I have a confession: I have never baked with canned pumpkin puree.
I didn’t grow up eating pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or pumpkin anything. Our holiday gatherings tended to have flan or Lulu’s choco-flan or dulce de camote. The closest I came to pumpkin in October were those little pumpkin-shaped candies that my mother would throw out of our Halloween baskets (source: dangerous halloween candy urban legend of the mid-80s).
I baked my first pumpkin pie only a few years ago and by then had already switched gears to cooking from-scratch as much as possible. I figured I’d skip the canned stuff. Roasting and pureeing the pumpkin went easily enough. My first pie was not very pretty though and I had a really hard time getting it to set. My aha did not come until my second pie. I decided to strain the excess liquid from the puree until it stuck to a spoon and voila! Set pie and a perfect (flexible) consistency for all things pumpkin.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- Slice the stem off and cut in half.
- Place the pieces face down on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in a preheated 375º oven until the skins start to brown and wrinkle and pokes easily with a fork.
- Scoop the sweet stuff out and puree it in either a food processor or blender (Food mills work, too, but I like the smoother texture that you can get out of an electrified tool).
- Transfer pumpkin puree to a cheesecloth lined strainer until your puree is no longer runny.
One pumpkin usually makes about 2 ½ cups of the more firm puree. I freeze whatever goes unused in one cup portions for later batches of bread, tortillas, and any other pumpkin-y things that come up.