Does Fresh Pumpkin Beat Canned?

Is it worthwhile to roast fresh pumpkin for pie and other baked goods or ravioli filling? Absolutely, say many Chowhounds. The difference between roasted fresh pumpkin and canned is subtle, says Procrastibaker, but "fresh pumpkin is slightly more earthy. It has a 'meaty' flavor that I personally really like." "I prefer the richness of the flavor after roasting and the texture to that of canned purée," agrees Normandie.

"In my experience," says another_adam, "it's definitely possible to get a sweeter and 'richer' purée when roasting one yourself—but it all depends on the pumpkin, and frequently you won't come out ahead." This is because, even from the same field, some pumpkins simply aren't as sweet as others. However, he adds, one way "to guarantee good results from home-roasted pumpkin is to go with kabocha, which will definitely give you a deeper color and creamier flesh than the sugar pumpkins one typically finds in the grocery store."

"It's a small project to prepare the purée," says Nyleve, "but you can do a whole whack of it at once and freeze it in recipe-size containers." To roast pumpkin, split in half, scoop out the seeds, and place it face-down on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour a small amount of water into the pan around the pumpkin and roast it at 400°F until you can easily dent it with a finger. Turn the pumpkin halves over and roast another 10 to 15 minutes to dry out the flesh slightly. Scoop the flesh out and purée in a food processor or food mill. "Now here's the important part," says Nyleve: Place the purée in a coffee filter-lined strainer set over a bowl and let it drain at least an hour to get rid of excess moisture.

"The hardest part of this is splitting the pumpkin open," says tsktsk, "but it is worth it."

Board Link: Traditional Pumpkin Pie with Real Pumpkin

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