It’s Not Too Late for Pumpkins
By Susan Olcott
It’s after Halloween and you’ve already carved a pumpkin or two, but don’t put your carving knife away. There’s plenty to make with the pumpkins that still appear at the market. Although the BTLT Saturday Farmers’ Market recently closed for the season, you can fill your pumpkin needs on Saturdays at Fort Andross starting on November 10th or outside on the Brunswick Mall on Tuesdays and Fridays until Thanksgiving.
I am always surprised by the variety of pumpkins – from the tiny decorative Jack-Be-Little pumpkins to the fat and squat Cinderella variety. Did you know there are also Rock Star pumpkins and Fairy tale pumpkins? Those are just the orange ones. Then there are the White Ghost pumpkins and the blue Jarradale pumpkins. There are apparently over 42 different varieties of pumpkin (https://www.tootsweet4two.com/42-types-of-pumpkins/). And, finally there’s always the pie pumpkin. That’s the sweet one I’ll focus on for the recipes below. It’s not too big or too hard and is also easy to find at the Farmer’s Market. You might pass them by now that Halloween is over or if you aren’t making a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but there’s a lot beyond pie that you can make with a good local pumpkin.
Nevertheless, I have to start with a pie story – and a recipe. I’ve never liked pumpkin pie and I always felt disheartened at Thanksgiving when that was the dessert presented. It was a little too gelatinous and either too sweet or too bland. But, several years ago a friend made a pie for me that changed my mind. The difference was that she made it with fresh pumpkin that she had roasted and pureed. You may be tuckered out on cleaning and carving pumpkins, but this is really worth it. And, if you have some cooked pumpkin leftover, you can use it in the muffin recipe below. The other part of pumpkin pie I’ve never been a fan of is the soggy crust. The recipe below includes how to make a graham cracker crust by getting any little people you have around to stomp on Ziplocks full of graham crackers to crush them (make sure to use the sturdy bags or double them up). The last recipe is also fun for kiddos – a pumpkin soup that you serve in a hollowed out pumpkin. Yes, you have to clean out more pumpkins, but it is really fun to eat out of the pumpkin and you can keep them for several days in the refrigerator. For this one, you simmer the chunks of pumpkin instead of roasting them and then puree them in the soup, topping it with shredded cheese. The recipe is for Gruyere or Swiss, but you could use any cheese you like from your favorite market fromager. I also like to top the soup with duqqa (an Egyptian blend of nuts, seeds and spices) from the market’s Gryffon Ridge.
So, here you go. A different version of pumpkin pie and some other ideas for how to use pumpkins after the ghosts have gone.
Pumpkin Gruyere Soup (adapted from Williams Sonoma)
Ingredients (Serves 8)
1 medium pumpkin (more if you want to serve it out of a large or several small pumpkins)
4 T butter
1 large sweet onion
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 ½ c light cream
2 T grated orange zest
2 T fresh orange juice
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/8 t nutmeg
1 t fresh ginger
¾ lb Gruyere or Swiss style cheese shredded (or try your local favorite cheese)
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 T chopped fresh chives for garnish
Optional: Duqqa from Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants to sprinkle on top
- Cut flesh of one pumpkin into large cubes. Clean out other pumpkins if using for serving.
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed stockpot and sauté onion until it turns golden.
- Add stock, pumpkin, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.
- Discard bay leaf.
- Puree soup in a blender/immersion blender/food processor/food mill.
- Return soup to pot and stir in cream and remaining ingredients except cheese.
- Sprinkle most of the cheese over the top and stir in, reserving a handful for serving.
- Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cheese, chives and duqqa.
- Serve in individual pumpkins if you like.
Pumpkin Muffins (from lovelylittlekitchen.com)
Ingredients (makes 1 dozen)
1 c all purpose flour + ¾ c white whole wheat flour
½ c sugar
½ c dark brown sugar
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
¼ t nutmeg
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree or 2 cups pureed fresh pumpkin
½ c coconut oil, melted
1 t vanilla
Optional: powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Whisk dry ingredients together.
- Whisk remaining wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Stir the wet ingredients and dry ingredients together.
- Scoop into a greased muffin tin.
- Bake 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool in tin.
- Optional: top with powdered sugar.
Maple Pumpkin Pie (from Yankee Magazine)
1 medium pumpkin
½ c maple syrup
½ c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
½ t nutmeg
½ t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 c heavy cream
Graham Cracker Crust:
2 c crushed graham crackers (put them in a Ziplock and let your kids stomp on them)
6 T melted butter
Whipped cream for serving
- For the crust: Mix together crushed graham crackers and butter. Press into a 9” pie dish. Bake at 375 for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before filling.
- Turn the oven up to 400.
- Clean out pumpkin and cut into slices. Brush with a little olive oil and prick with a fork.
- Roast for 40 minutes or until soft. Then scoop flesh away from the skin. You’ll need about 2 cups for the pie)
- In a food processor, combine pumpkin and all remaining ingredients except for cream.
- Slowly pour cream in and continue to mix until pale and homogenous.
- Pour mixture into the pie shell.
- Bake 35-45 minutes or until center just barely jiggles.
- Cool for about 2 hours before serving.
- Serve with whipped cream.