The Great Pumpkin

“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.” – Simone SchwarzBart


┬áThe fall season if full of busy activities such as harvesting the fruits of mother natures labour. Like the squirrels running from tree to tree, we spend time gathering, preparing and storing for the inevitable arrival of winter’s wrath.

This year I was lucky enough to have 4 homegrown pumpkins delivered to my door by a friend. They met their demise with a draw of the knife (which made me replay the famous Psycho shower scene) and a 45 minute roasting time in the oven. Cooked till the fork tines easily pierce the rind. With the rind removed and the pulp in the food processor it was time to puree. Now pumpkin puree can be purchased in a can from the store, but home roasted it does bring a certain sweetness to your favourite recipes.

With a total of 12 cups of puree on hand I wanted to create some dishes that highlighted this orange fall fruit. The obvious choice is dessert as it offers a sweet taste that is enhanced further by sugars added to the recipe.

Curry Coconut Pumpkin Pie – The first taste is a mix of sweetness from the coconut milk, pumpkin and brown sugar. Then a hint of the slight curry heat touches your palate. The texture is smooth and creamy.

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Pumpkin Pancakes – The addition of puree and warm toned spices elevates the pancake to a new level. Adding whipped cream cheese, maple syrup and candied nuts turns it into a sweet dessert breakfast you will not soon forget.

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Coconut Pumpkin Pie Creme Brulee – An adaptive recipe of the pie filling from the dish above pour into ramekins to be water bathed baked. Sugar crystallized topped for a spoon tapping delight.

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Pumpkin Spiced Muffins with Cream Cheese – Moist light bodied muffin that is spiced with warm tones of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and ginger. Topped with tangy cream cheese center and topped with the crunch of pumpkin seeds or pecans. Such a texture treat.

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Pumpkin Butter – Thickened and reduced with pumpkin puree, cider, brown sugar and warm spices the result makes you want to be a kid spooning dessert into your mouth at a rampant pace. The addition of creamy baked brie and candied pecans seemingly makes it a little more adult, but you still can’t help but eat it as fast as you can. To be extremely decadent, it was added to the spiced pancakes making each bite a slice of heaven.

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The not so conventional choices for some are the savoury spices that can counter the sweetness of the pumpkin and used as a part of a main dish.

Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup – The creamy soup packs a flavour punch that hits just right. The coconut milk and pumpkin calm the dried chili heat just enough to provide a contrast of palate pleasing notes.

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter – Rich, warm creamy filling of pumpkin as you bite into the smooth texture of the pasta while the butter envelops your mouth. To quote one who has tasted it – ‘It’s better than some sex I have had”. Enough said.

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The resourceful and glowing amber puree is a much anticipated treat for all senses. Take in the moment to truly appreciate Nature’s Fall Bounty.

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