Thursday, October 23, 2008

TWD - Pumpkin Puree

With my oven's thermometer on strike, we've had repairmen in the kitchen a few times in the past couple of days. So, cooking has become a bit of a juggling act. Need to keep the thing cool so that the guys can do their job.

That said, I don't want to completely give up on Tuesdays with Dorie while I'm waiting for a working oven. The most recent recipe, Pumpkin Muffins, gave me an opportunity to do something ... while not the complete recipe, as I'm hesitant to do baking while the oven stays on temperature the way a small child holds still in a candy shop when told that everything is free.

The recipe called for pumpkin puree. If I were still in the US, I'd just drive down to my local mega-store and grab a can off the shelves. I can still see in my head the can with the white paper wrapper that I've bought for years when making pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread.

Here? When I asked about pumpkin puree, the one store that knew anything asked if it was for my baby ... Gerber, I guess, makes pureed pumpkin for the little ones. The others stores just looked at me like I was asking for moon rocks.

So ... make it myself. I'm enjoying that more and more. First, a trip to the mercado to get the closest things to pumpkins they have here. I think they're some kind of squash. But, the taste is pretty close.

  • 5 kilograms pumpkins

I took my pumpkins and sliced them in half around the middle. I wanted to use our big lechon knife, but, it was a little large. So, just my big W├╝stof chef's knife I've had forever.

I scooped out the guts and the seeds. The guts won't go to waste ... we fed them to the pigs. The seeds I put into a roasting pan and have currently drying. I'll post more about the roasted seeds when they're done and tested.

I covered the pumpkin halves with foil and put them into my possessed oven for two hours at something close to 350F (175C).

When the pumpkins came out, I scooped out the majority of the meat ... careful to stay away from the sides and the bitter portions. I want sweet puree, not bitter junk. Again, the pigs got the remains. They were happy. They're getting fatter, that makes me happy, too.

The pumpkin meat was still a bit stringy ... fibrous. So, I put it into my blender and pulverized the meat.

Finally, I put the puree into a strainer for a couple of hours to drain off extra water.

Into a container and into the freezer ... to wait until my oven will cooperate and let me bake properly again.


Easy, easy to make. Probably will make a great baby food for my new niece due here in a week or so. We'll make more for her.


Barbara said...

Oh, what frustration when the oven is broken! At least you were able to do a bit of baking. Hope it is fixed soon.

James said...

Definitely frustrating! Still, having fun with a few other things. I have some beef aging in the fridge. Been asked to cater a small dinner (10-12 people) with "American style" cuisine ...

About to make some char siu (Chinese BBQ) pork. Have 4 recipes that I'll test.

n.o.e said...

Mmm, that puree looks good. I made my own pumpkin puree last year, and struggled a bit with it. This year I'll either cover it in foil like you did, or microwave it (directions right on the pumpkin!) But for most recipes: it's the canned stuff all the way...

James said...

Thanks Nancy!

I won't go back to cans (not that I have a choice here). You shouldn't either!

It's SO easy. If you're struggling, it's probably because the pumpkin wasn't cooked long enough. I tried cooking for only an hour and really didn't have luck with that. Two hours ... magic ... easy. And, you can't beat the taste!

If I do pumpkins again, I'll try the microwave method. I suspect that roasting them (which is what we're doing at 350F ... the pumpkins provide plenty of their own water) ... is the best.

If you're having trouble even after roasting for a couple hours ... try scooping out the meat and then nuking it for a couple minutes. Give the stubborn meat the FULL treatment.