Let the fall and winter baking season officially begin! I have pumpkin seeds roasted and pumpkin bread just about to come out of the oven. Thus begins the Holiday Food Extravaganza!
But, before I tempt you with the recipes for spiced pumpkin bread and iced pumpkin cookies, let me tell you about pumpkins. Once upon a time in London in November, two American college students set out to organize an American Thanksgiving Dinner. Yours truly roasted a turkey for the first time and made her famous cranberry pie. Her best friend wanted pumpkin pie. Really wanted pumpkin pie. Well, this being London on the third Thursday in November, there was no canned pumpkin to be had for love or money. But, thanks to the food procurers at Harrods, my friend arrived back with two small cooking pumpkins. They looked a lot like these ones:
The pies that she made from those pumpkins were the the BEST pumpkin pies EVER! And I’ve always attributed it to the fresh pumpkins that she went all the way to Harrods to find on Thanksgiving Day.
Since then I’ve been happily going along, making pumpkin pies, and pumpkin bread and even pumpkin cheesecake with canned pumpkin. And they have been really good. But in the back of my head I’ve kept wondering how much better they could be if I used fresh pumpkin. Well, we’re about to find out!
A few weeks ago at the Farmers’ Market, I bought two small cooking pumpkins. They were lovely table decorations for a week, and Halloween night I decided it was time to cut them open and extract their flesh and goopy pulpy seeds. (Sort of a Halloween thing to do, don’t you think?)
And yes, I know that it’s now the middle of November. But I’ve just opened two shows (with yours truly designing set and lights for one, and lights for the other) and I’ve been a tad busy of late. I haven’t not been cooking and taking pictures, I’ve just been too busy to get them posted. I’ll try to make up for it this week!
makes about 28 oz. of puree, and 1 cup of seeds
- 2 small (6″-8″ in diameter) cooking pumpkins
That’s it. That’s the ingredient list. Just pumpkins. Wow.
Cut up the pumpkins and scoop out the insides with a metal spoon. Save the seeds for roasting with spices. I opted to cut my pumpkins into quarters as it seemed like a reasonable size to deal with. I imagine it doesn’t really matter.
Put the pumpkin quarters in a large pot with a steamer basket and an inch or two of water. Steam them for about 20 minutes, or until the flesh is soft.
Let them cool to a temperature at which you can handle them, then scoop the flesh out from the skin into a bowl, pot, or the work bowl of a food processor or blender. Toss the skins. With a stick blender (which is what I used) or in the food processor or blender, puree the pumpkin flesh until smooth.
There. That’s it. Now you have pumpkin puree. Stash it in the fridge for a few days, or for longer storage, in the freezer. Use it as you would canned pumpkin.