Skip the canned stuff and make a fresh pie filling with plump squash or pumpkin—both are in season now. This easy purée is
delicious in our Pumpkin Caramel Ice Cream Pie and Pumpkin Brûlée Tart. To make it, choose a dry-fleshed baking pumpkin like
Sugar Pie (Halloween pumpkins are too moist) or a dense orange squash like butternut or kabocha.
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut 2 lbs. pumpkin or squash in half with a large, heavy knife, then scoop out the seeds (save them for toasting if you like). Rub the inside of the pumpkin halves with vegetable oil and set them, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until very soft when pierced, 45 to 75 minutes. Scoop flesh into a food processor and whirl until smooth. If the purée is watery, let it drain in a strainer for 30 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups purée