You have your pumpkin, it's split in half, and you're ready to bake a pie! How do you get that the pumpkin from its orange shell into a pie crust? You will need to transform it into pumpkin puree.
Making your own puree has benefits - it's fresher, and you can roast the pumpkin into a darker, sweeter flavor. Plus you have all those seeds to roast and eat too!
First you'll roast the pumpkin, then puree its flesh. This will last for a few days in the fridge, or a few months in the freezer. Step-by-step directions below.
1. Scrape the seeds and attached strings out of your split pumpkin. They will look something like the photo above. Don't throw these away! If you don't have time to deal with them now, however, you can cover the bowl and refrigerate for several days.
2. Heat the oven to 400ºF. Place the two halves cut side up in a baking dish and roast for about an hour or until very soft inside. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Scrape up all the flesh inside the pumpkin, leaving only an empty shell or rind behind. If there is a lot of thick flesh that is too hard to be scraped up, then the pumpkin needs to roast longer.
4. Put all that scraped up pumpkin in a food processor or food mill and puree until smooth. Refrigerate immediately; this will last for a few days in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer, well-sealed. When you take it out to use it you will probably notice some water separation. Make sure to drain this water away before using it in a recipe.
We have one of our favorite pumpkin recipes coming up in just a little bit!