Every year during pumpkin season, I buy a few sugar pumpkins so I’m ready to make fresh pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Last year disaster struck, my pumpkins rotted before Thanksgiving! In years past I had kept my pumpkins in a cool place and they lasted. Last year, no such luck. I’ve tried to find pumpkins around Thanksgiving and I never can. The lesson: buy those pumpkins early, make pumpkin puree early and freeze it!
Confession: I am a pumpkin pie snob. Most people are all about the turkey come Thanksgiving. Not me, I’m all about the pie and if I could only have just one pie… it would be pumpkin. I try not to eat many sweets, but when I do, I want the best and I want it to be worth it. That means my pumpkin pie has to be amazing and that means fresh pumpkin puree.
Yes, fresh pumpkin puree. When I first started making my own pumpkin puree I was surprised how many people thought this was a hard thing to do. It’s not! I’ve you’ve ever baked a squash, you can make pumpkin puree. Pumpkins are a type of squash and baking them is basically the same thing.
The first thing you want to do is get yourself some sugar pumpkins. I usually find mine in the produce section of the grocery store and they are labeled “sugar pumpkins,” “pie pumpkins,” or “baking pumpkins.” They are about 6–8 inches in diameter. The flesh is firmer and not as stringy as those big pumpkins you buy to carve into jack-o-lanterns.
To prep your sugar pumpkin, first snap off the stem and then cut the pumpkin in half. I use a large sharp knife and I’m very careful!
Scoop out the seeds and fiber with a large spoon.
Next you’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 400°. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place the pumpkin halves flesh-side down on the sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 35–45 minutes. The amount of time will depend on your oven temperature and the size of your pumpkin. The pumpkin will be tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Allow the pumpkin to cool completely and then scoop out the pumpkin flesh. I prefer to use my immersion blender to puree the pumpkin, you could also use a food processor or blender. You’ll easily get enough pumpkin to make one pie, probably more.
That is it! Easy. Peasy.
Now just freeze that puree and you’re ready to bake that pumpkin pie in a few weeks. I’ll be sharing my pumpkin pie recipe with you next month so check back!!