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Prepping pumpkin


hosinmigs
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This may be a bit late, but I'm thinking of using a left over Halloween pumpkin for a pumpkin roll or a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

I've never used "fresh" pumpkin. Any thoughts on how to prep it? Do I have to bake it first or can I just process it in the Quizinart? And is it worth the effort? Will the taste be that much better?

Thanks....

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

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Depends on the kind of pumpkin you are talking about. The kind we ususally use for H'ween doesn't have much flavor, so you might be really disappointed if you go through all of that work. If you really want to make a pie from scratch, I recommend going to a local farmer's market and buying a pie pumpkin. There are sevderal varieties that will work, and they can tell you which ones they have for sale.

Good luck!

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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How do you feel about combining sweet potatoes and pumpkin? Off and on for the last several years I've made my Halloween Hangover pie, which has always earned after-dinner applause.

The crust is just 3 cups crushed gingersnaps (or Sweetzel's Spice Wafers, if you're anywhere near eastern PA) with 1/4 cup of melted butter stirred in and either molded into a tart pan or the bottom and partway up the side of a springform pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Peel and cube (2" cubes) enough sweet potato and pumpkin for 1 cup each. Steam for 30 minutes or microwave for 5-8 minutes in a covered dish with 2 Tbsp water.

Put the steamed veggies in a food processor and add:

1/2 cup brown sugar,

1 cup condensed milk (fat free works fine),

1/2 cup milk

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp cloves

Ooops almost forgot a key ingredient.....1/4 cup of dark rum! (bourbon works too)

Puree and pour into pan, bake at 375 until set and lightly browned on top, about 1 hour.

I like to sprinkle some of the crushed cookies on top, too.

Edited by KarenSherwood (log)
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Don't use a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, they're yucky to eat! Get a sugar pie or sugar baby pumpkin, roast it whole until it's soft, scoop out the seeds, and puree the fruit. You'll be glad you did.

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And is it worth the effort? Will the taste be that much better?

I haven't tried using fresh pumpkin, but I've read several accounts from other people who have said that, no, fresh pumpkin is not better, and is basically a waste of time. For instance, one individual here stated that:

The one time that I made a pumpkin pie starting with a fresh pumpkin, I was very disappointed. Not only did it NOT taste any better than the canned pumpkin, but it was a tremendous amount of work. Despite my best efforts, it ended up with a slightly gritty texture due to the high fiber content of the pumpkin. To be fair, however, I was probably not using the right variety of pumpkin.

In another article, a cookbook author is quoted thus:

“After trying a couple of times to make pies with ‘from scratch’ pumpkin puree (cutting, roasting, scraping, mashing), I concluded that it’s really not worth the trouble — in fact, canned pumpkin is superior in some ways because the puree has been cooked down to a properly thick consistency,” James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Brooke Dojny writes in her latest book, “Dishing up Maine.”

A direct comparison is reported here. The author says:

With this in mind, Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie became the control recipe of the fresh vs. canned duel. I cooked the fresh pumpkin according to the succinct directions of Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook. . .

The fresh purée was yellow-gold and watery, almost pallid. It smelled vaguely of retirement-home cafeterias; its mouth feel echoed baby food, with a slightly chalky finish. The flavor? Bland.

The purée from the can, meanwhile, was an alluring, saturated orange-red. Its aroma was familiar, almost primal, calling to mind everything that is autumn: vibrant leaves crackling under your feet on the sidewalk; the buttery yellow crescent of a moon holding water over a cornfield. Compared to the wan fresh purée, the canned purée was rich, almost spicy, with a subtle sweetness and depth . . .  Both pies were delicious, but Libby's was one degree more intense in every department: taste, texture, bouquet.

Of course your experience may certainly vary, and I hope you'll report back if you go through the trouble of making your own puree.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Oh dear. I think that these people did not have a good pumpkin. I agree with Abra's suggestions for sugar pie or sugar baby. I always roast them cut side up. This technique may take care of the "watery" problem.

Maybe we need a pie bakeoff?

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When it comes to non-canned pumpkin, I've always had much better luck using butternut squash. I cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, roast it till it's soft, scrape out the flesh, puree it, and then put it into a coffee filter-lined sieve to drip for a bit.

Then I remember every year why canned goods can sometimes be nicer. :biggrin:

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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I'm surprised to read those quotes re: canned v. fresh pumpkin puree.

I use fresh pumpkin (and sweet potatoes) quite a bit; the only thing remotely difficult is splitting them down the middle when raw (I use a rubber mallet, a cleaver and the hope that I will retain all my digits).

Split, scoop out the seeds, roast (I usually throw some wine, ginger and sage in the cavities) the puree or put through a food mill.

It's really simple (also, roast more than you need for pumpkin risotto, ravioli, etc) and, in my experience, MUCH better than the canned stuff (let's put it this way, I'll eat roasted pumpkin with salt and butter, I wouldn't grab a spoon and eat the canned stuff the same way).

Go fresh

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I'm surprised to read those quotes re: canned v. fresh pumpkin puree.

I use fresh pumpkin (and sweet potatoes) quite a bit; the only thing remotely difficult is splitting them down the middle when raw (I use a rubber mallet, a cleaver and the hope that I will retain all my digits).

I don't think any of the people I quoted made it out to be difficult, at east not in the sense of being technically challenging or requiring some arcane culinary expertise. But obviously it is much more work, much more time-consuming, and since time is money for many of us, and since canned pumpkin is so inexpensive, using fresh pumpkin is probably more expensive as well. I'm actually eager now to try for myself, and see if fresh pumpkin really is as superior as some people are making it out to be.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I’m also a proponent of fresh pumpkin. I’ve used Libby’s and it makes a good pie, but I think a fresh pumpkin is better. It's more work than opening a can, but it's not that difficult. Use a small sugar pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and glop, bake cut side down for an hour at 350 degrees. Scoop out pulp and puree.

I agree with IlCuoco that fresh sweet potatoes are also excellent, baked or boiled, using basic pumpkin filling recipe—cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, sugar, eggs, cream.

Here are some recycled pix of a fresh pumpkin pie from a recent post in the Dessert thread.

gallery_44755_3912_236393.jpg

gallery_44755_3912_367195.jpg

gallery_44755_3912_21923.jpg

gallery_44755_3912_211946.jpg

gallery_44755_3912_2319.jpg

So take the fresh pumpkin challenge and report back.

"Yo, I want one of those!"

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I have always used fresh pumpkin to make pies. In fact, I usually buy 3 or 4 small pumpkins in the fall, make the puree and freeze it in recipe-size portions to use all year. One important hint, though: after baking and pureeing the pumpkin flesh, spoon it into a colander lined with cheesecloth (or some other fine mesh) and let it drain for a few hours to get rid of the excess liquid. This gives you a nice thick puree without having to cook it on the stove to reduce (as I've seen suggested). I think the fresh pumpkin puree is a nicer colour and has a fresher flavour than canned. And isn't at all time consuming if you happen to be in the kitchen doing something else anyway.

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Gosh, I don't even split the pumpkins in half! I just roast the whole thing, then it's easy to scoop out the seeds and then the fruit. I've never had a wateriness problem, so I suppose it does depend on what pumpkin you're using. Patrick, I'm looking forward to your side by side test, which I've never done. I always use fresh, and can't see any reason to use canned. I get sugar pies and long pie pumpkins from my CSA farmer, and I love their flavor and bright orange beauty.

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I have always used fresh pumpkin to make pies. In fact, I usually buy 3 or 4 small pumpkins in the fall, make the puree and freeze it in recipe-size portions to use all year. One important hint, though: after baking and pureeing the pumpkin flesh, spoon it into a colander lined with cheesecloth (or some other fine mesh) and let it drain for a few hours to get rid of the excess liquid. This gives you a nice thick puree without having to cook it on the stove to reduce (as I've seen suggested). I think the fresh pumpkin puree is a nicer colour and has a fresher flavour than canned. And isn't at all time consuming if you happen to be in the kitchen doing something else anyway.

I get mine out of the back garden. In fact, the two I used this year to puree are volunteers. They are not sugar, or special pie pumpkins. I have not had a problem, and they taste like the freshness that embraces the farm now.

I do the same as Nyleve Bear, although I suspect that draining the large amount of water is due to the volunteer pumpkins, and not so much for pie pumpkins.

Will post back with pictures.

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Next step is finding the right pumpkin. Have no idea where...

It seems so strange that pumpkin access could be limited. My Grandmother had volunteer plants in her yard every year and couldn't give all the pumpkins away! I've never bought a can of pumpkin (although I have eaten pies made with canned....).

-L

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Now I have to try a side by side test. There's just no way around it.  :biggrin:

Next step is finding the right pumpkin. Have no idea where...

In the meantime while I agree that jack o lantern pumpkins don't have enough flavor for pies they do OK as a light squash in other (generally savory) applications. Soup, gratin etc...

Waste not, want not, right? :smile:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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