Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Five Little Pumpkin Recipes

by Lisa

It is pumpkin season! As we learned last week, October's favorite orange fruit (yes, it is a fruit!) is good for more than just carving. Here are some other facts about Jack you might not have known (from the University of Illinois Extension):
  • Around 90 to 95% of the processed pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
  • The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" – the Greek word for "large melon."
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
And then there is the singing:

Of course, if you insist on cutting into these fat little darlings, do it in Death Star style (thanks to my friend Jane for the tip!).

Finally, I want to share some of my favorite pumpkin recipes, all egg-free and most sweetened with the season's maple syrup, to take you from breakfast to dessert, adapted from an article I first published in Vegetarian Gourmet. Enjoy!

Mini Pumpkin Johnnycakes

Top with extra maple syrup or warm cinnamon applesauce. Makes 20 small pancakes.

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered egg replacer (or omit, and replace 1/4 cup of the milk, below, with one medium egg, beaten and added with the pumpkin)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups milk or soymilk
  • 2/3 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon canola or other oil
1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk lemon juice and milk together in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Stir remaining wet ingredients into milk mixture, then pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and whisk lightly until just combined.
4. Heat a lightly oiled large skillet. Drop batter 2 Tablespoons at a time onto skillet. Gently flip pancakes when the underside is browned. Serve.

Not-Overly-Sweet Pumpkin Banana Walnut Bread

Makes one loaf.
Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canola or other oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a medium loaf pan. Set aside.
2. Sift or whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Whisk remaining ingredients (except walnuts) in a bowl until smooth. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in walnuts or chocolate chips.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Pumpkin Miso Soup

Makes four servings.
  • 2 Tablespoons mellow white miso
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced gingerroot
  • 2 teaspoons peanut or sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water (or, for a creamy version, milk or unsweetened soymilk)
1. Mix together miso and 2 Tablespoons water in small bowl. Set aside.
2. Sauté scallions and ginger in peanut or sesame oil in a large saucepan for 3-5 minutes.
3. In a blender or food process, blend pumpkin with sautéed scallions and ginger until smooth. Transfer back to pan.
4. Add broth and water (or milk). Whisk until smooth, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in miso mixture. Serve immediately.

Easy Halloween Pudding

Black and orange stripes make this pudding a treat for kids of all ages. Makes four servings.

Pumpkin Pudding:
  • 1 10.5-ounce package firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Spiced Cocoa Pudding:
  • 1 10.5-ounce package firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa (or carob) powder
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of cardamom
1. To make the pumpkin pudding, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to another bowl, and rinse the blending container.
2. To make the cocoa pudding, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
3. To assemble, spoon about 1/8 of pumpkin pudding, followed by 1/8 of cocoa pudding into each of 4 parfait glasses. Continue alternating until each has four stripes. Chill for at least 4 hours of overnight.

No-Bake Pumpkin Peanut Cheesecake

Makes 10 servings.
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut (or almond) butter
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 6 ounces graham crackers
  • 2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
  • 1 10.5-ounce firm silken tofu
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut (or almond) butter
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons agar powder (or gelatin)
1. Lightly oil a 12" springform pan. Set aside.
2. Mix together 2 Tablespoons peanut (or almond) butter and 2 Tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Grind graham crackers in a food processor or blender until they form very small crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a mixing bowl and mix in peanut butter mixture until coarse crumbs form. Press firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
4. Puree pumpkin, tofu, maple syrup, peanut or almond butter, pie spice, and salt in a food process or blender. Do not transfer mixture. Set aside.
5. Simmer one cup water and agar or gelatin in a small saucepan for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Immediately add to pumpkin mixture, and blend until smooth.
6. Pour filling over crust and smooth the top. Chill overnight.

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