I’ve got a lot of pumpkin in my freezer right now, thanks to Halloween. I also promised I was going to make a post about how to roast pumpkin. Now that I’ve done it once I won’t ever buy canned pumpkin again. It was too easy! I’ve read all over the place that sugar pumpkin is the only acceptable pumpkin for baking with, but I disagree. My mother has always roasted her plain old Halloween variety and they’ve always been delicious. They come out light and flavourful. The other complaint I’ve read is that regular pumpkins come out stringy, but I’ve never encountered this problem either. As long as you’ve taken care to scrape the pumpkin out well, you’ll be fine.
TO ROAST A PUMPKIN
Tools Needed: Rimmed baking sheet, colander or large strainer, cheesecloth (this one’s optional. I’ve done without).
Preheat your oven to 350.
While your oven is heating, disembowel your pumpkin. First, I cut the cap off, as if I’m going to make a Jack’o’lantern out of it. I find this makes it easier to cut the pumpkin in half. Then I cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the strings and the seeds in the middle. Do a thorough job of this, and remember to set aside your seeds for roasting!
Once your pumpkin is disemboweled, lay the two halves face-down on a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and pour a cup or two of water in the base to prevent sticking and burning. Roast your pumpkin for about an hour (less for a small one), or until a fork goes into it like it’s butter.
Remove your pumpkin from the oven. The skin should peel right off. Puree your pumpkin in batches in a food processor and then set your pumpkin mush in a cheesecloth-lined colander over a large bowl. Allow it to drain of excess water overnight. In the morning, you’ll have pumpkin puree! Use it for baking (pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, the possibilities are endless) or for soup. One thing, though. I’m noticing that all of my pumpkin baking recipes use the same basic spice combos (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves….). Does anyone have any different ideas for pumpkin spicing? I’d love to try something new, but I’m not sure what. Keep an eye out, though, for our pumpkin ice cream with candied ginger, coming up soon!