Taste of Fall: Baking with Pumpkins

Taste of Fall: Baking with Pumpkins
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Taste of Fall: Baking with PumpkinsA Taste of Fall: Baking with Pumpkin

Fall wouldn't be the same without pumpkin, whether you are a baker, a carver, or a fan of the roasted seeds. This orange member of the Cucurbita family is not just for carving though, as bakers around the world already know. Pumpkin is amazing when used in baking desserts and breads. It's a taste enhanced by cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and many other spices. Pumpkin can be sweet, or it can be savory when used in soups and casseroles. On Old Fashioned Living, we have at least nine pages devoted to our favorite fall taste. Start with this page, and follow the links to the others:

Fall Pumpkin Tips and Recipes

 

MAKE YOUR OWN PUREE

It's easy to make your own pumpkin puree with fresh pumpkin. You will need 1 3/4 cup of the puree to equal the amount in a 15-ounce can. One 2-3 pound pumpkin should be enough, if not more. The pumpkin should be cooked much like acorn squash. Cut the pumpkin in half if it's small, or quarters if it's larger. The pumpkins that work best are usually labeled "pie pumpkins". They are smaller, but have more flesh and will make the tastiest puree. Scrape out the seeds, and save for roasting, or add to the compost pile.

Place the pumpkin in a shallow roasting pan, or a 9 x 13 baking pan, cut side down. Poke several holes in each half or quarter. Add about an inch of water to the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the flesh is tender. Cool.

Scrape the pumpkin flesh away from the skin and add to a bowl. When all the flesh is free of skin, add it to a blender or food processor to puree. At this point, the puree may be too thin and some of the water will need to be drained off the pumpkin. Place cheesecloth in a colander, add the pumpkin, and place over a bowl for an hour or so. The liquid will drip through the cloth. The puree is ready to use at this point. It can be placed in a resealable plastic bag for a couple of days, or put in the freezer to use throughout the winter.

Look over your favorite recipes and note how much pumpkin each one uses. For instance, the recipe for the scones below only uses 1 cup of puree, so I would freeze 2 cups per quart bag so I could later take it out and use it to bake two batches of the scones.


ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
To roast fresh pumpkin seeds, pick out most of the pulp from the seeds and rinse. Don't worry about getting it all. A little pulp actually adds to the taste of the seeds. Pat the seeds dry, and toss with 1 tsp. of olive oil (or vegetable) per cup of seeds. Add salt and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast in a preheated over at 250 degrees til golden brown and dried. I shake them every so often to move them around on the pan. You can add spices when you add the salt if you wish.

Pumpkin Apple Scones

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 cup chilled butter

1/2 cup peeled, diced apple

1 cup pumpkin puree

 

Glaze:

1 tbsp. melted butter

1 tbsp. milk or cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup confectioners' sugar

 

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl. Work into the mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until looks like crumbs. Add the apple and pumpkin. Blend in until all is mixed and a dough is formed. Don't over mix. Gently place on a flour counter or board and form into a 1 inch thick circle. Cut into wedges with a very sharp serrated knife. Place the wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet, rearrange in a circle cut leave about 1/2 inch between each scone. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Combine the glaze ingredients. While the scones are still warm, drizzle the glaze over each scone. Serve warm, or room temperature.

 

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup oil

2 large eggs

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

 

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup crushed pecans or walnuts

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

 

Grease tins for 12 muffins. Combine the oil, sugar and eggs, mixing well with an electric mixer. Blend in the pumpkin puree and water. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add to the wet ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Pour into greased muffin tins.

Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle on the top of each muffin.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes until they test done.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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