Whether for pies, soup, dips, or homemade baby food, make the most of your pumpkin patch by making fresh pumpkin puree.
Pumpkins abound across Canada in the fall, and it always seems a shame to just carve them up, toast some seeds, and send most of the poor pumpkin to the compost bin come November.
If you'd like to make the most of your pumpkins in the kitchen this year, our test kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier shares expert advice on making your own pumpkin purée – perfect for harvest pumpkin pies, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soups and more.
How to make pumpkin purée from fresh pumpkins:
1. Choose pumpkins that are free of blemishes and heavy for their size. Store at room temperature for up to a month or refrigerated for up to three months. Sugar pumpkins are best for cooking and baking, and are available October to December.
2. Slice off the stem end of the pumpkin 2 inches from the top; scrape out seeds and membranes, reserving seeds for toasting if desired.
3. Lightly brush the inside of the pumpkin with oil or butter. Cook on baking sheet at 375ºF (190ºC) until flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about 1-1/2 hours. Cool on rack.
4. Scoop flesh into blender or food processor; whirl until smooth. Transfer to a sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth or overlapping coffee filters and set over a bowl.
5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to drain, refrigerated, overnight.
6. Use puree within a few days or freeze for later use.
Use up your fresh pumpkin purée in these recipes:
A gingersnap cookie crust, spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling and whipped cream cloud topping make this heavenly fall dessert absolutely irresistible. Even the most devout pumpkin pie purists will be converted!
This classic pie uses sugar, or pie, pumpkins, which are abundant in the fall. They are much smaller than jack-o'-lantern pumpkins; one average-size sugar pumpkin will yield enough purée for just a single pie.
Pumpkin is a common ingredient in Thai cooking. Pie pumpkins are not always available in grocery stores throughout the year, but butternut squash makes a great alternative. Add another chili pepper if you like heat. For colour and added texture, sprinkle with sliced red chili pepper just before serving.
Transform leftover pumpkin purée into a speedy five-ingredient dessert that's sure to become your full-fledged fall obsession.
This stunning layer cake will make an extraordinary ending to any Thanksgiving meal. Your guests will love the unique combination of spiced pumpkin cake and rich, buttery chocolate icing.