I do not use canned pumpkin or the canned pie fillings. When we make a pumpkin filled baked goodies , which happens quite a lot during the season, it starts of with the roasted mashed pumpkins. The difference in flavor is absolutely amazing. Making the puree or mashed pumpkins is an easy task. Be warned though , once you have made a pie filling from fresh pumpkin , you will never make it out of a can again.
We can roast any squash or gourd or pumpkin in the same way. But for pies or breads you will need is a Sugar Pie Pumpkin. These are only available during fall, but the roasted puree freezes well , just in case you have a craving for fresh pumpkin fie in the middle of winter or summer :-).
The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the pumpkin. Wash and clean the pumpkin thoroughly. Pat it dry and cut it in half. A good kitchen knife is all that you need. The only part that is hard to cut through is the stem. Now I am not for a wrestling match with the stem, so I cut at an angle in such a way that the stem stays on one piece. But you know this might be a good opportunity to get the reluctant muscular members of the family into the kitchen as well.
Once the pumpkin is cut use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibers attached to it. At this point you can either leave the pieces as is or cut them into smaller sections . Take a roasting pan big enough to fit the pieces and place the pumpkins on it skin side up.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. If the pumpkins are cut into small pieces (quarters or eighths) , cover the pan with foil and roast for 40 minutes. If cut in half the skin itself seals in moisture making the foil cover unnecessary. After 40 minutes check the pumpkins to see if the flesh is fork tender . If not roast for an additional 10 minutes.
I do not add any water to the roasting pan. This way the pumpkin do not get steamed or mushy and the end product fares well in the fridge or freezer.
Once cooked , remove from the oven and let it cool until warm to touch. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh off the skin. Use immediately or keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. or transfer to a freezer safe bag or container, tightly wrap and freeze.
Roasting a Pumpkin
- Small Sugar Pie Pumpkin/ Squash - 1 about 3 lbs.
- Clean and pat dry the pumpkin. Cut in half or into smaller pieces if desired . Do not remove the skin.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the pieces, skin side up, in a roasting pan. If using smaller pieces Cover with a an aluminium foil. Roast for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and check if the flesh is fork tender. If not roast for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool till it is easy to handle. Scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
- Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container or freeze for future use.
These are lovely in pie fillings , soups , or drizzle a little kicked up oil on top and serve as a side dish !!!