Kristy is an expert at making things pretty and a former Associate Editor of Food52.
Canned pumpkin is definitely faster than roasting a fresh pumpkin. Check out this pumpkin pie recipe -- it's great with canned pumpkin!
The only real difference is time. Canned pumpkin (not "pumpkin pie filling") is essentially cooked pumpkin, possibly with the addition of an anti-oxidant or two such as ascorbic acid. Though...this site http://www.thekitchn.com... makes the argument that some "canned pumpkin" might or might not actually be pumpkin -- it might contain butternut, hubbard or other squashes. The difference between pumkin and other squashes is, taxonimically speaking, pretty minor.
To make your own pumpkin puree is pretty simple. First, make sure you use a cooking ("pie") pumpkin rather than the big jack-o-lantern types: those are field pumpkins and are more intended for animal fodder. They've far less sweet and far more starchy than pie pumpkins. The best (in my opinion) varieties are either "Rouge Vif D'Etampes", an old hierloom variety from France, sometimes sold as the Cinderella or Fairy tale pumkin or the small "sugar pie" types you often see at the grocery store.
To prepare pumpkin or other winter squash:
1. Split them in half. Larger pumpkins might need to be broken down into smaller pieces.
2. Scrape out the seeds.
3. Heat your oven to 350 or so.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil and oil it.
5. Place the pumpkin, cut-side down on the cookie sheet.
6. Roast until soft, and almost ready to collapse, probably an hour or so, maybe longer. You might want to turn it over, cut side up, for the last bit to concentrate things a bit more and achieve a little caramelization.
7. Let it cool.
8. Scrape the pulp out of the pumpkin pieces and process into a puree using a food mill or processor, Alternatively sieve it using (force it through) a chinoise or sieve.
if the pumpkin seem watery, you might let the pulp sit in a sieve for an hour or two to let the water drain off. This will give you a firmer pulp. Myself, I rather like baking turning it over so that it bakes face-up for a time to dewater it and concentrate the flavors. That way, no lost nutrients.
Hardlikearmour gave me a great tip if using canned pumpking - heat it up first and it will loose the canned taste! And Nicholas gave you a great answer on how to make your own puree. The good thing about it is you can make it and freeze it and pull it out when you need it. Keeps the mess to a minimum.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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