Less Noise, More Green: Using fresh pumpkin in fall desserts

Monday, November 18, 2013

Using fresh pumpkin in fall desserts

This is the post where you are reminded that anybody who writes a blog is human and not perfect in any way. You are reminded and then you forgive the blogger (me) for being a bubble head.

Today I made a pumpkin pie. The purpose of making the pie was to use the fresh sugar pumpkin that I had roasted and pureed. I promised Computer Boy that I would make him a real pumpkin pie this year and this was to be the pie. Except that’s not what happened.

Real pumpkins are edible. This may seem like a strange thing to say but somewhere along the way pumpkins became a fall decoration and pumpkins for food found only in a can. To be fair, the huge pumpkins found in the supermarkets and farm stands are not good to eat. Smaller sugar pumpkins are sweeter and are what you find in the pumpkin puree cans but they are harder to find.

Last fall I promised my son, Computer Boy, that I would grow pumpkins and make a real pumpkin pie. Due to the wacky weather this summer and some not so smart gardening decisions on my part, my pumpkin crop was a complete failure. So, to make the pie, I had to buy a pumpkin. I bought a sugar pumpkin at a local farmers market and this weekend turned it in to puree.

Here’s how I did it. Just as you would any winter squash, I chopped off the stalk and cut the pumpkin in half.

Using a spoon, I scooped out the seeds and insides, making sure I got all the fibers.

No guts, no glory.
I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F. and placed the pumpkin face down in a baking dish. 

Using a fork I poked holes in the skin. The pumpkin was baked for around an hour until the flesh was completely tender.

 I let the pumpkin cool, then removed the flesh from the skin and pureed it in a food processor until completely smooth. This took a couple of minutes.

Before the flesh was pureed.

 As you can see the flesh looks more like pureed squash than canned pumpkin. It also has a higher water content. 

My guess is the pulp is baked to remove some of the moisture before canning, which could also explain the darker color. To use the pulp in a pie, the puree needs to be strained for an hour or it will add too much moisture to the recipe. Use the resulting puree as you would in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.

Here is where I show you the beautiful pie I baked using the fresh pumpkin. Doesn’t it look just like a pie made with canned? That’s because it is made with canned.

Under the gun time wise this morning to get the pie made before I had to leave the house, I grabbed everything I needed and didn’t realize what I had done until I was looking at the empty can in my hand and the bright orange pumpkin in the bowl with all the other ingredients! With no time to start again I soldiered on.  

It’s OK. Tomorrow I will make one of our favorite fall school snacks – Pumpkin Gingerbread. I should have enough puree left to make another pie and if I don’t, I’ll just buy another pumpkin. Computer Boy, the human eating machine, will not be upset about another pie in the house before Thanksgiving!

See you in the kitchen,



  1. This post makes me feel normal, thank you.

    1. I was so annoyed with myself when it happened, but now its pretty funny!

  2. I have been trying to leave a comment on your blog but it isn't showing up. I think your sourdough bread looks great.

  3. Found a pie pumpkin at today's farmers market. Fixing it the way you suggested worked perfectly!

    I just wish there was a trick to making cutting it easier.