Monday, 25 October 2010

Pumpkin Fest Part One : Roast Pumpkin Puree

Ladies and gentlemen, it is once again my favourite time of year! The leaves on the trees are turning orange and amber, and so are the market stalls covered with lovely carrots, butternut squash and best of all... pumpkin!

Pumpkins are fab, you can carve them into scary faced lanterns, cook them up into delicious meals and baked treats - even the word pumpkin is wonderful! Start using it as a pet name for your boyfriend or girlfriend and watch their unimpressed faces try to work out if it's cute, or if you are in fact calling them a big spherical orange fruit (yep, it's a fruit).

As I have such a love for the 'punkin' and seeing as you can only buy them for about a month I thought I'd use the time wisely and cook up a whole weeks worth of pumpkin goodies, starting with what you will need to do to the pumpkin in order to use it for these recipes - including how to turn the seeds into a seriously addictive snack rather than throwing them out.

So read on, below is the starter recipe for the cubed and pureed pumpkin, and then every day for the next week I will be posting a new pumpkin treat for your culinary delight! If you are feeling especially lovely, maybe you can tell some friends about Pumpkin Fest too? :)

Roast Pumpkin - Pureed and Cubed
Quantities vary depending on the size of your pumpkin!

Ingredients and Utensils
One pumpkin
One large deep sided baking tray
Large sharp knife
Strong metal spoon
Bowl for seeds and pulp
Cold water
Food processor or potato ricer/masher or a strong fork
Ziplock bags or food tubs for storing your delicious pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400F.

Cut your pumpkin in half, and then into quarters, disgarding the stalk. You may want to get a big strong person to do this for you, or just take out a little frustration like I did.

Scoop all the seeds and pulp out into a bowl and then place the cleaned quarters cut side down on the baking tray. When all four pieces are in the tray, pour in some cold water to about 1cm deep and then place into the preheated oven.

The pumpkin will need to cook for anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of your pieces - they are ready when the skin has turned a dark amber colour and the flesh squishes easily when you push it with the back of a spoon.

When you have reached this stage, remove the tray from the oven and leave the pumpkin to cool until it is handleable. Remove the pumpkin flesh from the skin (I gouged it out with a spoon) and then either cut it into smallish chunks or puree it in the food processor. Don't worry if you don't have one, you can use a potato ricer or masher or even just a plain old fork, it just won't be quite as smooth.

I've stored my cubed and pureed pumpkin in big ziplock food bags and am keeping them in the fridge to use over the next few days, but if you would like to store it for longer you can freeze it for up to 3 months.


Don't forget to come back tomorrow for THREE more pumpkin recipes!

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