It all started with pumpkin spice latte.
It was barely the beginning of September this year, the weather was still nice and warm, but for some reason the fall spirit came around and I couldn't wait for the fall to begin. I started googling pumpkin farms around us, I found a place where we'd go apple picking, I made a fall bucket list... and somewhere between these fall prep activities I started craving for pumpkin spice latte.
Which is funny, because when in Boston, I was only able to drink it once, maybe twice or three times a season. It was waaay to sweet for me at Starbucks:) But still, those 2 or 3 times a year I could walk into any coffee shop around me and buy pumpkin spice latte.
Fast forward one year later - here I am, NOT in Boston, not even in the US. All the way here in a country where people have no idea that you can put PUMPKIN in your latte:) Sadly enough, I realized that this fall the only pumpkin spice latte I'm gonna drink will be homemade. No problem! I thought. I'm very well capable of doing some kitchen magic and make myself the pumpkin spice syrup needed for my fall latte.
Except, what do you need for pumpkin spice syrup? Maybe pumpkin puree? Remember that we're still in the country where people don't believe in putting pumpkin into sweet dishes. Why would they sell canned pumpkin pure when all they use pumpkin for is soup? Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit, but long story short: no pumpkin spice lattes, no pumpkin spice syrup, not even a single can of pumpkin puree. (At least in the stores that I checked. Plus, I googled it a LOT.)
After this pretty long introduction, we're finally coming to the point of this blog - I had to make my own pumpkin puree this year! And then pumpkin spice syrup and pumpkin spice latte, recipes coming later;) Luckily, I found out that to make your own pumpkin puree is super easy. I already got 2 more pumpkins for my second batch, since I didn't make much last time and the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I made with what was left after I made the syrup were delicious! (recipe also coming later, it's gonna be a fruitful fall, you could have seen some of the pictures last week in my Fall bucket list post.)
Now, let's get to the recipe. It's really simple and once you find out how you can make it yourself AND freeze it, you'll never stop making pumpkin muffins, or pies, or breads, or what ever pumpkin dish you love!
pumpkin (any kind, I used hokaido, which was perfect, but feel free to use any kind you like or have)
that's it, just the pumpkin:)
1. Once you're ready to start working on your own batch of pumpkin puree, first preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. Let's take care of the pumpkin. You need to cut it in half and remove all the seeds and guts it has inside. You can scoop it with regular table spoon, or you can use the ice cream scoop just as well. There's no need to throw the seeds away though, you can simply roast them later and have a nice snack on hand.
3. When the inside of your pumpkin's all clean and your oven's ready, you can lay it on a baking sheet (lined with baking paper).
You can see from my picture, how I put the pumpkin into the oven - you should do it exactly the opposite way:) Lay it so that the pumpkin's inside faces the sheet, like a bowl turned upside down. I found that out too late, and even though it didn't effect the final product much, I would do it the other way next time. The pumpkin contains some water which gets out of it when it's in the oven (I presume that's good, since you don't want your puree too watery), I could see it in my pumpkin right after I took it out of the oven, but it soaked back into the pumpkin very quickly.
4. Once, you have your pumpkin in the oven, just keep it there for about 30-60 minutes, depending on the size. I had a really small one and 30 minutes was enough.
5. The pumpkin is done when the meat is really soft and you have no problem putting fork into it. Take it out of the oven a let cool for 5-10 minutes.
6. When your pumpkin had some time to cool down you have too options - depending on the type of pumpkin and how hard the skin is. If the skin's really soft, you can take a small knife and peel the skin with it, just like you would do it with a hot potato cooked with skin. But if that's too complicated, just take the scoop again and scoop all the meat from the pumpkin and put it in the food processor or blender.
7. Mix the pumpkin meat until you have your puree ready. If you think it's becoming too thick, just add a tablespoon or two of water and continue mixing, until you're happy with the final product.
8. (optional) You can easily freeze your puree for later. I used small freezer bags, which I filled with 1 cup of the puree each, let them sit on the counter until completely cooled and then put them in the freezer. Or if you know you'll use it within couple of days, just put them in your fridge.
After making this puree myself 2 weeks ago, I still can't believe how simple it was. I'm already planning on doing another batch later this week:) And I'm sure that once you try this recipe, you're gonna stop buying the canned puree altogether! That's how good it is:)