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Baking Tips

Yes, You Can Make Pie from Fresh Pumpkin

Made with the right pumpkin, homemade pumpkin puree can have more flavor than your typical canned pumpkin. Here’s how to make it. 

Published Nov. 11, 2022.

The answer to the questions, “Are all pumpkins edible?” and “Can you cook with fresh pumpkin?” is technically yes. 

But not all pumpkins will taste good. 

If you’ve ever seen those smaller pumpkins sold outside of grocery stores and wondered what you could do with them, you’ve come to the right article.

Those smaller pumpkins are likely sugar pumpkins or a similar variety bred for pies and eating.

That means that while they may look cute on your stoop or dining room table, they are even better cooked. 

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A sugar pumpkin is about 8 to 10 inches in diameter and usually has a darker orange exterior compared to a carving pumpkin such as the jack-o’-lantern variety. 

They are bred to be more flavorful, denser, and drier than bigger carving pumpkins, which makes them ideal for cooking and eating. We created a homemade pumpkin puree recipe using sugar pumpkins that has a fresher taste than the canned stuff

However, sugar pumpkins are still somewhat watery even when cooked, so you can’t simply cook one until soft, puree it, and then expect it to do well in your baked good.

Our recipe takes steps to remove as much moisture as possible to give the puree the best flavor and texture for autumnal items such as our Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars or Pumpkin Pie

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How to Make “Canned” Pumpkin Puree from Real Pumpkin 

Roast the pumpkin. For a texture that is comparable to canned pumpkin puree, we roast the sugar pumpkin until it is completely tender. Roasting helps dry out the pumpkin and concentrate its sweetness. 

Puree it. We puree the roasted pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.

Drain the puree. We strain the puree for a good hour using a fine-mesh strainer to rid it of any remaining excess liquid.

Check its consistency. To ensure that the puree has the right texture to bake or cook with, we pack it into a drinking glass and then upend it. If it slumps gently, that means it has the right amount of liquid and the correct density. If it slumps too much, we return it to the strainer.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Total Time: 1¾ hours, plus 1 hour resting

1 sugar pumpkin (or other eating pumpkin), halved from top to bottom, seeds and pulp removed

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place pumpkin halves cut side down on parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the flesh can be easily pierced with a skewer, 45 to 60 minutes. Turn halves over and continue to roast 30 minutes longer. Scoop flesh from skins and puree in food processor until smooth. Drain puree in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl for at least 1 hour.
  2. To test consistency, pack puree into small drinking glass and unmold it onto plate. It should slump gently toward base but otherwise hold its shape. Loosen as necessary with drained liquid, or return puree to strainer and continue to drain it if it is too loose. Puree can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen in an airtight container with parchment pressed on its surface for up to two months. You can substitute this puree for an equal amount of canned product.

Now go and swap your fresh pumpkin puree for canned in any of your favorite pumpkin recipes. 


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