posted by jeanndan 09-14-100 9:37 AM
Use the small kind of pumpkins.
With a large chef's knife, cut the pumpkin into 6 or 8 wedges, depending on its size. The easiest way to
remove the pith, seeds, and pulp is to use a filleting knife along the inside of the wedges. With a little
practice, this will leave little or no scraping needed.
Cut the wedges into half (through the pumpkin's "equator", so that you get two somewhat triangular
pieces) and arrange them in a large roasting pan.
Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour at 325°F, and two more hours at 300°F. The meat should be tender all
throughout, and not watery under the dry skin that forms. Remove from the oven (or turn off oven and
leave the door cracked for ventilation) and let the pumpkin cool and continue to dry for a couple more
Remove the skin and any exceptionally dry or leathery parts, and puree thoroughly. Note that most of the dry surface of the meat is still sufficiently tender to be used, but probably not the stem corners. Because the pulp is so dry, it will take several minutes with the food processor, and a number of stirs and scrapes, before the pulp liquifies enough to turn over by itself and puree properly. Once it does this, a good minute or more of pureeing will result in a wonderfully smooth, pumpkin-y paste.
Notes: This dry baking technique is derived from directions by Wolfgang Puck, who specifies 325 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and the use of a food mill (after scooping the meat away from the skin) rather than pureeing. We believe the slightly lower temperature (besides letting us bake panforte at the same time) protects the edges of the pumpkin from scorching too much. We haven't tried a food mill because Jennifer ran off with ours, but we suspect it would work just fine, and leave behind any parts of the meat which became
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