So there are a lot of pumpkin recipes out there this time of year. While canned pumpkin certainly is convenient, it just doesn't compare in flavor to fresh pumpkin. Not to mention it is twice as expensive; also, I remember 2 years ago there was a shortage of canned and the only thing you COULD do was used fresh. Or pay $10 for a can.
For all these reasons and more, I make my own pumpkin puree by roasting a pumpkin. It's really really simple:
For your pumpkin, you will want to use a sugar pumpkin, or a "pie pumpkin" - they are the little round ones that weigh around 2-4 pounds. You CAN use a regular ol' jack-o-lantern pumpkin, but they are less sweet and have a higher water content, so if you do use one of the big ones, just put your roasted pumpkin meat into a strainer to get as much liquid out as possible, and then add 2T brown sugar and 1 egg yolk for every 2c pumpkin puree used.
Cut your pumpkin in half - remove all the seeds and yuck. Place them, cut side down, in a large baking dish or roasting pan and fill the pan with 1/4" of water.
Cook at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Check it at 45 minutes (poke it with a fork- you want it to be very tender). If it's not done at 45 minutes, continue baking and check it at 5 minute intervals.
Once tender, remove from the pan of water and let it cool. Then scoop out all the meat and put it in a blender / food processor and puree until smooth.
If your puree is too dry, add water, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. If it's too runny, put it in a strainer and let it release some of its liquid.
(If you're using a large pumpkin, you can quarter it (or cut it into as many pieces as necessary) to fit it into the pan.)
There you go, perfect FRESH pumpkin puree! :)
*If you enjoy canned pumpkin (I don't, but some people prefer its flavor), the reason it's so orange and has such a strong flavor is because it uses the rind of the pumpkin as well. So if you'd like more of a canned pumpkin flavor, scrub your pumpkin really well first, and then don't scoop out your meat, just put the whole thing in a blender. *