Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Puree Attempt #2

I wrote a few weeks ago that I had been unsuccessful in making my own pumpkin puree - I had attempted with so-called "pie-pumpkins" - which seemed appropriate. I ended up using butternut squash puree instead, but I wasn't quite ready to give up on trying to make pumpkin puree. This time I used an heirloom "Cinderella" pumpkin - and let me tell you she was just about too pretty to eat! I kept her for a week, hesitant to cut up such a beauty, but this weekend I couldn't wait any longer! For a mere $3 I got over 8 cups of perfect orange and creamy pumpkin puree.

To make pumpkin puree:
1) Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds - save for toasting!!!
2) Cut pumpkin into smaller chunks and remove peel - alternatively you could leave it in half (and even not remove the peel), but mine was really big and wouldn't fit in my baking pans.
3) Place pumpkin halves/chunks in a baking dish (cut side down if in half) - preferable put a baking rack in the bottom of the dish so there is a little space between the bottom of the baking dish and the pumpkin.
4) Pour just a little a bit of water in the bottom of the baking dish - about 1/4-1/2 inch
5) Cover with foil and baking until very tender (mine took about 45 minutes at 350 degrees)
6) Puree the cooked pumpkin in a food processor or blender (if you left the peel on, just scoop out the flesh and puree it).

*** Instead of baking the pumpkin, you could steam it on the stove top or in the microwave.

With half of my puree I made pumpkin butter, which is a yummy twist on the apple butter from my last post - I've seen lots of versions on this on the web lately, I kind of improvised a little with what I had on hand.

Pumpkin Butter:
4 Cups Pumpkin Puree
11/2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
11/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients and let simmer on low heat - stirring occasionally until it reduces and thickens a little. Pour into canning jars and seal (or any other container, you'll just need to eat it sooner - which shouldn't be a problem).

*** Lots of the recipes I've seen on the web have called for adding some additional liquid - namely apple juice or cider. My pumpkin was more watery than canned pumpkin so I didn't think that was necessary. If you use canned puree, you should add about 1/4 cup of liquid for every cup of pumpkin.

Like pumpkin butter this is great on bread, but I can't wait to have it on some warm biscuits!

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