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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cooking a Fresh Pumpkin-Easy as Pie!

Making pumpkin pies from fresh pumpkins sounds
scary and intimidating but isn't at all. Last
week I tried cooking two different kinds of
edible pumpklins (as opposed to carving
pumpkins) and experimented with different
methods of cooking them. The two kinds of pumpkins
I used were the traditional "pie pumpkin" and
the more unusual looking "musque de provence"
also called a "fairytale" pumpkin. The 'fairytale'
pumpkin is shown in the above photo. The two
methods I used were steaming (in a regular
vegetable steamer) and baking.

The first method I used was steaming.
Before cutting into the pumpkin, rinse off the exterior
and dry it off. Next, using a serrated knife cut it in
the desired size pieces. Be very careful, they can be
slippery. Clean out the strings and goo and cut into
uniform size pieces. You can either peel now or scrape
the flesh away from the skin later. I peeled mine with
a vegetable peeler ahead of time. Place in steamer over
simmering water and cook for about 20 minutes or
until really tender- they will be slightly falling apart when
you pick them up.

The 'pie pumpkin' after steaming. It has
a more golden flesh.

The "fairytale" pumpkins after steaming. The
flesh is deep orange in color.

The next step after letting the flesh cool down is
to puree it. I put the pumpking pieces in my
food processor and pulsed it about 5-7 times and
it was done. To get rid of excess liquid, I put
the puree in cheesecloth and squeezed it a few times
to get rid of extra water. The puree was then ready
to use. The medium sized "fairytale" pumpkin
yielded 6 cups of puree. The pie pumpkin yielded
a little over 2 cups. You need 1 cup of pumpkin for
a pie. The other method I used was simply
cutting the pumpkin in half or large wedges
and placing in an oven-proof dish with about
a half-inch of water. Cover with foil and bake
in 400 oven until super tender 40 minutes to
an hour. Process cooked pumpkin the same
as above. I preferred the steaming method
but others swear by the oven method. As for
my favorite pumpkin- the fairytale is my hands
down favorite and the one I used for the pumpkin
pie bars I brought to the stand.
Note- the puree can be stored in the fridge a
few days or placed in freezer friendly
containers and frozen.
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