Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Puree

My contribution to the Thanksgiving family feast tomorrow is my pumpkin cornbread.  A few weeks ago  I noticed that none of the grocery stores that I shop at had any pie pumpkins out.  I was horrified!  It was as if all of the pie pumpkins had been bought up by Libby's and processed so that the 2010 pumpkin shortage wouldn't reoccur.  I prematurely decided that I was defeated, and picked up a can of pumpkin.  However, last night I had a hankering for some Neapolitan pizza and didn't have any tomatoes.  I chose to shop at a store that I always forget exists, mainly because they specialize in cheese.   As I walked up to the storefront (I had walked all the way there, assuming that it wouldn't take as long as it did...), I noticed that there was a HUGE CRATE FULL OF PIE PUMPKINS.  I almost died.  I also almost bought 5 so that I could make a ton of puree and freeze it, but then I realized that there was no way that I was going to carry 5 pumpkins + other purchases home in the cold.  So... this Thanksgiving I am thankful that I was able to purchase a legit pumpkin, and not have to feed my family Libbys.'s.  I mean, if I was busy actually doing homework or making more than just my pumpkin cornbread I would probably use canned pumpkin, but I like avoiding doing my term paper way too much to not spend time actually cutting up/gutting/baking/scooping out pumpkin.

Pie pumpkin!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut off the stem and slice the pumpkin in half.

Place pumpkin halves face-down on a cookie sheet covered with tin foil.
Cover the pumpkin halves with tin foil (this helps with evenly cooking the pumpkin since there is a huge gaping hole where the stem used to be (at least the way I cut the pumpkin since I'm too weak to cut off the stem in one go)).
Bake for an hour and a half.
Let the pumpkin cool and then scoop out the seeds.  This step can be done before the pumpkin is baked, but I find it easier to remove the seeds and guts post-baking.  Save the seeds if you like them, but I just throw them away.  Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and mash it to smithereens or use a mixer.  My pumpkin remains stringy because I don't have any fancy equipment to completely puree it, but I kind of like the added texture in my cornbread.  I'm sure once I get a food processor or food mill I will change my mind, but that has to wait until I go home for Christmas I nab my mom's.

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