A foray into the pumpkin patch

When it comes to baking with pumpkin, I have to admit that my experience comes totally from a can, and even then it’s a limited experience. I may have baked a pumpkin pie —brother Marty’s favorite dessert  — and concocted a pumpkin ice cream dessert for Thanksgiving one year, but that’s about the extent of my pumpkin experimentation. I have never tried an actual pumpkin into pie or any other baked good, although I realize that’s where the stuff in the can comes from.

But several of our area farmers market producers contend that fresh pumpkin is the way to go. Marsha Boverhof of Edgerton sent the basic instructions for cooking a pie pumpkin —which is a different thing than an ornamental pumpkin, so make sure you’ve got the right type —along with bread and dessert recipes that make use of the resulting non-canned product.

Cooked Pumpkin

Start with a pie pumpkin. Remove stem, cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.

Place pumpkin halves cut-side down in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out pumpkin flesh with a spoon. Mash with potato masher, put through a strainer or applesauce maker or use a food processor to get a smooth pumpkin puree. Use in any recipe calling for pumpkin: 2 cups pumpkin equals one 15-ounce can. Can also be frozen for later use.

Pumpkin Bread

Beat together 4 eggs, 3 cups sugar and 1 cup oil. Add 2 cups cooked pumpkin and 2/3 cup water. Add 1½ cups whole wheat flour.

Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons soda, 1½ teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Combine with wet ingredients.

Pour batter into greased loaf pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Variations: Substitute cooked and mashed buttercup or butternut squash for the pumpkin; add ¾ cup nuts and/or ¾ cup raisins.

Pumpkin Dessert

Mix together 3 cups pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1½ cups sugar, one 12-ounce can evaporated milk, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Pour into a 9- by 13-inch pan.

Over top of pumpkin mixture, sprinkle 1 dry yellow cake mix. Sprinkle with 1 cup chopped nuts (optional). Melt 1 cup butter or margarine and drizzle over cake mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

Lori Rosenberg, who grows quite a few varieties of pumpkins that her family sells at the local markets, submitted her favorite fall dessert recipe.

Pumpkin Bars

Using a mixer, cream ¾ cup butter or margarine and 2 cups granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in 2 cups cooked pumpkin and 4 eggs. Combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and fold into pumpkin mixture.

Spread batter into greased and floured 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool.

Frost with cream cheese or vanilla frosting.

I might not be an avid pumpkin baker, but I do usually try my hand at carving one or two or the orange orbs prior to Halloween. Every time I get out my carving tools, however, Hubby Bryan gets out the Band-Aids and warms up the vehicle for a trip to the emergency room. I have to admit that my carving efforts have been riddled with mishap, although I’ve never lost a digit, just a little bit of blood.

If pumpkin carving is on the agenda at your house, you might want to save the seeds and try this recipe.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Remove the seeds from pumpkin and rinse under cold water to get rid of all the pulp and strings. Spread seeds out on paper toweling to dry. You should have about 2 cups of seeds.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine 1½ tablespoons melted butter or margarine, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt. Add pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Place in shallow baking pan.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Store in airtight container.

One thought on “A foray into the pumpkin patch

  1. Hello Beth, My question is — can one substiute canned pumpkin in these very inteesting recipes? Love to read your Blog — Blessings, Clarice

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