Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Purée

My friend Trapezista and I chat on Facebook regularly. We recently chatted about our plans for Thanksgiving and both wanted to try pumpkin recipes. However, Trapezista likes me to test recipes first, test them and post them. She can then read my posts and decide if a recipe is worthwhile (did I get that right, D?). So here is the requested post on pumpkin purée.


Most pumpkin purée recipes called for sugar pumpkins. I found some small pumpkins at the Westdale Farmer's Market on my way back from a game of squash (squash! funny!). After asking about whether I could use these pumpkins for purée's, the helpful "farmer" informed me that any pumpkin can be used. However, a pumpkin retains the same total amount of sugar. Therefore, the smaller the pumpkins are sweeter than the larger ones. I asked another lady at the Hamilton Farmers' Market about pumpkin purée and using squash instead. Her answer was that any squash could be used but would not provide the distinct pumpkin flavour. So what's the short answer? Use small pumpkins for pumpkin purée's, but squashes can also be good substitutes.

Pumpkin Purée - makes about 4 cups
Here are three points I want to make about pumpkin purée:
1) Some of the pumpkin purée recipes I found on the internet amused me because they advised that the final product should be like canned pumpkin purée. But I have never bought pumpkin purée nor have I ever seen it!
2) I cooked the pumpkins (about 45 minutes) until I could pierce them with a fork, thinking they were cooked. The pieces of pumpkins were still too hard to purée properly so I had to add water. I then had to cook the mixture for another 30 minutes further to decrease the water content. I also picked out pieces of pumpkin I spotted.
I would bake the pumpkin longer (maybe another 30 minutes) until the pumpkin can be mashed with a fork.
3) Many recipes suggested putting the mixture through a sieve. I was too lazy. I wanted to make pumpkin bread and so a perfect purée was not necessary. This may be different for a pumpkin pie, which requires a smooth texture.

2 pumpkins, about 4 lbs
oil or water

Wash pumpkins (mine were dirty).
Slice pumpkins in half.
Drizzle cut surfaces with oil or water so it does not dry out.
Bake pumpkins for 1 hour 15 minutes until very soft.
Remove seeds and scoop out the pumpkin flesh. (Mine was too hard to scoop out so I peeled the pumpkin and cut the flesh into pieces.)
Purée the pumpkin in a food processor.
(If the pumpkin pieces are too hard to purée on their own, add water.
Cook down the mixture until there is no water.)
The final product should be thick, like... canned pumpkin purée!

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I love the smell of fresh cut pumpkins.

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You can see the chunks are a bit on the hard side and I had to cook my mixture to decrease the water.

For recipes using pumpkin purée:
Pumpkin Fritters
Super Moist Pumpkin Bread & Muffins


Trapezista said...

you make it sound like i take advantage of you...i prefer to think of it as you being an inspiration to me!!! i will be buying my pumpkins tomorrow, thanks for the tips, miss adventure!

Elle said...

I just stuck it in the microwave... only took 10-15 minutes. If you start with quarters it may be faster.