What is a pumpkin, by definition it is a gourd like squash. From a culinary stand point when you speak of pumpkin we think of the pulp that comes from steaming, or roasting. Most of the canned pumpkin that we all use for our pumpkin pies is actually other varieties of hard squash, such as butternut or acorn. So when planning a recipe if you have either of those to use you can substitute. Most pumpkins that are on the market are actually not for cooking, if you would like to cook from scratch you will want to look for a sugar pumpkin, they are smaller in size and will be heavy for their weight. To yield pulp for cooking or baking I prefer to roast not steam. By roasting you will end up with a dryer pulp that has more flavor.
Roasting Sugar Pumpkins4lb pumpkin (should yield 1½ cup pulp)
Cut pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds (save the seed for roasting if you want), then place the cut side down in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake it at 350 degree for approximately 1½ hours or until tender. Allow it to cool, then scoop out the pulp. Then puree or mash the pulp, and for smoother texture you may push it through a sieve.
Now on to recipes that are my favorite.
Pumpkin CrumbleThis is a great dish for potlucks, has the flavor of pumpkin pie, but does not have to be sliced; just served with a spoon.
2 cups pumpkin pulp
1 cup sugar
1 Tbl pumpkin pie spice
1 cup evaporated milk
Mix ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 baking dish.
1 spice cake mix1½ cup melted butter
½ cup chopped pecans
Sprinkle the cake mix over pumpkin mix. Then drizzle butter over the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake at 350 degree for about 50 minutes.
In many ways pumpkin is a super food, with its orange color it is full of vitamin A, it is high in fiber, little to no fat and all parts of the pant are edible. People often roast the seeds; we use the seeds in tossed green salads. The seeds can also be roasted and pressed into a very robust oil very popular in eastern Europe. The stems are also edible and are cooked in African cuisine.
Pumpkin Crumble Bars3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups oatmeal
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1½ cups butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
Combine all of the ingredients in this group to create a crumble. Then press about 2/3rds in to the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Press firmly.
3 cups pumpkin puree½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbl pumpkin pie spice
Combine these next ingredients and spread over the crust. Sprinkle with remaining crumble and a bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes till golden. Cool and cut into 2x3” squares (also great when made with cranberry sauce).
One of my most favorite recipes is for roasted Pumpkin soup
Roasted Pumpkin Soup1 sugar pumpkin roasted for pulp (see recipe above)
1 small onion diced
¼ cup celery diced
¼ cup carrot diced
½ tsp cumin
½ cup vegetable oil
4 cups roasted vegetable stock (or you can use chicken)
¼ cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
Sauté carrots, onion and celery in a ¼ cup of oil till very tender, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Add the cumin and sauté an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Add in pumpkin and vegetable stock and allow to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Then, using a blender (counter or hand) puree the soup, and return to the stove. Combine the remaining oil with the flour to create a slurry, which is then used to thicken the soup. Finish with salt, pepper and heavy cream.
You might also want to check out my blog for some past recipes. Blog.SonomaCaterers.com just search for Pumpkin and you will find recipes for Arugula Salad in a Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Chevre and Peppitas, and Pumpkin Salad, and Corn Bread Stuffed Pumpkin among others.