How To Bake With Pumpkin

Bake With Pumpkin

If you've never baked using pumpkin before, it can be a little intimidating. Here's a huge squash just sitting on your kitchen counter. How can you turn it into a delicious pumpkin pie, cookies, or other baked goods? Where do you even start turning this enormous vegetable into a dessert that your family will enjoy?

Your first step is to choose the right pumpkin. You'll want to buy a sugar pie pumpkin or another smaller, flavorful type. The big jack'o'lantern pumpkins tend to be a little tough and stringy for baking. You can use the seeds from the jack'o'lanterns for roasting, but it's typically not ideal for making baked pumpkin goods such as bread or pie.

The second step is to make a pumpkin puree that you can later mix in with flour, sugar, and baking ingredients. There are a few different ways to make the puree: you can bake it, boil it, or use a microwave. Here's how to make your puree three different ways to fit your time and kitchen needs.

Baking Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and throw away the strings, stems, and the seeds (or save the seeds for roasting later).
  • Place the two halves on a baking dish and cover them with foil.
  • Bake for an hour and a half on 375 F to ensure the pumpkin gets nice and soft.
  • When it's finally cooled, scoop out the insides of the pumpkin and mash into a puree.

Boiling Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stem and strings. Again, if you want the seeds you are welcome to keep them for roasting.
  • Cut the pumpkin into chunks about two inches long.
  • Boil the pumpkin until it gets soft.
  • Put the chunks through a food processor or mash them with a potato masher to get a silky puree.

Microwave

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, similar to the first steps listed above.
  • Cut the pumpkin into chunks about two inches long.
  • Microwave on high, turning the chunks over every few minutes. The general rule is seven minutes per pound of pumpkin, so you'll want to weigh the amount of pumpkin on a food scale before doing this.

Once you have your puree, you don't have to use it immediately. You can keep it in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze it for up to six months. It's an easy way to get ready for Thanksgiving a little early so you're not stressed at the last minute. Or you can save your puree for months when pumpkins aren't in season, and enjoy a nice pumpkin bread in February.

Your pumpkin puree can be used in a variety of baked items. Pumpkin pies require a good deal of puree, while other items like cookies and breads don't require as much. The puree is a versatile ingredient that can be used in pretty much any baked good you can imagine. For fans of the pumpkin taste, you can mix it into brownies and cupcakes as well.

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