Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cooking and Using Fresh Pumpkin

As Halloween is just over and Thanksgiving is coming up, pumpkin season is right on top of us. I had a couple sugar pumpkins I picked up early on (they go so fast!), but I used one for Dean's birthday cake and the other will be for a pumpkin pie. I wanted some pumpkin for the freezer and was happy to pick up a large after-Halloween-pumpkin on sale for $1 a couple weeks ago.

To cook a pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 350*

The small sugar pumpkins make around 2 cups of puree. The large pumpkin I used made 10 cups of puree.
  1. Cut off the top (like you would if you were carving it),
  2. Scoop out as much of the innards as possible.
  3. Cut into chunks. I cut the small sugar pumpkin in half. I cut the large pumpkin into 8ths.
  4. Place skin side up on a cookie sheet. I have done it both directly on the cookie sheet and also on a silpat. I think I liked the silpat better. Less browning.
  5. Cook sugar pumpkins about 30 min. or until tender when pierced with a fork. Cook large pumpkins about 1 hour.
  6. Take out of the oven and cool until you can handle it.
  7. Peel off the skin and remove any remaining strings and seeds you may have missed.
  8. Cut up into smaller chunks and blend in a food processor. I usually have to add a little bit of water or milk. Just enough to get it to move and puree properly.
  9. BLEND UNTIL IT'S VERY SMOOTH. Do not attempt to mash it with a potato masher. Chunks don't "cook out" in pies.
  10. Store it in the fridge if you're going to use it in the next couple of days. Store it in the freezer (I put it in 2 cup Tupperware bowls. That way you can use it a little at a time.) for longer term. To thaw just pop it in the fridge or let it sit on your counter a day or two in advance.
  11. (Use just like canned pumpkin. You don't have to add sugar to it since all recipes using pumpkin will have sugar in them.)

We wanted a "healthier" cake for Dean's first birthday since he's really not eaten refined sugar much. We were going to go with carrot cake, but my sugar pumpkins were calling out for me to bake them. We went with this pumpkin cake and I loved it. It was super moist. We topped it with this cream cheese frosting.

Dean's 1st Birthday Cake (Pumpkin
: Originally found on Allrecipes Modified by me.
2 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Oil
3/4 C. apple sauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 C. all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves

Bake at 350*. If using a 9X13 cook about 35 min. or until a toothpick comes clean. If using a fluted bunt pan, cook about 50-60 min. or until a toothpick comes clean.


Jodi said...

Thank you for the tips, I am glueless about using a pumpkin...we never even carved them as kids, so this year I needed major help!

Sam & Jessica said...

I'm using your pumpkin cooking recipe today. I've got big plans for using it this Thanksgiving in non traditional ways since we're not big on pumpkin pie here. But we like pumpkin/wheat pancakes and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bars...yum! We still had two pumpkins left over from Halloween. They're not mushy at all, so hopefully they're still good to cook. Its my first time trying to cook them, thanks for the recipe!

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

Jess, tell me how it works out. SO long as they're not squishy or moldy, they should be fine.