Many recipes, especially for baked goods, call for pumpkin puree. In the US, you can buy canned 100% pumpkin puree in nearly any grocery store, and I often use that in my cooking. Sometimes though, I like to make my own, and it’s pretty simple to do with the help of a food processor or blender.
If you make your own puree you can choose what variety of pumpkin you want to use (each has a slightly different flavor). It’s also a great way to store/use up excess pumpkins in season, and if you live somewhere where canned puree isn’t commonly available, it might be your best option!
How to make it at home
First, make sure you pick a variety of pumpkin that’s good for cooking. Sugar (pie) pumpkins are the obvious choice for making puree. Cinderella and ghost pumpkins are also good for cooking with. You can also make butternut squash puree the same way and use it similarly.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Wash your pumpkin with soapy water and use a chefs knife to split it in half. Use a large spoon to scrape out all the seeds and stringy guts into a bowl. You can save these to clean and roast (or you can discard them).
Place the halves face down on a baking sheet. Bake until nice and soft (test by piercing with a fork). This will take a while. As an example, for a little sugar pumpkin, this will be around 50 minutes.
Allow the pumpkin to cool, at least enough to be able to handle it. Use a spoon to scoop the softened flesh out of the shell and into a food processor or blender. You may have to do this in multiple batches, depending on the size of your squash (and your food processor). Pulse/blend until very smooth, and then transfer to an airtight container.
You can store pumpkin puree in the fridge for a week or so, or in the freezer for months.