It’s Pumpkin Time!

Hi Folks:

Last year we did our Food post on pumpkins (A Plethora of Pumpkins) after Hallowe’en but we thought maybe this year we could be proactive.  With Thanksgiving recently behind us, what better time to talk about pumpkins?  In last year’s post we offered up some of our favourite pumpkin recipes; we’re going to add some more this year but with Hallowe’en still before us we thought we’d also add in some links to sites that offer free pumpkin carving templates.  In the past several years pumpkin carving has evolved into an art form unto itself and none of these templates approach that level of intricacy, but they do give you an opportunity to get creative and messy with your kids (or just you, if you don’t have kids):

Have fun with them!  Remember too that if you’re going to be cooking your pumpkin(s) after Hallowe’en, use a beeswax or non-toxic candle inside.

Okay, on with the recipes.  I like to give credit for recipes where I can, but I also think it’s fascinating that recipes are like stories, passing from friend to friend, from generation to generation, sometimes getting modified/adapted along the way.  I’ve had these recipes for a very long time and I don’t know who the authors are, but our thanks to you, whoever you are!

PUMPKIN BREAD

  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (125 ml) oil
  • 1⅔ cups (410 ml) cooked pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups (625 ml) all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. (15 ml) baking powder
  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) each of salt, ginger, ground cloves
  • 1¼ tsp. (6 ml) cinnamon

Beat together 1 cup (250 ml) sugar, oil, pumpkin, and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cloves, and 1 tsp. (5 ml) cinnamon. Combine pumpkin mixture with dry mixture and mix just enough to moisten all ingredients. Spoon into 2 lightly greased loaf pans. Mix remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) brown sugar and ¼ tsp. (1 ml) cinnamon and sprinkle over loaves. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from pans.

RUM PECAN PUMPKIN PIE

  • 1 un‑baked 9 inch pie shell
  • ½ cup (125 ml) pecan halves
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) cooked pumpkin (plus 1 tbsp. (15 ml) corn starch if homemade)
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. (6 ml) cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) ginger
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. (1 ml) salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dark rum
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

Sprinkle pie shell with pecan halves. Mix pumpkin and sugar until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to blend. Pour filling into pie shell. Bake at 450°F (230°C) for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake 35‑45 minutes longer, or until inserted knife comes out clean. Garnish with whipped or ice cream.

APPLE PUMPKIN COFFEE CAKE

  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) shortening
  • 1⅓ cups (330 ml) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cooked pumpkin
  • 1⅔ cups (410 ml) cake flour
  • ¼ tsp. (1 ml) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. (3 ml) salt
  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground cloves
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 medium apple, cored and chopped
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing:

Beat 125-g package of cream cheese until soft. Gradually add icing sugar and milk until desired taste and consistency is reached. Add ½ tsp. (2 ml) almond flavouring.

Cream together the shortening and sugar. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in chopped apple and walnuts. Pour into greased ring cake pan. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 40‑50 minutes. Invert and cool on rack.

THANKSGIVING PIE‑ A rich pie with pumpkin and pecans

“I’ve been cooking this recipe for a few years, and my people love it. It combines the best of the flavors of pumpkin and pecan.”

  • 1 deep dish un‑baked pie crust
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dark corn syrup
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) melted butter
  • 1½ cups (375 ml) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla
  • 1 cup (250 ml) pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Beat eggs. Add other ingredients except pecans, and beat well. Put pecans in bottom of pie crust and slowly pour egg mixture over nuts. Bake 45 minutes, or until knife inserted one inch from edges comes out clean. Let pie cool (if cut warm, the pie will be runny). Serve with whipped cream.

You can use chopped pecans, but pecan halves are prettier.

Finally, although pumpkin is often used for desserts, they can be used for savoury dishes as well:

BABY PUMPKINS* WITH GARLIC CUSTARD

 Ingredients:

  • 6 baby pumpkins – * ‘Baby Bear’ is best
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) whole milk
  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) shredded Parmesan cheese (Romano or Asiago could also be used, with slightly different flavour)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅛ tsp. (0.5 ml) salt)
  • ⅛ tsp. (0.5 ml) white pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).  Bake whole pumpkins until just tender, about 20 minutes.  Cut off tops and set aside to cool, then scoop out seeds.

Whisk cream, milk, garlic and cheese together in large measuring cup, then whisk in the eggs one at a time and add salt and pepper.

Arrange the pumpkins on a deep baking dish and fill with cream mixture – dividing equally.  Replace pumpkin tops.  Place baking dish on oven rack and fill with water – to about ½ way up the sides of the pumpkins.  Bake until the custard jiggles only slightly – about 30 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to rest five minutes before serving.
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Okay, that should keep you going for a little while.  Remember that you can also extract the seeds from the rest of the pith, wash them, coat them with a little good olive oil and some spices and toast them under the broiler for a tasty snack!

Hugs,
M&M

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