Sweet and savory fall pumpkin
While pumpkin season once meant pie, it now means pumpkin lattes, pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin muffins, all sweet treats that make good use of one of autumn’s most beautiful squash varieties.
And while a slice of antioxidant-packed pumpkin pie is still the healthiest option when choosing a pastry, pumpkin can also be used in savory, super-delicious applications when mixed with the right selection of spices.
Either way, pumpkin is one of the healthiest things about fall thanks to the fiber, beta-carotene and other important nutrients, so feel free to head to your local farmer’s market and grab up as many as you can.
You can make your own pumpkin puree by cutting your pumpkin in half, removing the seeds and strings and roasting them cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 375-degree oven until the pumpkin is tender, then creaming it in a food processor when cooled.
OLD FASHIONED PUMPKIN PIE
For the Pie...
2 extra-large eggs
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
Making the Pie...
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy. Add the sugars, salt and spices. Fold in the pumpkin puree and stir in the cream, beating slowly until well mixed.
- Pour the filling into an unbaked pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for two hours before transferring it to the refrigerator to chill.
- Serve with whipped cream.
For the mousse...
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Candied ginger for garnish
Putting it all together...
- Combine pumpkin, 1 cup cream, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool mixture completely.
- Whip remaining heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to soft peaks and fold into cooled pumpkin mixture.
- Chill well and serve with candied ginger.
Candied ginger: Peel a few knobs of ginger, using the edge of a spoon to eliminate waste. Slice ginger thinly and cut into slivers, then add to equal parts sugar and water and cook until ginger is tender. Strain the ginger over a fine mesh sieve, reserving flavored syrup to top pumpkin pancakes. Allow ginger to dry in a single layer, about five hours. Toss ginger – it will still be somewhat soft and tacky – with sugar and store in an airtight container before serving with pumpkin mousse.
ROASTED PUMPKIN WITH BACON AND BROWN SUGAR
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and drained, drippings reserved
1 large pie pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds from pumpkin
Putting it all together...
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off the top of the pumpkin, removing seeds and strings, reserving top.
- Brush the inside of the pumpkin with bacon drippings and sprinkle with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Replace the top and roast for about 20 minutes or until tender.
- In a dry cast-iron skillet, toast fennel seeds until fragrant, then grind coarsely in a mortar and pestle.
- Meanwhile, in a pan containing the remaining bacon grease, toast pumpkin seeds, green onions and fennel, stirring until pumpkin seeds begin to crisp.
- Remove pumpkin from oven and slice into wedges. Serve sprinkled with crumbled bacon and seasoned pumpkin seeds.
For the Fritters...
1½ cups fresh pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Finely ground black pepper, to taste
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Making the fritters...
- Heat a few inches of oil to 340 degrees Fahrenheit in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven.
- Stir together the pumpkin and the eggs, set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin puree and add the cheese, rosemary and black pepper, stirring until mixture comes together.
- Drop tablespoon-sized scoops of dough into the heated oil, frying until golden brown, flipping them gently to ensure even cooking, about two minutes for each fritter.
- Serve the fritters hot with rosemary dipping sauce.
Rosemary dipping sauce: Mix 1 cup sour cream, 1 ½ tablespoons minced rosemary, 1 chopped scallion, 1 clove garlic and 1 tablespoon water in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
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