How to Roast and Puree Pumpkin for Baking Recipes (Cooking with Pumpkin) – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
Hi, my name is Mary Ellen Rae, with Personal Touch Gourmet. So, it is very simply to bake with a pumpkin. What you want to do is wash it first. Use a serrated knife which will make it easier to make this first cut. If you find this pumpkin is really hard and hard to get a knife into, you can put this in the microwave oven, if it fits in your microwave oven, 15 to 30 seconds, and that will just soften up the skin enough so that you can get a knife into it. But what you are going to do is going to put your knife all the way through. And see how hard it can be? You are going to take half your pumpkin, you going to take a spoon, and just dig right into it. And you are going to scoop out the filling. You want to get all the strings, all the seeds, but you want to save these seeds, because these seeds taste great roasted in the oven with butter and salt. So you are just going to make sure you get it all the way down, so it is very clean, like this.
And then, you are going to either use butter or pan spray onto your baking sheet. You are going to put it cut side down, like this, and you are going to roast this in a 350 degree oven. 45 minutes for this small size pumpkin, up to about an hour and a half for a larger pumpkin. And then you are going to take a knife and you are going to want to be, go into this knife — into this pumpkin. And once it is tender, so the knife can go straight through, the pumpkin is ready. So, it will come out of the oven. It will look like this. You are going to take a clean spoon, and then you are just going to be pulling out this roasted pumpkin flesh. This will go into a food processor, or if you have a potato masher, that is fine. If you want a finer puree, for a soup for instance, you could also push it through a fine mesh strainer to get a super smooth, very silky, pumpkin puree.
But this, then, is perfect to use in any type recipe — soups, pumpkin pies, cookies, muffins- whatever you want, when you want freshly roasted pumpkin in a recipe. When I roast pumpkins, I like to put a little bit — a little layer of butter down first. It gives the nice coloration on the side of this pumpkin, here. When it is pureed, I do think it adds a little bit of flavor to the pumpkin, but at this stage of the roasting, you are not going to add salt or pepper or any spices, unless you know ahead of time what you are going to do with this pumpkin puree. But it actually makes more sense, later, to start adding all your seasonings.