Baking, Roasting, and Eating Pumpkin
First, you are going to go buy some pie pumpkins, then you will bake them, then you will have your own pumpkin for pies and breads and whatnot and then you will NOT buy canned pumpkin. Then you will roast the seeds and give them to someone who likes that sort of thing…maybe this someone is you. Then you will make the greatest pumpkin bread on Earth and then you will keep one loaf for yourself and then you will give one loaf to someone who likes that sort of thing…maybe that someone is you again. Then you will eat it for breakfast and be incapable of denying it’s magnificence.
Then you will be incredibly happy.
FIRST: You are going to buy PIE pumpkins. Not jack-o-lantern type pumpkins.
The difference? Pie pumpkins are smaller and sweeter. And they are typically labeled “pie pumpkins” anywhere you may find them. (That little guy up there? The one with his brains spilling out of his head? That’s it.)
2 medium sized ones will get you plenty of pumpkin for this bread recipe with a little left over.
(It calls for 2 cups.)
- Preheat your oven to 325°.
- Take your pie pumpkins and knock off the stem. Do this with a good yank, the counter top or a good karate chop. (Not responsible for injuries obtained from inexperienced karate choppers.)
- Next, with a large chef’s knife, CAREFULLY cut each pumpkin in half from top to bottom. (My first 2 were pretty tough skinned and cutting them really took some effort. However, the ones I just made were incredibly easy to cut. Keep in mind that this is a possibility.)
- Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts. (What are you doing?!! Don’t throw that away!)
Put them aside.
- Turn open side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.
(Some people like to use water in this step. Not only do I find it unnecessary but I find it typically creates an extra step for you later on.)
- Bake anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your pumpkins. They are ready when a fork easily penetrates the meat.
- Flip them and allow to cool.
- Scoop out meat and puree in a food processor.
(Some pumpkins are really watery. No biggie. Allow it to sit in the fridge overnight. The pumpkin will sink and you can easily pour out the excess water. I’ve actually never had to do this though.)
Now you have pumpkin like in a can, but not in a can.
- Preheat your oven to 200 or the next lowest temperature available.
- Get a medium bowl.
- Pick up one of the clumps of pumpkin string/meat/seeds and squash it in your hand. You will notice the seeds, very easily separate from the rest of the pumpkin and slip through your fingers. Keep doing this, putting the seeds in the bowl and discarding the stringy meat. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Fill your bowl with cool water and swoosh around. Let sit for 3 minutes.
- You will notice most of the loose meat has sunk. Skim the seeds off the top and place them onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake these seeds at 200 just until dry. (about 5-10 minutes). You’re not roasting them here. Just drying them. No, a towel won’t work.
- Increase your temperature to 300°
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or use 1 Tablespoon olive oil (for a semi healthier and longer lasting snack) and toss seeds in it. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt and toss.
- Roast until medium to dark golden brown.
- Receive kisses from happy husbands or sneak into the corner and keep them all for yourself.
Note: Get creative. Some people don’t want salty. They want spicy or honey roasted or ranchy or BBQ!
the best part
(this involves some baking too.)
Now, go here and proceed to bake your bread with your fancy non canned pumpkin.
Here are the only changes I make to the recipe:
- I use fresh pumpkin and I use 2 cups of it.
- I use 2 loaf pans that are 8 X 4 X 2 1/2″ and bake them longer.
- I add a pinch of Cardamom.
- I don’t allow anyone to touch it for 24 hours.
That is it. No. Don’t try subbing o.j. or applesauce or anything else for the water. (O.K. Subbing half the amount of water for o.j. or applesauce works, but really, it doesn’t make THAT big of a difference.) Don’t try changing up the spices or using any amount of brown sugar instead of regular or using a tad less flour and CERTAINLY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, DO NOT let anyone try it the same day it’s baked. Seriously. I have obviously made numerous changes to this recipe on previous occasions only to find out, they were totally unnecessary.
After mine is finished baking, I cool it on a rack. I then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and I am pretty sure just plastic wrap is the best way to store it. I then proceed to destroy the entire loaf. Luckily, this recipe makes 2.