A few weeks back, I saw these little pumpkins that are called "Pie Pumpkins" or "Sugar Pumpkins". I did some research and found that they are grown to be used for pumpkin pies and they are supposed to have more flavor. The first thing we had to learn was how to roast and process them.
Below is how we did it:
First, slice them in half. Be VERY VERY careful, they are hard and you need a sharp knife and a careful and steady hand. As you can see, they are filled with seeds and the stringy pulp.
Using a spoon (we used a large metal scoop type spoon) scrape out the pulp and seeds. You may have to scrape a little to get it all out but it comes out pretty easily.
You'll get a lot of seeds and pulp. If you like roasted pumpkin seeds, don't throw this out. We'll have a pumpkin seed roasting 101 coming soon. If you don't care for them, toss them in the compost pile.
Rub the inside and outside with canola oil and place them, cut side down, on a sheet pan/cookie sheet.
Roast at 350 degrees on the middle rack of your oven for about an hour. The skin will start to wrinkle and darken and the kitchen will smell like, well, pumpkins!
Let them cool a bit, they will be very hot so be careful. If they are cooked through, the skin should just peel off. You might have to pull off smaller pieces by hand, but it will more or less come off using a spoon and some patience.
Pull the chunky pumpkin flesh away from the skin and put it into a bowl. Don't worry about cutting it up or worry about it if it breaks up because it's all going to be pureed in the next step.
The best and easiest thing to use is a stick blender (or immersion blender as they are also called). A food processor works great as well. You could also put it, a little bit at a time, into a regular blender. Whatever you use, just blend it until smooth and creamy.
As you can see, there is a lot of moisture that will need to be removed. This liquid is what will ruin your pies or baked goods, so the best thing to do is to let it drain.
We put it into a mesh strainer set over a larger bowl and just let nature take its course. It took about an hour or so, with occasional stirring (to make sure it all gets out) for it to drain.
Don't mash it too hard as you stir it in the mesh strainer or you might lose some pulp as we did here. As you can see, the liquid will just pour out for awhile and then slow to a drip.
|Sugar Pie Pumpkin puree|
We ended up with about six cups of puree and we vacuum sealed them in our Foodsaver bags and popped them in the freezer. We will be making a pie with some of it soon and we also just picked up four more sugar pumpkins so we should end up with six more cups soon. We figured better to get them now while they are readily available.
Thanks and good luck!