How to Process Pumpkins for Your Pie – Part 2

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 29,908
    Chef Petra Cox continues to show how to process pumpkins for a pie, part 2.

    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 you would 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, pour the butternut squash, you'll find that it's much easy at this point to scoop out some of the seeds, and other material from the center, and that a lot of the skin has sort of, blistered and it's easier to peel off. 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 sort of, squeeze the flesh off of the skin there. It's okay to have some parts that are a 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 well get it into the food processor and then we will process it batch by batch until we have enough to use in our recipes, and maybe even some extra to freeze. For our pumpkin, it was cut in to a wedge shape, and midway through the baking, we flipped it over so each side of the wedge was exposed to the bottom of the pan, and the air. Now, you scoop out pretty gently so that you dont dig in to the meat so much, and it's the same deal, pretty easy to remove from the skin. Just sort of, get in there with your fingers and get the big chunks of the flesh off. Needless to say, this has cooled off a little bit so that it's easier to work with. You dont want to keep burning your hands. You can just let it get to whatever temperature you are comfortable with. So, now that we've got some of our pumpkin and squash flushed in to our food processor, we are going to go ahead and process that until its a nice smooth puree, kind of, like a baby food texture. So, it needs a decent amount of time in there so you can break up any lumps that might be harder, that didnt get -- from the thicker parts of the pumpkin, that didnt get cooked. You can scrape down the edges just to make sure you are getting everything in there. Just give it a little time so some of the large chunks from the top could be worked in.

    When it's done, it's still pretty thick, but it's nice and smooth to be used in a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or whatever you want to use it in. You can't really make a certain specific amount. Its 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 be 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.