The air is crisp and our summer clothes are being changed out for sweaters and scarves. Instagram is full of pumpkin patch pictures. Autumn is here and pumpkin is the quintessential flavor of the season. We are all familiar with the traditional pumpkin recipes for desserts, namely pumpkin pie… and there’s no reason not to bake a pumpkin pie or two. But, pumpkin pie is not the only thing, not even the best thing, you can do with pumpkin. Non-traditional pumpkin desserts and savory pumpkin recipes are great ways to get the most from this versatile fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit).
Even if you do not grow pumpkins on your homestead, they can be picked up at deep discounts right before and after Halloween at your local farmers market. Don’t be afraid of getting too much. You can preserve your own pumpkin and have a supply year-round.
Homemade Canned Pumpkin
- pumpkin, any size
- zest and juice of one lemon
- Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Peel the skin from the flesh.
- Cut the pumpkin flesh into small cubes. Place them in a large pot. Add water to two inches below the pumpkin. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer for one hour, until you can easily pierce the pumpkin with a fork.
- Let the pumpkin drain in a colander. Once drained, puree the pumpkin in batches in a blender until it is the consistency of applesauce.
- Put the pureed pumpkin back in the pot and bring it to a simmer. Cook for another 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir to blend.
- Ladle into sterilized jars and tighten lids to finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Because pumpkin desserts are what we are most familiar with, that is where we are going to start. This pumpkin poke cake is super easy, as it begins with a cake mix, and the pumpkin pie recipe is a delicious twist on a classic.
Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake
- 1 box spice mix cake
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup water
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup caramel sauce
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cup whipped topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13” cake pan.
- Mix together cake mix, pumpkin, water, eggs, and oil until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- While the cake is still hot, poke holes in the cake with the end of a wooden spoon. Heat ½ cup of caramel to warm and pour over the holes in the cake. Let the cake cool completely.
- Cream together the cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar until creamy. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread over the cake.
- Drizzle the rest of the caramel over the cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
- 9-inch pie crust
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 14 ounces pumpkin puree
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 3 cups packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prebake the pie shell for 15 minutes.
- In a double boiler, melt semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and butter. Stir frequently until smooth. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Fold in melted chocolate. Pour the mixture into your prepared crust. Bake until the center is almost set, approximately one hour.
Now that you have two fantastic desserts, have you ever thought of having pumpkin for breakfast? The pumpkin granola is a sweet and salty mix that can be eaten with milk like cereal or tossed over some yogurt. The recipe makes approximately nine cups. Pumpkin breakfast sausage is surprisingly delicious. You can double the recipe, as they lend themselves really well to freezing.
- 6 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2-3 teaspoons salt
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients together. Whisk the wet ingredients and spices together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Divide mixture between two large rimmed sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The granola will continue to crisp up as it cools.
Pumpkin Breakfast Sausage
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Combine all ingredients. Form into equal-sized patties.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat and lightly coat with oil.
- Sear patties 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through.
Some of the most interesting and delicious pumpkin recipes are savory. Savory pumpkin recipes are standard in other parts of the world. The simplest place to start is with pumpkin soup. From there we will progress to empanadas and curry.
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 10 peppercorns
- Heat chicken or vegetable stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
- Puree one cup at a time in a blender.
- Return to pot and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low and simmer another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream.
- Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley.
Cheesy Pumpkin Empanadas
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ Tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 9 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening or lard
- 2/3 – 1 cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening or lard
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add cold shortening. Process until evenly blended. Pulse while adding milk, one tablespoon at a time. Add just enough milk to hold the dough together when pressed together. Shape dough into 3 equal-sized balls. Flatten each ball into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
- To prepare filling, heat vegetable shortening or lard in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until tender. Stir in brown sugar, thyme and salt until evenly blended. Stir in pumpkin, ricotta cheese, and parmesan cheese.
- Heat one inch of vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Divide each ball of dough into four equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 6’ circle. Brush edges with water. Spoon ¼ cup of filling on one side of each circle. Fold the dough over the filling and seal edges with a fork, or by crimping the dough together as you would a pie crust.
- Cook in hot oil for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown, turning halfway through cooking time. Drain on paper towels and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Pumpkin Curry with Chicken
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1” pieces
- 1 medium onion, choppedd2 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 Tablespoons freshly ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup cubed pumpkin
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
- 2 Tablespoons red curry paste
- 13.5 ounces full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken cubes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about five minutes. Remove chicken from pan.
- Add remaining oil in a pot. Cook the onion and carrots five minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Stir to blend.
- Add pumpkin, bell pepper, and green beans. Cook one minute. Add cooked chicken, red curry paste, and water. Stir to combine well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10-15 minutes, until pumpkin is tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat. Add lime juice. Top with cilantro and serve with rice.
Pumpkin is so nutritious and versatile that it is a shame to only eat it once or twice a year in a holiday pie. This season I encourage you to try not only these pumpkin recipes but also to create your own family favorites. If you don’t have pumpkin, most varieties of winter squash will stand in nicely. Happy autumn!
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