I'd really like to try and make Nigella's Pumpkin and Parmesan Scones (Kitchen, p452) but I can't find any canned pumpkin puree at my local stores. Could you suggest an alternative please? Thank you, Kerry
You should be able to order the pumpkin puree on-line (see link below and if you are searching on the internet please check it is canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling which is slightly different) but if this is difficult then you can make your own puree. You will need to remove the peel and the seeds from your pumpkin and cut it into large (approx 5cm/2-inch) chunks. Put the pumpkin in a steamer (or a heatproof colander over a large pot with a close-fitting lid) and steam for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin feels very soft if you insert a table knife into it. Remove the pumpkin and let it cool slightly, reserving the steaming water. Puree the cooked pumpkin in a liquidizer or with a hand blender, adding a little of the steaming water if the puree is very thick.
Fresh pumpkins are not available all year round so you can use butternut squash instead. However, butternut squash tends to have a lower water content than pumpkin so you will need to add a bit more of the steaming water to the puree. You should have a puree which is fairly thick but not solid.
The pumpkin will loose a little weight during steaming so you will need to cook slightly more raw pumpkin than you need for the recipe. As making your own puree is a little time consuming you may prefer to make up a larger batch of the puree and freeze the leftovers. The puree can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.