Pumpkin is the king of autumnal vegetables. Turning it into creamy purée makes it ultra versatile and perfect for using in a variety of different dishes. Try stirring it into a cake batter, in savoury dishes or baked in to a classic pumpkin pie. Follow this easy guide to make a perfect pumpkin purée, then turn it into a sensational seasonal recipe.
Choosing your pumpkin
Choose a firm-fleshed, undamaged pumpkin. If using around Halloween, make sure it’s an eating pumpkin rather than one that is specifically grown for carving. A good amount of pumpkin for one batch of purée is around 750g chopped flesh.
Preparing your pumpkin
It’s important to peel and deseed your pumpkin. This will give the purée a smoother finish. Discard the seeds or (roast them in the oven with salt and a little oil to make a delicious snack), then cut the flesh into 2cm chunks. Learn how to roast pumpkin seeds and try our tasty seasoning ideas.
How to make pumpkin purée
When cooking with one of the following methods, remember that the pumpkin needs to be tender enough for a cutlery knife to easily be inserted in to it. Your pumpkin needs to be cooked until soft enough that it will easily be whizzed into a smooth purée. Want even more information on how to cook with pumpkin and uses for your leftovers? Check out our guide and top pumpkin recipe collection.
Steaming pumpkin for a purée is a great method of cooking. It means the pumpkin retains less water, so you get a slightly thicker purée than if it’s boiled.
- Put the pumpkin cubes in a steamer colander over a pan of simmering water.
- Put a lid of the pan and cook for 15-20 mins or until tender.
- Once tender, immediately remove from the pan.
Roasting pumpkin gives you a slightly richer depth of flavour. The edges will catch and caramelise slightly, adding a sweet caramel flavour. This method works well for a savoury purée, as you can add aromatics and herbs to the roasting tin.
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
- Toss the cubes of pumpkin in a large roasting tin.
- Drizzle with a little flavourless oil and season to taste (if you’re using it in savoury dishes).
- Roast for 25-30 mins or until the pumpkin is golden and tender.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
- Add the pumpkin chunks and boil for 15 mins or until a cutlery knife is easily inserted into the flesh.
- Drain and allow to steam-dry before blending.
- Place the pumpkin in a large heatproof bowl.
- Cover and cook on high (850W) for 15-20 mins or until tender.
- Allow your pumpkin to be cool enough to handle before blitzing.
- Put it in a blender or food processor and blitz until completely smooth.
- Add a splash of water if you feel the purée is too thick.
Pumpkin flavouring ideas
You can add extra flavours to your finished purée, such as a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or mixed spice, and sweeten it with maple syrup, brown sugar or honey. Sweetened, spiced purée is delicious stirred through warm porridge or rice pudding, or a savoury version is great tossed with cooked gnocchi.
Top pumpkin recipes to try
1. Butternut, maple & pecan lattice pie
Use butternut squash or pumpkin in this maple & pecan lattice pie, the perfect autumnal dessert. A slice of this eye-catching pie is a taste of the season. Serve with a blob of whipped cream and dust with icing sugar for an impressive dinner party dish.
2. Pumpkin caramel cake
Pile on layers of soft, pumpkin-spiced sponge and creamy filling to create our delectable pumpkin & caramel cake. It uses a few clever shortcuts and a slathering of dulce de leche for an irresistible showstopper.
3. Pumpkin pancakes with salted pecan butterscotch
A spoonful of pumpkin purée makes a delicious seasonal addition to a stack of fluffy pancakes. If you’re having friends over for brunch, you can’t beat a plate of pumpkin pancakes with salted pecan butterscotch, hot from the pan.
4. Pumpkin pie s’mores
Combine two American classics in our pumpkin pie s’mores, ideal for making on chilly evenings with the whole family. Who could resist crunchy ginger biscuits, sandwiched with melty marshmallow and spiced pumpkin purée?
Enjoyed these recipes? Try our other seasonal dishes…
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