Roasting Pumpkins for Pie and Other Treats

My family prefers sweet potato pie so I haven’t made that many pumpkin pies before. When I do make pumpkin pie, I always buy the pumpkin puree in the can and mix it with my own spices. This year I thought I would try roasting pumpkins myself to see how much of a difference in taste and texture this would make in my pie. By the way—I am talking about the mini pie pumpkins, not the fifty pound monsters your kids use to carve their jack-o-lanterns out of.

Basically, you can roast it whole if you’d like. This is the easiest method because literally all you need to do is pop it into a moderate oven, around 350 degrees, and bake it for an hour or so depending on the size. But what I did was roast it in the same way I would my butternut squash which is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, lightly oil the cut sides and place them face down on a baking sheet. I set the oven temperature a bit higher at 375 degrees because since they are cut in half, we don’t need to cook them quite as long as whole pumpkins, and this will produce a richer tasting pumpkin puree.

I like roasting pumpkins until they are slightly caramelized on the cut side, and the flesh is soft, but not too “watery”. This will give you the sweetest pie with a deep flavor, and it will help the texture be rich and creamy. When your pumpkins are done, let them cool down enough to handle then either process them through a potato ricer or food mill. If you don’t have one of those don’t worry. You can put the flesh in the food processor or beat it with a handheld or stand mixer.

Ready to Use

Now you can make your favorite pumpkin pie recipe from your very own pumpkin puree. If you have any leftover pumpkin, you can freeze it and use it later in muffins, pancakes, yogurt, smoothies, cheesecake, and even soup! It also makes a healthy addition to your dogs kibble. Try it out. You will love the difference it makes and the compliments will be pouring in on your holiday pies!IMG_2613

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