Fresh Pie Pumpkin Puree: How?
I just got back from the farmer's market and bought me a sweet pumpkin. I usually use the canned kind, but I thought I'd try my hand at it. Problem: I don't know how. This didn't exactly occur to me at the time; I just thought it'd be as easy as, well, pie.
Cut it in half. I don't worry about taking out the stringy stuff, bake open face down on a baking sheet until tender - very tender for puree, cool, gently take out the seeds and gunk, remove pulp from skin and puree in a blender or food processor. Strain or food mill it if you want it very smooth. You may need to drain if it is too watery depending on your pumpkin,
I agree that baking it is superior to boiling it. If you boil it be prepared to spend a lot of time getting all the water drained out ... it can be overwhelming. That said, if you do find that it is wetter than you'd like it to be, just plop the whole mass into a cheese cloth and squeeze the daylights out of it. Then make your pie as usual.
I just did two of them the other day. Cut in half vertically and remove seeds and stringy bits (don't be obsessive about this). Face down on a baking sheet with a little bit of water on the sheet to produce steam. Bake at 400 to 425 until it gives a bit when you press on the top of one half. Then turn over and bake for another 15 minutes or so to dry out the flesh a bit. Scoop into a food processor and puree. I also drained it for an hour or so in a coffee filter to remove excess liquid because I prefer a thicker puree. I packed the puree into containers - recipe-size amounts - and froze. I've been doing this for years and I very much prefer the clean flavour of home-made pumpkin puree to the canned stuff.
Yeah, it's really as easy as the above posters say. I actually don't even time my pumpkins (timing can vary based on size), but just leave them in until they are really soft and a knife barely needs any pressure to push through the skin. Temp doesn't seem to matter that much either - anywhere from 350 - 425 has been fine for me (in case you're cooking something else at the same time).
One of the main reasons we make our own puree is for the seeds! Don't forget the seeds! I just scrape them out into a bowl (don't even rinse them), drizzle them with a little olive oil, sprinkle on salt and some cayenne pepper, stir, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast them at 350 for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned. They are the most addictive snack, and more requested than potato chips by all the kids I know.