Like all good things, my high over Initiation Trilogy has finally ended. I had expected that I'd blog all about it as it was happening, but I wanted to savour it, enjoy the moment. I didn't want to inundate you with previews and reviews, though I will post about them soon.
I was Cinderella at the ball, and now I'm surrounded by pumpkins. So what to do with pumpkins? Carve them up!
Yesterday, I did what I started doing when we lived in Edmonton. Chopped up, steamed, then pureed our jack o'lanterns to freeze for winter baking. It's a big job, even though we only have two pumpkins (I'm sure this will change when my youngest becomes aware and wants to participate in the ritual carving, too), but it is so worth it.
There is seasonal food I make that relies on these pumpkins and I could barely wait. I know I'm not alone in eating a lot of pumpkin and squash this time of year, so I thought I'd share a couple of recipes in case you're looking for some inspiration.
I was told the other day that the jack o'lantern pumpkins have no nutritional value. That may or may not be true, but they are so sweet pureed that it doesn't really matter to me if they're good for me or not. They taste delicious, especially in baking, and for me, that's what counts.
First up, is the chocolate pumpkin loaf. I make this many times over the Autumn and Winter. So good:
Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Loaf
1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch ground cloves
170 grams (six squares) chopped bakers chocolate
1. beat butter and sugar until fluffy
2. add & beat eggs one at a time
3. stir in pumpkin
4. in separate bowl, mix dry ingredients
5. stir in pumpkin mixture alternating with water, fold in chocolate
Bake at 350F for 60-75 minutes
Next up is a soup that can be made with any squash, though the batch I made on Thursday was made with sacrificial jack o'lantern pumpkin. I love this soup not just because of the tangy, rich flavour, but also because the colour is a perfect Autumn gold.
1 large onion chopped
1 large yam chopped
1 small squash or 3-4 cups of chopped pumpkin/squash
5-6 cups of water (or stock if you're feeling fancy)
1 cup red lentils
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1. soften onion, add yam and squash, sauté for a few minutes
2. add water, bring to boil
3. add lentils and herbs and salt
4. boil/simmer until veggies are soft
5. cool a bit, puree, return to pot, stir in lemon juice, and serve
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
6 cups of frozen bread chunks*
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2 cups of milk/cream**
1/2 cup sugar (brown or white)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
1. Mix up everything in a deep casserole dish, add bread and stir so it's all covered.
2. Let it sit covered in fridge for a few (6-8?) hours. I mix mine up in the morning for that night's dessert.
3. Stir and bake uncovered at 375F for 30-40 minutes.
*I keep a large ziplock bag full of stale and heels of bread in the freezer, so my bread pudding is a mix of homemade bread, store-bought multigrains, and stale hotdog/hamburger buns and french bread. If you use unfrozen bread, then don't have it sit for as long before baking.
**I try to use 1 cup coffee cream and 1 cup 2% milk, but it all depends on what I have in the fridge. Whipping cream? Oh yes. The fattier the better. Only 2%, well then, that'll have to do.
So, those are some of my favourite pumpkin recipes. I still haven't perfected my pumpkin scone recipe. If I do this year, I share it. Tell me, what are your favourites?