If you have moved to France or Germany or Switzerland from the US and you are looking for a can of Libby’s Pumpkin for making a holiday pie- you aren’t going to find it. It just isn’t there. Now, you could mail order one for an extreme price, have a relative smuggle it through customs in lieu of bringing clothing in their luggage. Or, you could just do the time-consuming-but-not-difficult thing and learn to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.
Now, the good news is that even though mashed, packed pumpkin is not available in most areas, baking pumpkins are! They might look something like this:
Pumpkins here are called kurbis and are sold by weight. They come in a wide variety- here are three that I have used recently for pie making. All three of these pumpkins have orange, sweet, smooth meat that will make a wonderful pie. The one in the middle is called a butternut pumpkin, and, yes, in the states it would be called a butternut squash. It is apparently a not-so-well-guarded secret that these squash/pumpkins make some of the best pumpkin pies around. So, away we go!
First up, you need to cut your pumpkin open and scrape out the seeds.
Once the seeds are out, cut your pumpkin into several large chunks and place in a single layer inside a large oven-safe pot with a lid (or one you can cover with foil). Add about a cup of water to the bottom, cover tightly and place in a 350 degree oven (175 C) until soft. This can vary, so check with a fork from time to time for softness. 45-60 is typical, but it can go an hour and a half if the pieces are large. This one was done in an hour.
When it is done, the flesh will be soft and just a little sticky! Scrape it out of the shell and into a deep bowl.
Then, mash it! I find a stick blender works great for this.
Once it is mashed you can use it immediately, or portion it out and save it. 2 cups will substitute for one 15 oz. can in any recipe. That one butternut pumpkin above was enough for me to make 3 pies! But, you can only count on 1 pie from the small orange pumpkin and maybe 2 from the medium green one. The pies are delicious- and everyone will be very impressed that you went to all the trouble!