It’s not always easy to find pumpkin purée in the shops so why not make it yourself? It’s cheap and easy to make and you know exactly what’s gone into it – just pumpkin!
I’ve decided that I’m having a bit of a change of heart about Autumn. To be honest I’ve never really been a huge fan, the weather gets chilly and damp and I know that I’ve got months more of it to come. I do like Christmas, but there’s too long to wait for that to be feeling excited in October.
Anyway, this year feels a bit different…
At the end of September my Instagram feed was full of excitement about the crisp autumn leaves starting to fall from the trees and I felt a bit grumpy as I loved the weather we had this summer and could have happily had that carry on. Then I looked at my boys, all eager, they love kicking the leaves, watching squirrels collecting nuts and getting excited about Halloween.
This year Daniel’s looking forward to getting dressed up (we’ve already got him a vampire costume to wear) and handing out sweets, and his excitement is infectious. I’ve found myself getting quite excited about the whole thing too.
That brings me on today’s recipe. In all of my embracing Autumn and Halloween I thought it would be useful to figure out what to do with a pumpkin rather than carving it and then wasting the edible bit inside. I decided to perfect my pumpkin pie (recipe for that will be here in the next few days so keep an eye out) and the first step was to make my own pumpkin purée.
A few tips for a really good pumpkin purée
Now sadly it turns out that whilst the big orange pumpkins that you use for carving are edible and taste kind of OK, there are much better pumpkins to use in cooking. Also, once you’ve carved a pumpkin and left it sitting on your doorstep with a candle inside for a few hours you’re not really going to want to eat it, are you?
To make a really nice pumpkin purée you need to head past the big boxes of pumpkins in the supermarket entrances and into the vegetable section instead. Look out for culinary pumpkins or failing that use something like the mini pumpkins I used in these pictures or a butternut squash.
In my opinion almost everything tastes better roasted and I’ve applied this to my pumpkin purée too by roasting the pumpkin rather than boiling it or steaming it. Another advantage of roasting is that you don’t need to peel the pumpkin before cooking it, a job I really don’t enjoy. As well as adding a bit more flavour, roasting also helps to dry out the pumpkin flesh making sure that your finished purée is nice and thick.
Pumpkins give out a surprising amount of water as they cook (especially if you ignore my first tip and use a big orange one), so put them into the roasting dish skin side up. That way the water drains into the tray rather than collecting in a little puddle on top of the pumpkin, which will soak in and make your purée more watery.
Finally I like to cook just the pumpkin. In general I’d say when I’m roasting something that it’ll come out tasting much better with a pinch of salt and drizzle of oil, but for something like a pumpkin pie they’re extra flavours you probably don’t really need so leave the pumpkin plain and then add more flavour to whatever you’re planning on using it for later.
How To Make Pumpkin Purée
- 1 Pumpkin - preferably a culinary pumpkin or butternut squash
- Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan.
- Cut the top off your pumpkin and cut it in half. Scrape out the seeds (you can clean these up and roast them too for a healthy snack). Cut each pumpkin half in half again.
- Place the pumpkin into a large roasting tin skin side up (to allow water to drain away from the pumpkin as it roasts) and roast for about 45 minutes until the flesh is soft.
- Once cooked, remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool a little, then scrape the flesh out of the skin.
- Pop it into a blender (or into a large bowl if using a hand blender) and blend until smooth. I've got a really powerful blender so I don't end up with lumps but if you've got a few then strain it though a sieve to remove them.
- Now you're ready to turn it into something delicious.
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.
Free From/Suitable For…
- Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans
The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.