I managed to get my big pregnant belly out of the apartment for a little walk this afternoon. These last few weeks have left me feeling quite tired and even going for a short walk seems like an impossible feat. However, when I am able to manage the motivation to get out the door, it is more than worth it. Today, I walked around marveling at the beautiful persimmon trees in our Tokyo suburb, dotted with bright orange fruit, the afternoon sun giving them a dreamy glow. There are a lot of things in life that seem impossible until they are done. Once we have accomplished the “doing” part, the payback is immeasurable. The same can be said for making homemade food, like this kabocha purée.
In the states, it is so easy to find canned pumpkin this time of year. It seems totally unnecessary to purchase your own pumpkin and make homemade purée. I would be of the same mind had I not moved to a country that doesn’t seem to have our obsession with premade, prepackaged pumpkin. To be honest, I was wary of making this myself. But, like my walk this afternoon, once I did it I felt a great sense of accomplishment. And the time it took me to make the pumpkin purée was negligible. The steps, simple and few, resulted in a beautifully flavored fresh kabocha purée that will make some delicious desserts.
In Japan, orange pumpkins are rarely seen. I managed to snag a couple this year around Halloween, but that was not normal. If you live in Japan and are craving some American-style pumpkin pie during the holiday season, this is the base you will need. I promise, it doesn’t take long and is worth the (very little) effort! If you don’t live in Japan, feel free to use pumpkin if it is available. I would venture a guess that just about any squash similar to pumpkin or kabocha would work just as well.
What is it that you are avoiding? What is your excuse? Whatever the reason, brush it to the side and hopefully you will learn what I did today: there is no point sitting around thinking about it when you could be doing it instead.
In a couple days, I will be sharing a couple of great ideas for how to season your purée and use it in desserts!
Serving size depends on the size of your squash/pumpkin, but mine made just over 1 cup of purée
1 medium sized kabocha, 2-3 pounds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the kabocha in half but do not remove the seeds. On a foil lined baking sheet, place the kabocha cut side down. Add about 1 inch of water to the pan to keep the kabocha from drying out during roasting. Carefully place the pan in the oven and roast until the flesh can easily be pierced with a knife, about 40-45 minutes.
Remove the kabocha from the pan and water. Place it on a plate and allow to cool until you can easily handle it. Remove the seeds and discard. Scoop out the flesh and put it in a food processor. Begin pulsing to break up the kabocha, then process until smooth.
*Note: My kabocha was a little too dry for my liking, so while it was in the processor, I added water (about 1 tablespoon at a time) until it reached the consistency I wanted. You may not need to do this, but if the kabocha is not smooth and glossy but chunky and chalky looking, add water. If you don’t, the texture of whatever it is you are making with the purée will not turn out correctly.
Transfer the purée to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use (no more than 3 or 4 days).