Pumpkins – How to Process Part 2

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,558
    Baker Petra Cox demonstrates how to bake with pumpkin, including how to process the pumpkin by blending it.

    Petra Cox

    Petra is a specialty baker for Mom's Apple Pie Company, a family-run bakery with four locations in Northern Virginia. By the time she was born, the family business had been operating from their home for three years. Petra and her siblings grew up rolling crusts, peeling apples and baking pies with their parents from early on. In addition to bakery experience, Petra trained with family friend, Is Harris, making a variety of Thai cuisine from scratch, punctuating her culinary appreciation for both sweet and savory flavors and techniques. Subsequent training in oenology and cuisine both in Florence, Italy and Washington, DC led to her current position as wine buyer and recipe research and development at Mom's Apple Pie in Occoquan, Virginia.

    Petra Cox: Okay, so now that we have baked our pumpkin and squash for around 45 minutes and then drained the water out of the pan, we are ready to scoop the flesh out and process it in a food processor. If necessary, you can use a potato masher something that you use to make mashed potatoes. The nice thing about using a food processor is that it purees the pumpkin or squash meat into something really fine without too much in a way of lump.

    So for the butternut squash, we will find that it is much easier at this point to scoop out some of the seeds and other material from the center and then a lot of the skin has blistered and it is easier to peel off and a lot of this is easy to do just with your hands without the use of a spoon or knife or anything. You can just squeeze that flesh off of the skin there. It is okay to have some parts that are little more done if you are going to use a food processor to puree it.

    So you can use this technique with any sort of pumpkin or squash and get it into a food processor and then we will process it batch by batch until we have enough to use in our recipes and may be even some extras to freeze it and for our pumpkin, it was cut into a wedge shape and midway through the baking, we flipped it over so each side of the wedge was exposed to the bottom on the pan and the air and now you scoop out just pretty gently so that you do not dig into the meat so much and with the same deal pretty easy to remove from the stand. It is getting there with your finger and get the big chunks of the flesh off and needless to say, let s just cool off a little bit, so that it is easier to work with. You do not want to keep burning your hands. You can just let it get to whatever temperature you are comfortable with.

    So now that we have got some of our pumpkin and squash flesh into the into our food processor, we are going to go ahead and process that until it is a nice, smooth puree, kind of like a baby food texture. So it needs a descent amount of time in there, so you can break up any lumps that might be harder, we will get from the thicker parts of the pumpkin that did not get as cooked and you can scrape down the edges just to make sure you are getting everything in there and just give it a little time, so some of the large chunks from the top could be worked in and when it is done, it is still pretty thick but it is nice and smooth to be used in a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or whatever you want to use it in.

    You cannot really make a certain specific amount, it is best just to cut up a whole squash of pumpkin, cook it and process it, measure it out for your baked goods and then freeze the rest or put it in the fridge if you are going to baking with it pretty soon, so that is how you make the pumpkin mixture for your pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread and other for baking