I just love this time of year. Leaves falling out side, pine needles dropping. Deer leaping through the property. The family spending more time together and coming up with things to do indoors while the weather changes. It’s just the best. I have soo many great memories around this time of year. And one of them happens to be about pumpkins.
Now most don’t know, I’m that iconic lady in the movie Dr. Dolittle that has issues with allergic reactions. Pumpkin is one of my most favorite things to eat on the planet. However, I have to watch it from time to time, because I can swell if I eat to much. But I can get away with taking an allergy pill and head to town. I know I’m sooooo bad. BUT it’s soo darn good. And it wasn’t until I was an adult when it started happening and I feel…it only happens half the time and not every time. Anyway….if I eat it in moderation, I’m fine.
Having said that. This blog is dedicated to all things pumpkin and what better way to do that then share some recipes and tips that a few friends have given me. I decided to recruit some help from a few others and give 3 lucky people a 2 year subscription to Allrecipes.com‘s newest magazine venture. So if you see their name on here….congratulate them for helping me.
Here’s some Pumpkin Lovin’
Like most squashes, pumpkin is very versatile. You can bake it, boil it, steam it, and fry it. You can make it into a pie, use it in stuffing, It goes well both in savory and sweet dishes. On this side of the continent, most Americans, we use it more in sweet dishes like pie, cookies, breads, we also use pumpkins to make Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween. On the other side of the world, traditionally you’ll find them in curries, soups and some countries in tempura. I’ve never had it tempura style but I do love a good soup. My favorite really is pumpkin pie. My family loves it when I use every part of the pumpkin and roast the seeds. Now my husband is not a pumpkin fan but loves the seeds. SO I generally make the seeds purposely for him.
SO let’s great started:
To cook or roast fresh pumpkin for the applications we are going to use them for in this blog…Rather simple. Clean your pumpkin, by removing all dirt and debris. Then cut the pumpkin, open it up to expose the inside. Remove seeds and pith from the pumpkin cavity and then clean up, by removing as much pith as possible. Save the seeds, we will be using them. The hardest part in this, is cutting into the raw pumpkin. It can be solid, stiff and very tough to break down into pieces, but totally worth the time and effort.
Next turn on the oven to 300 degrees. Take the chunks of pumpkin and further cut them down into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces. Next you will need a jellyroll style pan(a baking sheet with raised edges to keep liquid from following off). Place the cubes of pumpkin skin side faced up into the pan. Place pan on the middle oven rack and carefully add 1/4 inch of water into the pan. Carefully push oven rack back into the oven and bake for about an hour. Carefully remove from oven and let cool completely. When cooled, remove the skin from the pumpkin meat. MY TIP: when removing the skin, I place the pumpkin meat into a very fine strainer that is lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. The purpose of this is to drain any fluids retained by the pumpkin in the baking or roasting process. If needed, I gently press down.
TIP #2: Baking with fresh pumpkin from Allrecipes.com
TIP #3: Some will say, cut the pumpkin completely in half, place on a pan and bake in a jellyroll pan with seeds and pith intact and after it’s baked then remove the pith and seeds. I’ve not tried that but I just might.
Maureen Connolly sent me a Creamy Pumpkin and Cashew Curry Recipe she’s made from Bon Appetit published in October 2009′s magazine by Ross Dobson and says it’s delish, I didn’t have access to some ingredients in my small little mountain community but I’ve posted the recipe on my site and I want to thank her for her submission and will me making it with in the next week.
Now while my pumpkin is cooling, Let’s get back to those seeds I saved. Yes….save your seeds!!! I didn’t realize how much my husband and kids love pumpkin seeds until a few years ago and it’s nice when you can do it fresh. SO here’s the steps you need to use when harvesting seeds from your pumpkin.
Remove seeds and pith from the cavity of the pumpkin. Place in a strainer or colander. Rinse with cool water to clean membranes off and remove and discard pith. Once your seeds are clean, place them on a pan lined with paper towels or a light dish towel. Pat dry. Now, chose what you want with recipes using the pumpkin seeds, most people like them lightly salted, some like them spicy like my husband. But this round I made them sweet….just to try. And even though my pumpkin only gave me 1-1/2 cups of fresh seeds, half of the batch was gone 10 minutes after hey came out of the oven to cool…thanks to my son The kids said it tasted similar to a sweeten version of Kettle corn.
TIP#4: From Alice Hanson is to visually look at what kind of seeds you need to save. You don’t want to save empty seed casings as she so put it. So I posted a visual guide on what not to save.
Here’s the result of my roasting of the pumpkin seeds. You can find the modified recipe I used to make the seeds, here: Honey Salted Pumpkin Seeds
Now on to the good stuff. Jean Ann Miles, posted on a local community board on FB that’s relevant to me in my local and surrounding areas about what she does. And when I saw the recipe of the Pumpkin Pie she makes, I was intrigued. Why may you ask…it has molasses in it. I’ve never used molasses in any pumpkin pie before and seriously decided, I needed to make it. She posted that she:
“stores fresh pumpkin in a cool room, it will last like any other winter squash for several months. To cook, I roast mine in a 350 degree oven on a jelly roll pan for about an hour or until it is soft to the touch and brown and kinda toasty on the top. A little longer is better than less time. Let it cool. Next step is to peel the skin from the meat and the seeds. After the meat is in chunks, I purée them in the blender. Next, I package the purée in 2 cup batches in freezer Ziplocs bags for pies, cookies, and quick breads.”
She then posted her recipe for Pumpkin Pie and I have to say, I liked it. However, I did change the name of it and hope in all hind sight she doesn’t mind. Due to the fact that this pumpkin pie is sweet with molasses, and reminds me of a pumpkin butter. I again never have come across a recipe like this and it seems very old for my generation. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was a recipe pasted down to her …of course I’ve not asked either. But I sure am going to share.
INGREDIENTS: 2 eggs 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 cup molasses 2 Tbsp melted butter Pie pastry for 1-crust 9-inch pie
DIRECTIONS: Beat the eggs. Add all remaining ingredients except the pastry and mix thoroughly. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry and crimp or flute the edges. Pour in as much of the pumpkin custard as the pie plate will hold. Do not cover the pie. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour or until a knife blade comes out clean from center of the pie. Leftover custard can be poured into custard cups and baked for 40-50 mins.
Now I didn’t have any leftover to pour into custard cups. It was perfect amount to fit into a deep dish 9-in pre-made pie crust. The pie is deep, dark, sweet and rich. If you are looking for a traditional flavored pumpkin pie, this isn’t it. This is an old world flavor that delivers an amazing punch of flavor. Not my momma’s pumpkin pie but a new addition in my home.
Thanks for enjoying in my rambles. And flooding my page of food porn I hope you enjoy this holiday season as I’m very thankful to have my family, my health and my beautiful spot up here in the mountains. From my humble kitchen to yours…Happy Baking.