Serving friends and family special dishes made from your own homegrown fruits and vegetables is one of the most rewarding aspects of gardening, and a dish featuring your own pumpkin is no exception–think pumpkin pie made, start to finish, by you! For this project I started with two Sugar Pie pumpkins, which I love because they are small at a couple of pounds each, ripen reliably, even in places with shorter growing seasons, and are, as the name suggests, incredibly sweet of their own accord. What’s not to like?
I start by cutting them right across the middle and scooping the seeds out with an old metal spoon. Some of the membrane surrounding the seed can be a bit tough, and having a metal spoon helps considerably.
I break off the stems so the pumpkin halves will lay fairly flat in the roasting pan. Into a 350 degree oven they go for a nice long, slow roast!
Everything depends on the size of your pumpkins to start, but when you can pinch them and they give–like this–they’re done. Mine roasted for about 90 minutes.
Then I scooped out the inside, which at this point is a bit fibrous. When the pumpkin has cooled enough to put the pumpkin into the blender (or food processor, either is fine, but do make sure it’s halfway cool or you risk cracking the glass on your blender) and puree it just until it’s fairly smooth.
This next step is super important: even though it doesn’t look like it has much water left in it at this point, place the pureed pumpkin into a fine mesh strainer and leave it for several hours–I leave mine overnight. Even if it’s already fairly solid, like the Sugar Pies, without straining, your pie won’t set right and your other baked goods will need to bake forever. This amount of puree produced in excess of 2 cups of water when strained overnight. At this point, you have solid-pack pumpkin!
See–wasn’t that easy? Pumpkin freezes beautifully and can be kept frozen for up to a year.