Let me just start of by confessing that I had never tasted a pumpkin pie until recently. That too on the relentless urging of my 7 year old daughter who couldn’t get over the fact that her mother hated the very idea of one of her favorite flavors of pie. Well I did not want to break a tender heart and the puppy face looming over my head wasn’t exactly helping, so I took a bite. It wasn’t bad. Rather it was good. “See, I told you. All you gotta do is try!”, was slapped onto my face. The very sentence I use on her, was used on me. And I learnt a lesson. All you gotta do is try. Keep an open mind!
You see where I grew up, there were no pumpkin pies. Pumpkin is one of the most popular varieties of squashes in India but no one would think of putting sugar in it. It was meant to be used on savory dishes only. And then after moving to the US and being exposed to the idea was kind of an eye opener. But then I happened to look and smell pumpkin puree out of a can once and went back to my old beliefs that pumpkin is meant for savory dishes only. And then I gave birth to a very stubborn little girl who wouldn’t get off my tail until I ate that same dreaded pie. Only this particular one was made with homemade pumpkin puree and so I told myself, that’s what made the whole difference.
So I started making pumpkin pies. And trust me, homemade puree makes a huge difference. Best part, its as simple as boiling a pot of water. Well, not exactly but its still super simple. Definitely worth the effort!
Things you need:
A scoop or strong spoon
Aluminum foil (optional)
Using a sharp knife cut the pumpkin from the middle parting it into two parts. Slice the stem off. Try not to cut too much into the pulp. This will help keep your pumpkin stable in the following steps.
Using a spoon or scoop, scrape out all the seeds and innards of the pumpkin. This might need a muscle but do not sweat too much over leaving the inside of the pumpkin super clean. Just try to get all the seeds out.
Now line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. This step is totally optional but its nice to have a clean baking sheet after all the messy baking is over.
Line your pumpkin, face down. Pop it into the oven at 350 deg. F for 1 hr – 1 hr 30 mins. or until the pumpkin is fork tender. I prefer not to add anything to the pumpkin while roasting but if you like you can flavor it with some cinnamon, cayenne or simply olive oil.
Once cooked through, pull the baking sheet out of the oven. Let it cool for 15- 20 minutes. Now the pumpkin will be super soft and smooth. Just scoop it all out using a spoon.
Transfer to a food processor and blend it to a puree. Store in an airtight container, in a refrigerator for 4-5 days or in a freezer for almost a month. Use it in a pie, cake, baked pasta or any recipe using a pumpkin puree.