Up till a couple of years ago it had never occurred to me that someone might do something with a pumpkin besides carve it, at least in the US in the 21st century. If you wanted to eat pumpkin, you bought a can of pumpkin at the grocery store and made a pumpkin pie (or cookies or bread). This pumpkin pie thing was relatively new too since the first time I had one was for school lunch when I was probably around 10 and was immediately converted. I didn't get another pumpkin pie till my sisters started marrying people who thought you were supposed to have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, and then I got married and learned how to make my own. With canned pumpkin.
So I bought a pumpkin and this week I made pumpkin pie and a Uighur pilau with pumpkin (from Beyond the Great Wall). I had a good recipe to follow for the pie (and some advice from Robyn) and it turned out to be easy. My pumpkin wasn't at all watery and I didn't have any trouble. But I really didn't notice much difference between the fresh pumpkin and the canned, which was disappointing. I'll probably buy a pumpkin again, because I like to bake from scratch, or as scratch as possible, but I'll keep canned pumpkin around for pies too.
But the pilau! That was worth the effort of preparing the pumpkin. You can't buy chunks of pumpkin very easily, so I expect I'll freeze some for this pilau. It's a fairly standard pilau, with carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, chicken, and, of course, plenty of rice. The recipe recommend serving it with black vinegar which was perfect.
So the verdict is that canned pumpkin is fine for anything that needs puree, but I can't imagine anything replacing the pumpkin in that pilau, not even squash, although it would do in a pinch. And yes, babushka, I'll give you the recipe if you want it.