too large and stringy for baking.

Choose Your Method
There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking:
Baking Method
Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp. Save the seeds to dry and roast
In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil
Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender
Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it
For silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin puree through a sieve

Boiling Method
Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides
Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks
Place in a saucepan and cover with water
Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender
Let the chunks cool, and then puree the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher or food mill

Microwave Method
Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides
Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Process as above
You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin puree for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six months, enabling you to enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come.

1 comment:

Walk in the Woods said...

For years I've used the baking method, it's so simple and I prefer the quality of the squash pulp that results from using this method. Yummmmy!