I may have a San Diego mailing address, but I am a New England girl by birth and to the bone. Meaning, fall is likely my most loved season. I may not get to enjoy the sight of the foliage changing to shades of crimson and vermillion here in southern California, but I make a point of enjoying the seasonal foods that come with fall. So expect to see a lot of pumpkin and apple goods littering the blog in the next few months.
At the farmer’s market last weekend, my daughter caught sight of a display of bright orange pumpkins. Orange, hands down, is Alice’s favorite color and she simply had to bring home one of those gorgeous pumpkins. For a few days, we enjoyed the sight of it as the center piece of our dining room table. However, as the prolonged heatwave that has hit San Diego county these past few weeks raged on, I became concerned that our lovely orange pumpkin was going to suddenly liquify itself all over my table. It was time to get baking and turn that pumpkin into puree to enjoy in many meals to come.
I don’t have anything against canned organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, but pure pumpkin), so if you don’t have the time to make your own pumpkin for this recipe, please feel free to sub in some of the premade stuff. But I will be honest, homemade pumpkin puree is easy to make and a couple small pumpkins can stock your freezer with enough puree that you can pretend it is fall all year long (for a fraction of the cost).
Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree
First, when making homemade roasted pumpkin puree, I suggest using smaller pumpkins. The larger the are, the more likely they are to hold a bizzarre taste or texture. At least, this is my experience. Plus, smaller pumpkins seem to be easier to get cut up and seeded.
Once you have your pumpkin(s) all washed and ready on the cutting board, preheat your oven to 375. Then get to chopping. Cut off the top portion of your pumpkin first and discard.
Then cut the pumpkin in half. And then in quarters. If you are using a bigger pumpkin, you may have to cut it into 1/8’s.
The next step was Alice’s favorite part, and an excellent time to bring in your resident preschool sous chef (assuming you have one, like I do). The removal of the pumpkin guts! There is no way to gracefully remove those stringy bad boys, just scrape and scoop those suckers out until there are little to no remains left (a little pumpkin pulp never hurt anything, so don’t feel like you have to be perfect). Get gross and gooey. It’s good for the soul.
Place the pumpkin slices on a baking sheet (or sheets, depending on how many pieces you have) face down so that they are not touching. You can throw a little olive or coconut oil on them if you want, but I like the way pure pumpkin tastes so I opt not to do that.
Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes..or until you can easily jab it with a fork.
Let it cool a bit so you aren’t burning your fingerprints off and then the skin should easily peel right off (the pumpkin skin, that is).
Throw the meat of the pumpkin into a food processor and run it through the machine until its smooth and creamy. If your pumpkin seems a bit dry, go ahead and add a bit of water to make it a smoother texture. Don’t have a food processor? That’s fine, use your blender (though you will definately need to add a bit of water for that method) or just use some elbow grease and some angry music and mash it with a potato masher (again, with a bit of water). All techniques will end in pumpkin puree goodness.
You can store the pumpkin puree in the fridge up to a week in an air tight container or freeze (in 1-2 cup portions) for up to 6 months.
This pancake recipe is gluten free, has vegan and nut free options, so you can make it to please any crowd or dietary need.
-2 cups rolled oats, uncooked
-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-2 eggs (or 1 ripe banana for a vegan option)
-1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
-coconut oil, for cooking
1. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and run until smooth.
2. Heat a bit of coconut oil in a medium pan over medium high heat. Cook batter in 1/4 cup portions.
Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream
My family simply loves the flavor of coconut and since I try to cut out as much animal product from our diets as possible, I have taken to subbing whipped coconut cream for all whipped cream in our house. Its just as easy to make as homemade whipped cream, but without the heavy dairy product.
-1 can full-fat coconut milk (make sure its JUST coconut milk, no weird additives like guar gum)
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 tablespoon maple syrup
Refrigerate the can overnight. This is vital. The chilling causes the coconut water and coconut cream to seperate. While you are at it, throw your mixing bowl and whisking attachment into the freezer to chill to (this part really only needs to happen fo 15 minutes. But if you are like me, you will forget about chilling the bowl and whisk until the last minute).
After the can has spent the evening hanging out wiith last night’s leftovers, take it out and crack it open. The coconut cream will have floated to the top and you can just scoop it out and into your chilled mixing bowl. Add the ground cinnamon and maple syrup and whisk, whisk, whisk until you get stiff peaks.