Serves 8-10, prep time: 30 m, total time: 1 hr 15 m
1 small carving pumpkin (uncarved)
Note: The best pumpkins to use are small sugar pumpkins. That said, you absolutely can use regular carving pumpkins, they just won't be as sweet, but they will give you a lot more pumpkin. Do not use pumpkins you have already carved and set out for Halloween, those should be discarded.
Rinse the pumpkin and pat dry. Using a large knife, carefully slice the pumpkin in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the string and seeds from each half and separate into bowls. Save the seeds for roasting later (see recipe for Roasted Pumpkin seeds on this site). Discard the stringy guts.
Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line a tray with aluminum foil and place the pumpkin carved side down (skin side up). Bake for 60 minutes (until the inside flesh is tender). Depending on the size of the pumpkin, you may not be able to get both halves in the oven, in which case, simply roast separately.
When done, carefully lift off and remove the skin from the pumpkin (the pumpkin will be hot) and discard, placing the cooked pumpkin flesh into a food processor. Purée until smooth. The pumpkin purée can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months. Use the purée for any recipe calling for canned pumpkin.