Tidewater Kitchen - November 2008

It's Pumpkin Time!


Pamela Meredith-Doyle

   Go beyond the traditional pie with these delicious treats.
    Autumn is the season to enjoy pumpkin recipes, whether you carve your own and use the filling for pies and other treats or rely on the canned variety. Either way, these recipes will satisfy your sweet tooth and get you in the mood for fall.
    Fall really starts with the first bright heap of pumpkins for sale by the side of the road. While most of the big ones end up carved into Jack-o-lanterns, the smaller sugar pumpkins are also classic table fare. Sweet, fine-textured sugar pumpkins make fabulous breads, cakes, pies, muffins – even a delicious savory puree to serve with roast game.
    The easiest way to cook a sugar pumpkin is to set it on its side and slice off the top, then quarter the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Place the quarters in a baking pan and add water to a depth of about an inch. Cover with aluminum foil or a tight fitting lid, and bake in a 400° oven until fork tender, about an hour. Drain, cool, and then scoop out the pumpkin flesh and puree it in a food processor. Pumpkin can be substituted in any recipe that calls for winter squash, and puree freezes well.

Pumpkin Muffins
    Savvy mothers sometimes soft-pedal the word “pumpkin.” So call these Thanksgiving Muffins if you like, but whatever you call them, they are always a huge success with the sandbox crowd as well as their parents. Serve them for breakfast or tea, with apple butter or with sweet butter or cream cheese blended with a little orange zest.

1½ cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. baking powder
12/3 cup flour- whole wheat is a nice change
½ t. cloves
¾ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
½ cup nuts (optional)
½ cup raisins (optional)

Mix sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin together. Then sift together all the dry ingredients.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until well blended. Add raisins and nuts if you wish.
Pour into muffin tins lined with either paper cups or sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until muffin springs back when you touch it.
These are great for breakfast or a snack.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. salt
¼ t. ground cloves
¼ t. ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
¼ cup orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans with vegetable oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon salt, cloves, and nutmeg until evenly mixed. Set aside until needed.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium speed, beat the sugar and butter for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. When incorporated, add the pumpkin puree and mix, scraping the bowl occasionally, until smooth.
Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and add the orange juice to the batter. Mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour and scrape the batter into the loaf pans, dividing it evenly. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean.
Take out of pans and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Savory Pumpkin Cheese Ball
2 packages (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup solid pack pumpkin
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 T. dry sherry
½ t. curry powder
¼ t. salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
Sliced pears, apples or crackers

Combine cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, pumpkin, blue cheese, garlic, sherry, curry powder and salt in mixer bowl.
Beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until creamy. Cover; chill 1 hour.
Mix nuts and parsley in shallow dish. Shape cheese into ball; roll in nut mixture.
Makes 16 appetizer servings.

Pumpkin Dip
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin pie filling
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks for garnish

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add pie filling, 1 t. cinnamon and ginger, beating well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serve with gingersnaps and apple and pear slices. Garnish if you like.

Spicy Chicken-Pumpkin Chili
2 T. olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
2 cups red bell peppers, chopped
3 T. jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup light beer (or 1 cup stock)
1 cup chicken or roasted vegetable stock
3 T. chili powder
1 t. coriander
½ t. sea salt
2 (14.5 oz.) cans whole Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 pound chicken breast, cubed
2 cups fresh cooked pumpkin, cubed
2 T. cilantro
1 T. cocoa powder
1 (16 oz.) can pinto beans
6 T. green onion, sliced
6 T. cheddar cheese, shredded
6 T. nonfat sour cream

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, and sauté until soft. Add the beer (if using), stock, chili powder, coriander, salt, tomato, and chicken. Bring to a simmer until the chicken is done.
Stir in the pumpkin, cilantro, cocoa and beans; cook for five more minutes. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with green onions, cheese and sour cream.
Serves 6 1½ cups, you can double the recipe and freeze for later.

Mom’s Pumpkin or Squash Pie
The blend of aromatic spices referred to as pumpkin pie spice traditionally is sold for pies made with pumpkin. Formulas vary, but you can make your own by combining equal parts of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, and half as much ground cloves.

1½ cup strained cooked squash or pumpkin (can use as much as 3 cups or 1 16 oz. can)
3 eggs
1 can Carnation milk
1 cup sugar
½ t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger
1 T. rum (optional)
2 unbaked pie crusts

Mix together and add 3 eggs beaten with one can Carnation milk.
Put mixture in 2 unbaked pie crusts. Bake at 375° for 45 to 50 minutes.
Makes two deep dish pies.

Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 cups crushed shortbread cookies
3 T. butter
4 pralines (see recipe below)
5 packages cream cheese, softened
1¾ cups sugar
4 T. all purpose flour
1½ t. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 t. grated lemon rind
¼ t. ground nutmeg
½ t. cinnamon
1 16 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
¼ t. pumpkin pie spice
2 (8 oz.) containers sour cream
1/3 cup sugar

Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press into bottom and sides of a greased 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle coarsely crumbled pralines over crust.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add 1¾ cups sugar, flour and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice and beat until mixed thoroughly. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Stir in whipping cream and lemon rind.
Pour into crust. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° on lower oven rack for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until almost set.
Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Stir together sour cream and 1/3 cup sugar; spread over cheesecake. Then bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Cool. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup half and half
3 T. butter
1¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ t. vanilla extract

Butter bottom of a heavy saucepan. Cook brown sugar, sugar, half and half and butter in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until sugars dissolve.
Stir in pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Let stand 3 minutes.
Beat with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken. Working rapidly, drop by tablespoons onto wax paper. Let stand until firm. Makes 1 dozen

Pumpkin Crisp
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 t. cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup melted margarine
1 cup chopped nuts

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, eggs and cinnamon. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch pan lined with wax paper. Sprinkle cake mix on tip. Add pecans and butter.
Bake at 350° for 50 minutes, or until done. Let cool completely and invert. Mix icing and spread on cake and cut into squares.

Pumpkin Ice Cream
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
2 T. vanilla
1 cup white sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
7.5 oz. canned pumpkin
2 eggs, feel free to use pasteurized eggs if you don’t like using raw eggs
½ t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground cloves

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Then put in your ice cream machine and follow directions according to the manufacturer’s instructions.