We went to a farm last weekend to pick up our first batch of pie pumpkins. We love to make our own pumpkin puree, which we use for all of our fall baking. I like doing a few pans of pumpkin at a time to economize on time. Making fresh pumpkin puree is simple and has such a great flavor.
Take your small sweet pie pumpkins and cut off top/stem, then cut them in half. Scoop out the seeds and drizzle with a little oil. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350º face down 30 minutes, turn them over, bake face up 30 minutes. The inside should be soft. Let cool and then scoop out the insides. You can take the pulp and run it through a food processor or a food mill to get it the consistency of canned pumpkin (smooth & creamy).
So with all the fresh pumpkin we had to make something - pumpkin bars! These are nice in that they are moist and flavorful but not too sweet.
Preheat oven 350º
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups sugar or maple syrup
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Beat the above ingredients together in a bowl.
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Add the rest of the above ingredients into the mixture and stir. Pour into a lightly buttered 9x13" pan. Bake at 350º for about 35-40 minutes! Let cool and cut into squares.
"Pumpkin and winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. In addition, winter squash and pumpkin is also a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid."