Cooking with Pumpkin Puree

Tis the season for delicious fall flavors! I love to bake this time of year and one of my favorite fall flavors is pumpkin!

Most pumpkin recipes require pumpkin puree. The good news is, making your own fresh pumpkin puree is simple and easy and tastes much better than the canned stuff!

To make your own puree, you must first make sure you have the right type of pumpkins. When picking a good pumpkin for cooking, you’ll want to look for one that’s usually generically labeled as “pie pumpkin”. Some specific names you may find are Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, New England Pie Pumpkin, Lumina (which are white), Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. Choose the right size pumpkins, usually between four and eight pounds. It is okay if it isn’t perfect on the outside, as long as there are no big bruises or soft spots. In the event there are only carving pumpkins available, opt for a winter squash instead, such as butternut squash. Make sure to buy enough pumpkins for the recipe you are making. For example, a 5-pound pumpkin should yield about 2 cups of puree.

*Helpful hint: If you’ve bought too many, don’t let them go to waste! Pumpkin puree can stay good in a freezer for up to year!

How to make pumpkin puree:

  1. Start by cutting your pumpkin in half, stem to bottom.
  2. Using a spoon, scoop out all of the seeds and strings from the middle. Set aside the seeds if you plan on roasting them later!
  3. Place the pumpkin halves face down in a pan and fill the pan with about ¼ inch of water.
  4. Place them in the oven at 350° for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from oven, and use a spoon to scoop out the soft pumpkin inside.
  6. Pulse the soft pumpkin through a food processor until smooth.

Once you have your pumpkin puree, the delicious pumpkin possibilities are endless! Here are a few that are worth trying:

Pumpkin Bread- Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • 15oz pumpkin puree

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and lightly dust two bread pans with flour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients then whisk together until smooth. Divide evenly between 2 prepared bread pans and bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to fully cook.

Pumpkin Alfredo:

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of fettucine
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup half & half
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. Bring a stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water, then add fettuccine. Cook until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and cook for about a minute, careful not to burn. Stir in half & half, Parmesan, pumpkin, and nutmeg. Stir until sauce is heated through and cheese is melted. Stir in pasta water, about ¼ cup at a time, until sauce is desired consistency.
  3. Add pasta and cook over medium-high heat until sauce is smooth and pasta is well coated; about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Divide into bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and fresh grated Parmesan, if desired.

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups rolled or quick oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl to form a thick dough.
  3. Prepare a pan baking pan with parchment paper.
  4. Use hands to form about 12 cookies and place them on baking pan.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

Happy cooking!

Author: 
Jenna Simmons