Fall, as we all know, is pumpkin season, and one of the most exciting things about pumpkins is the pie. Yes, they're always present at Thanksgiving dinner, but a great pumpkin pie recipe is worth making over and over all autumn long. Seasonality is a delightful thing -- and many of us want to take advantage of this -- but as beautiful as a fresh pumpkin might be, some applications are better than others. You might be thinking, "Surely a pie is the perfect use for fresh pumpkin," but that's not necessarily correct. In fact, not only is there no shame in using canned pumpkin, but it's preferable when it comes to pie filling due to the water content of fresh pumpkin.
Fresh pumpkins are so dense with water that when used for pie, their flavor is diluted and the texture is grainier than what you'd get from canned pumpkin puree, which is closer to the feel of panna cotta. Additionally, choosing the right fresh pumpkins to puree is less straightforward than you may think. For example, the kind of pumpkins you select for jack-o-lanterns are far from ideal for pie; many of the varieties, despite names like sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkins, can have a fibrous mouthfeel and make pumpkin pie less appetizing.
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Not All Pumpkins Are Created Equally
If you still feel called to use fresh pumpkins in your pie, remember that pumpkins are squash. With the help of other squash such as butternut or kabocha, you can augment the velvety texture and flavor of fresh puree to resemble the texture of the canned variety. Roast your squash in the oven or boil them in water before pureeing, but keep in mind the method of cooking your squash will affect the flavor. Baking will result in a sweeter more caramelized flavor as it concentrates natural sugars, and boiling the squash will retain a generally raw taste.
You'll want to get as much water off of the squash as possible by straining the puree through a cheesecloth and a sieve. Still, it's probably best to save your fresh pumpkins for hearty soups and stews. Besides the fact that it's less time and labor, the general consensus is that canned pumpkin tastes better, is more convenient, and can be stocked in your pantry year-round.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.