When making pumpkin pies, breads, cakes or cookies, canned pie pumpkin is quick and convenient, but fresh roasted CSA pie pumpkin tastes so much better! Here’s how to prepare your pie pumpkin for use in recipes calling for solid-pack pumpkin:
Wash the pumpkin rind. Using a serrated knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out all of the seeds and strings. Rub cut surfaces of the pumpkin with a bit of vegetable oil, if desired.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down onto an oiled, rimmed baking pan. Add about 1/2-inch of water to the pan and then place it in the oven. Bake the pumpkin for about 30 minutes, then pull it out of the oven and pour off any water that remains.
Turn the pumpkin halves cut-side up and brush the cut surfaces lightly with honey, if desired. Place the pumpkin back in the oven to roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until it is very soft when pierced with a fork.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and set it aside for about 30 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh. Place the flesh in a blender or food processor and puree until it is very smooth.
(Note: If the finished puree is not as thick as you’d like, spread it out evenly on a baking sheet and place in the oven at moderate heat until the puree reaches the desired consistency. Be sure to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t overcook.)
Pumpkin puree may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for later use. Use the frozen puree within one year.