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Roasted Pumpkin Purée

Roasted Pumpkin Purée

Roasted pumpkin puree is a must-have ingredient in pumpkin desserts. If you are a fan of pumpkin and want more flavor in your pumpkin desserts, you will want to make this to have on hand this fall.

Bright orange and full of flavor. Roasted pumpkin purée cannot be beat in terms of flavor.

Roasting pumpkin caramelizes the sugars present in the pumpkin which creates a sweeter puree that has an earthier flavor and tastes so much more like, well, pumpkin! Not to say canned pumpkin isn’t wonderful, I am a huge fan of Libby’s and don’t hesitate to pick up several cans when I can’t roast my own. Their bright orange can of puree is always consistent and always available, I can reach for a can of Libby’s when I’m in a pinch. But when it is pumpkin season, I make as much roasted pumpkin puree as I can to have on hand for holiday cooking and baking.

Only one ingredient needed for this very simple recipe, you guessed it: pumpkin. It takes about 30-45 minutes to roast pumpkin for pumpkin puree and the hardest part of this recipe is using a food processor to whip it to velvety perfection. Depending on the variety of pumpkin used, some may need to be drained of excess water, as I have had to with the pumpkin I used this week. I like to drain any excess water and go so far as to wringing some out with paper towels or cheesecloth so I have drier puree that is ready for cookie dough. Plus, when I go to freeze my pumpkin puree I’m not freezing extra water I won’t use anyway.

Bright orange pumpkin will yield bright orange pumpkin purée.

Types of Pumpkins to Roast

So far, I have tried small baking (pie) pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins, Fairytale pumpkins, and my recent favorite Sweet Hazel baking pumpkins. Any baking pumpkin will do and if you are able to pick up local pumpkins from a farmer, they can tell you which varieties they have that are best for baking.

I have included this list of pumpkin varieties that are good for baking here as a reference guide. There are many varieties I haven’t even come across to roast. So many fun possibilities for roasting!

The best ones I have roasted for bright orange sweet puree are the Sweet Hazel baking pumpkin and the Cinderella pumpkin. The Sweet Hazel has incredibly thin skin very similar to butternut squash and very bright orange flesh. It is a very large pumpkin, the one I picked up from HEB Grocery, was 7 pounds and although the puree was bright orange and sweet, it was a pumpkin that has a lot of water, so I had to take time to strain the water out after pureeing in the food processor. The sweetness of this particular pumpkin and the bright orange color have me bewitched so I don’t make too much of a fuss about the extra work these pumpkins require.

Cinderella pumpkins can be quite large as well with a tougher skin to cut through and the flesh is bright orange and sweet. They can have extra water too, but I have sliced and roasted these in the past without too much extra work. The bright orange and mild sweet flavor of this variety is dreamy.

Small baking pumpkins, or pumpkin pie pumpkins, I have found at the store are a great size since they are only a couple pounds in weight, bake up quickly and are usually not watery so you don’t have to drain the puree as much. The problem I have had with small baking pumpkins is that the flesh can be more on the yellow side than orange. Not a bad thing, but when I make pumpkin desserts, I like a bright orange color to shine through. These are great pumpkins if you are new to roasting pumpkins since they are small and easy to manage, and the puree is very sweet.

Sweet Hazel baking pumpkin from HEB.

Why I Love Making Pumpkin Purée

Flavor-you can’t beat the flavor of fresh roasted pumpkin purée. It is sweeter, earthier, and has more of  a pumpkin flavor which translates well to baked goods. I want the most flavor I can out of my purée and roasting the pumpkin will guarantee more pumpkin flavor.

Easy-The only thing I have to do is chop a pumpkin in half or large slices and throw it in the oven. There is no mixing or tricks to making a great roasted pumpkin. The hardest part is pureeing and straining the pumpkin but it only takes about 10-20 extra minutes. I like to process a lot of pumpkin at one time so that I can stock my freezer full of puree for baking and cooking.

Versatile-I use pumpkin in so many savory dishes as well as sweet desserts. Having pumpkin on hand ensures that I can add this to any dish I want to whip up and having small containers stored in the freezer mean I can defrost them quickly for easy use.

Freezer Friendly-The reason I like to roast a lot of pumpkins throughout the fall season is the pumpkin puree is easy to freeze. It can last in the freezer for months and will last in the fridge for up to a week. I like to use 8 ounce deli containers so that I can stack them in the freezer for easy defrosting. You can freeze them in freezer friendly plastic bags as well. I prefer not to since they can get knocked around in the freezer, are hard to stack, and if they are dropped the bag usually gets a crack in it which you won’t find out about until after it defrosts (and leaks pumpkin everywhere). I highly recommend small plastic or deli containers. I usually freeze them in 8 ounce portions but I have seen some people freeze the puree in ice cubes trays. I think is a genius idea that I should try soon for smaller portions.

Do you love pumpkin? Try these awesome pumpkin desserts!

Pumpkin Butter Cookies with Pumpkin Butter Frosting

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel and Meringue

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

How I Roast Pumpkin for Pumpkin Purée

I start by preheating my oven to 400*F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper isn’t necessary, but it does make clean up so much easier.

On a large cutting board, I take a large sharp knife to carefully cut the pumpkin in half. The pumpkin I am using in this picture is a Sweet Hazel baking pumpkin from HEB.

I scoop out the inside strings and seeds with a spoon. You can save the seeds for roasting after the pumpkin is done if you’d like.

I decided to slice up one half of the pumpkin to see if it would help with baking off some of the water this variety of pumpkin has. It helped but is not necessary if you have smaller pumpkin variety.

I place the cut side down for the half of the pumpkin and arrange the pumpkin slices on 2 different baking sheets. I bake each for around 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft if you stick a fork in the flesh. The pumpkin will have nice toasty brown spots on the skin. Not to worry, the pumpkin underneath will be packed full of flavor and the brown bits will puree to bright orange with the rest of the pumpkin.

The brown bits after roasting the pumpkin give the puree extra flavor.

I let the pumpkin cool for 20 minutes before peeling the skin off the pumpkin. This is easy to do by hand since the skin slips off, but I use a spoon for any stubborn bits of pumpkin skin still adhered to the pumpkin.

After all the skin has been removed from the pumpkin, I place the pumpkin in the bowl of a food processor to puree. If the pumpkin you have roasted is dry, you will want to add a little splash of water to help the puree thin out and blend evenly. Don’t put too much water, maybe a tablespoon or two at a time until is the desired thickness. For me, I like a very thick puree because I want concentrated pumpkin flavor and less roasted pumpkin water.

If the variety of pumpkin you roasted is soft but has a lot of water, that’s ok and totally normal for some varieties. Place the peeled pumpkin in a dish and out of the water in the roasting pan. Puree the pumpkin and place it into a cheesecloth or paper towel lined strainer to drain for 10-20 minutes. I use a spatula to gently press the pumpkin puree against the paper towels to extract as much water as I can and speed up the draining process.

As you can see, this variety of pumpkin has some extra water. Nothing a strainer can’t fix.

I am looking for a velvety smooth texture that is soft but not runny. I want the texture of the puree to look like very thick applesauce. I try to strain out as much water as possible before packaging.

After the pumpkin puree is strained and thick I will divvy up the pumpkin puree among 8-ounce deli containers. I weigh the puree out, so I know exactly how much is in each container. This saves me time and guesswork when I am putting together a recipe and need pumpkin. It also helps me not to overfill the containers, there needs to be room at the top of the container to allow for expansion during freezing. I make a label with the date I made the puree and a description for easy referencing when organizing my freezer.

I make sure my puree is nice and thick before packaging for the freezer.

I freeze most of the puree and will leave a container or two out for pumpkin recipes for the week. Most weeks I make a pumpkin bread for my kid’s breakfasts and some sort of savory pumpkin soup for me to enjoy for lunch. Delicious.

I used the strained pumpkin puree for some very delicious and extravagant Pumpkin Brulée Cookies. I will be sharing this recipe soon for cookie Thursday, stay tuned!

 

If you try this recipe and love it as much as I do, please tag, follow, and like @sunshinetxcookies on Instagram and Facebook. New posts every Thursday so be sure to follow me for more delicious cookie recipes.

Roasted Pumpkin Purée

Chrissy Grundy
Roasting pumpkin brings out the sweet flavors of pumpkin and makes a wonderful puree to add to your favorite savory dishes and baked goods.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Dessert, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup

Equipment

  • Food Processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Pumpkin

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400*F.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Cut pumpkin half with large knife. Scoop out seeds with spoon. If your pumpkin is large, slice into large sections that will fit on your baking sheet.
  • Roast pumpkin for 30-45 minutes. Pumpkin is done when it is fork tender.
  • Cool pumpkin for 20 minutes. Remove the skin when it is cool enough to handle. Discard the skin.
  • Process the pumpkin in a food processor until a smooth puree forms. If your pumpkin is dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until a smooth consistency is reached.
  • If your pumpkin is watery, place a cheesecloth or paper towels to line a mesh colander and place the pumpkin in the colander to drain for 10-20 minutes. Use the back of a spatula to lightly press the water out of the pumpkin.
  • Package the pumpkin in freezer safe plastic containers, I use 8 ounce deli containers.
  • Puree will keep for one week in fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Notes

Pureed pumpkin is great to add to many dishes! Keep on hand to add to your favorite recipes this holiday season.
Keyword pumpkin, Pumpkin puree, Roasted pumpkin

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Chrissy Grundy

Content Creator

Howdy. I love creating delicious cookie recipes. I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband in Buda Texas and I am a huge supporter of local Texas producers. I am so happy you are here! Let’s start baking!

Chrissy Grundy

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