If you’ve never used fresh pumpkin purée to bake fall goodies, you’re missing out. Fresh pumpkin tastes far better than its canned cousin and cooking one (or two!) can be just as much fun as carving a jack-o’-lantern. Shake up your fall routine and make your own pumpkin purée to use in fresh pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin soup.
How to cook a pumpkin
Step 1: Be sure to buy the right type of pumpkin. While the jack-o’-lantern variety may be fine for carving spooky designs, the sweet flesh of a pie pumpkin is perfect for autumn baking.
Step 2: Cut the pumpkin open and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff—just as you would if you were carving it for decorative purposes. If you wish, reserve the seeds and save them for roasting.
Step 3: Remove the stem, slice the pumpkin in half and bake face up in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes or more. Cook until the pumpkin is soft (you can test doneness by piercing it with a fork).
Step 4: Scoop out the cooked pumpkin and throw away the skin. Purée the pumpkin glop using an electric mixer or potato masher.
In the spirit of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, here are three great pumpkin recipes using just two pie pumpkins.
Makes 1 pie
For the pie filling:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 6-ounces evaporated milk
For the crust:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
Make the crust:
- Mix flour, butter, water, sugar, and salt until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes.
- Roll out the chilled dough as thin as possible and place it in a greased pie pan. Set aside and prepare the filling.
Make the filling:
- Combine pumpkin purée with eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Add cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger to the filling. Mix well. The mixture will be slightly soupy.
Bake the pie:
Pour filling into the crust and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes and at 350 degrees F for another 45 minutes or more. Bake until the filling is set (test for doneness by inserting a clean knife into the pie; if it comes out clean, it’s done).