I did research on how to roast the pumpkin & found many different methods - I cut the pumpkins in half, scooped out the seeds & pulp, and placed cut side down in a glass baking dish filled with an inch or two of water. 375 degrees for about an hour. Scooped out the pumpkin mush and placed in a sieve to drain a little water. Then I pureed it in my food processor to make it super smooth and ended up with this:
(I used 2 pumpkins and kept them separate. The more yellow-ish one on the left was a little sweeter)
After looking at several pumpkin pie recipes, I decided on this one from Joy Of Baking. (I was going to try this one instead, but I opted for the one that utilized a pastry crust).
I did do the "optional" gingersnap/pecan layer:
so...was the "real" pumpkin puree worth it? i'll answer it with a resounding "maybe". it would've been interesting to make 2 different pies (one w/ canned) for a blind taste test. but let me just say this, it really isn't difficult AT ALL to roast the pumpkins. i had the mister cut them in half for me since i've been prone to stupid kitchen injuries lately (thumb cut - food processor blade / blistering steam burn - coffee pot). and i was able to use the leftovers in other recipes. i'd do it again, definitely. i think everyone liked the pie, too.