One of the best things about Fall has to be pumpkin pie. I don’t really care if it’s topped with whipped cream or not. For me it’s all about the pumpkin.
Until this year I had only ever used canned pumpkin puree´. The thought of cutting, cooking and puree´ing pumpkin exhausted me. I made the assumption that it was a huge amount of work and one of those things that wasn’t really worth the effort.
Was I wrong!
It’s super easy, quick to do, and the flavour is soooooo much better than canned pumpkin. In just 30 minutes I was ready to bake up some delicious pumpkin spice cookies. You can make large batches of pumpkin puree´ and refrigerate for a few days or freeze for a few months and thaw as needed.
A couple lessons I learned along the way
Choose the right pumpkin for the job
All pumpkins aren’t created equal. The perfect pumpkin for carving isn’t necessarily the perfect pumpkin for pies, tart, roulades and cookies. I prefer a small pumpkin for baking and cooking. You’ll get more bang for your buck.
Smaller pumpkins have a lot of meat. Typically, less stringy pulp and not too many seeds plus the water content is lower than the jack o lantern style pumpkin.
The larger the pumpkin the more watery the final product will be. Save those seeds and roast for snacking on, or adding to soups and salads. Just let them dry out overnight before toasting.
Cut into small size chunks
Although you can cut the pumpkin in half and roast, it cooks much faster when cut into smaller size chunks. If I’m using the pumpkin for baking I don’t add any seasoning at all, not even salt. I want just the pumpkin flavour.
If I’m going to cook with it, I like to add a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Try adding pumpkin to quinoa salads or butternut squash soup recipes.
Roast the pumpkin chunks at 350°F and when it’s fork tender it’s cooked, about 20 minutes or so. Try to avoid overcooking as the pumpkin will become mushy.
Allow the pumpkin chunks to cool until you can easily peel the rind away with your hands.
Puree´ in either a food processor or blender. Depending on the pumpkin meat you might need to add a touch of water if it’s dry or pass it through a fine mesh sieve if its on the watery side.
There is absolutely no way to predict this ahead of time. You will need to judge every pumpkin on it’s own merits.
For this pumpkin I ended up with 4 cups of puree´, enough for 2 pumpkin pies and 24 pumpkin spice cookies.
Give these pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese frosting a try. You will not be disappointed and will wonder if you’re eating a cookie or a miniature cake. One thing is for sure, they don’t last very long.
Preheat oven to 350°F
1 small pumpkin, cut into chunks and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast 20 minutes, checking occasionally for doneness. It should be fork tender.
Cool to the touch. Remove rind and puree´ in food processor or blender.
Store in the fridge for a couple days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Great in pies, cookies, roulades, cheesecakes……..
For soups, casseroles and salads toss the pumpkin in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting.
Trish is the top spoon at