Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

Have you ever baked with fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin? If not, you definitely have to give this recipe a try! Fresh pumpkin is a beautiful color and it makes baked items brighter and prettier and fresher tasting!

 So after Halloween, if you have a few uncarved pumpkins sitting around, don’t let them go into yard waste, bring them inside and clean them up for baking! This recipe can be made ahead and frozen for future baking. It is especially handy to have fresh pumpkin puree stored away in the freezer for holiday pie baking.

 This recipe calls for a pie size pumpkin. Other sizes can also be baked. Baking time will vary and multiple baking dishes may be needed. You can also use this technique to make butternut and acorn squash puree. I recommend baking for 45 minutes, then testing flesh for tenderness before baking further.

 This week on KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis, I will be demonstrating a recipe for Everyone’s Favorite Pumpkin Muffins . I am going to make one batch with canned pumpkin and one batch with my fresh baked pumpkin puree.  It is going to be fun to have a taste test with Show Me St. Louis host, Heidi Glaus. I wonder which version she will prefer!?!

 Eat well this fall,


Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

fresh pumpkin collage.jpg

1 pie pumpkin

Adjust oven rack height to accommodate height of pumpkin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean outside of pumpkin with soap and water. Use a rubber mallet or hammer to knock off stem. Slice through the center of the pumpkin where the stem was located with a sharp Chef’s knife. If it is difficult to cut through the pumpkin, use mallet to tap knife through. Remove seeds and set aside for roasting. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish  or rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Then fill  with 1/2” of water. Place pumpkin halves cut side down in dish. Bake for 1 hour or until flesh is very tender. Some pumpkins will take longer to bake. Moisture content varies by pumpkin and will influence baking time.

Remove pumpkin from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Peel pumpkin skin away from the flesh and discard. Place the flesh in a mesh strainer and drain for 20 minutes. Place flesh in a large bowl and puree with a stick blender or process in a food processor. Use as desired in your pumpkin pie or bread recipe or place puree in clean freezer proof containers and store for later use.  When using frozen puree. Thaw in the refrigerator a day or two before baking. Place puree in mesh strainer to drain off excess moisture before using for baking. Use as an equal substitute in recipes that call for canned pumpkin.

 One pie pumpkin makes about 4 cups of puree.