The great thing about the fall is that you can find great organic pumpkins-even in Florida! You can bake a fresh pumpkin and make your own puree that you can use right away or save for other recipes. It may seem like a daunting task, but it's very simple!
To make your own puree, preheat your oven to 400F.
Cut your pumpkin in half and clean out the seeds and “brains” (the fibrous material with the seeds...seriously!) of the pumpkin and put them cut side down into a pan and pour a bit of water into the pan to help keep the pumpkin from drying out. I cover my pan with foil to help steam them from all sides.
Bake at 400F for 30 – 60 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft when you poke it with a fork or knife.
Let the pumpkin cool then scoop out the cooked flesh. You can puree in a blender or mix until smooth with a mixer. You an make large batches to freeze in serving sized containers to use any time of the year.
A special treat that we enjoy in my house with home made puree is Vegan Pumpkin Bread from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Life and The Kind Diet book. In trying to add more plant based foods into my family's diet, this treat delights their picky palates while the whole time they have no idea it's vegan! I can even take it a step further and make it gluten free with rice, almond, coconut or quinoa flour.
Alicia Silverstone’s Vegan Pumpkin Bread
Serves 8 to 10
5 cups pumpkin (cooked or canned)
2 cups maple sugar
2 “eggs,” either two teaspoons of flaxseeds pureed with 6 tablespoons of water, or 2 eggs’ worth of egg replacer. For the flaxseeds, we used Garden of Life’s Raw Organics Golden Flaxseeds.
1 cup almond milk or other nut milk
¾ cup safflower oil (we substituted Garden of Life Extra Virgin Coconut Oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup grain-sweetened nondairy chocolate or carob chips
1 cup whole macadamia nuts (save a little bit of chocolate and nuts to sprinkle on top)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two 9 x 5 glass loaf pans.
Combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, “eggs,” milk, oil and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and most of the chocolate chips and nuts if reserving some to sprinkle on top. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.
Fill the prepared pans with the batter. Top with the reserved chocolate chips and nuts. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top springs back when pressed with a finger.
Let the loaves cool in the pans for a few minutes, then turn out onto a baking rack to cool completely.
Then watch out! Your family will want to devour it ASAP!
This recipe is found on page 202 in the book The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.