I love pumpkin. I love carving pumpkins (see this post) and I love to eat pumpkin. That being said, I’ve never made anything pumpkin myself. I’ve always just enjoyed the lovely delicious treats others have made. And I’ve certainly never considered roasting my own pumpkin to make my own puree…until this year.
Then again, there’s a lot of things I’ve never done until this year…
Anyway, once I got it into my head that I was going to cook from real pumpkin and not the canned stuff, I did some research and set out to buy a “pie pumpkin.” (You can use a regular jack-o-lantern pumpkin, but we had already carved ours and didn’t want to “waste” them by turning them into puree. You can’t use the stringy inside part of the jack-o-lantern that you scoop out–it’s too stringy–you have to use the meat of the pumpkin, the part you carve.)
So on Saturday while Wyatt was across the parking lot helping a new neighbor try to get his way-too-big couch into his apartment, I set to work with the roasting.
To start, I chopped the pumpkin in half with a big knife (thanks to Wyatt who made sure we had big knives on our registry).
And then, just like when making a jack-o-lantern, you scoop out the “guts” and seeds. (You can reserve the seeds if you’re into roasting them.)
When you’re done, it should look like this.
And then, just put the pumpkin upside down in a large roasting pan and add about a quarter-inch of water to the bottom. Cover and roast at 350 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin and your oven settings.
In the meantime, I used the time to sort out the seeds from the guts, including the guts from the two big pumpkins we had carved Friday night.
I rinsed them in the sink in our colander to help get off any extra pumpkin mush.
And then, I have to admit, that at one time in this process, I dropped the pan I was keeping the seeds in…and this happened.
It was a HUGE mess. I was both annoyed and embarrassed and tickled. I mean, it was something out of a movie. The way they flew up into the air and pitter-pattered all over my floor as they fell…oh man.
And before long, the pumpkin was ready to take out of the oven. It turns a bit darker and gets very soft.
You’ll know it’s done when it’s soft to the touch, and the meat part is fork tender.
By this point, our whole apartment smelled like wonderful Fall goodness. Too bad Wyatt missed it all since he was away at the neighbor’s all afternoon.
While the pumpkin was cooling a bit, I worked on my seeds some more. And since they are going to be a surprise for a friend (Miss Liz!) I won’t give away my secrets just yet…
By this time, the pumpkin was ready to be scooped out. This was a fun part of the process.
I got really excited at this point because I realized I had succeeded at what seemed like a pretty scary endeavor. And it wasn’t even that scary!
And at this point, you can run it through a food processor or blender to have it ready to use in recipes. I decided to just keep mine as is until I was ready to use it.
It was certainly an adventure. And I guess it was worth it, but I’m not sure I’d do it every time I want to make something with pumpkin. It took me several hours, and honestly, it doesn’t taste that different to me once it’s all cooked into whatever you make.
And what did I make?
Well, aside from the smoothie attempt that we threw out, prompting me to ask my good friend Alysa for her recipe, which I’m sure will be much better, I made a four layer dessert, with a recipe I created myself. Yay.
Bottom later: pumpkin cookie mix and graham cracker crust, baked to make it crispy.
Second layer; creamy pumpkin pie filling (hard with no recipe, next time I’ll find something to copy!)
Third layer: no bake cheesecake mixture (note, allow the pumpkin layer to cool before putting this layer on!)
Top layer: fresh homemade vanilla whipped cream. Yum.
Yum. Yum. Yum.
I was worried, but it came out great!
And last night was the night to prove it, relaxing with Hubs on the couch while he played video games and I read Jane Austen. and enjoyed a bit of homemade “apple pie,” i.e. spiked cider.