The powers that be must have invented pumpkins with all their wonderful culinary possibilities to comfort small children who had to go back to school.
Children may dread the end of summer, but pumpkin pies, cupcakes, velvety soups and toasted pumpkin bread seem to somehow make up for the loss of those endless free days.
Then there’s the crunch of the leaves underfoot and then the fun of coming up with costumes for Halloween, with the promise of more holidays around the corner. Whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanza, these special occasions make up the magic in our childhoods.
Autumn also lends its magic to grownups, too. One taste of fine pumpkin bread and we’re transported to those days all over again. It’s also a wonderful time to entertain.
With that in mind, we thought we’d share some of our favorite pumpkin recipes to share with your family and neighbors. Nothing fills a home with so much warmth as the scent of spices we use in pumpkin dishes.
Click here for Half Baked Harvest’s luscious Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Butter Bread that’s made with actual pumpkin puree, but also gets its velvety quality from pumpkin butter.
The wonderful thing about pumpkin butter is you can make a ton and freeze it in small portions so you can swirl it into your yogurt or oatmeal, serve it on top of waffles, and of course, top off your toast with all that pumpkiny goodness.
Best of all, you get to make Half Baked Harvest’s pumpkin bread that’s nice and crisp on the outside, with a perfect tenderness on the inside.
Pumpkin Butter Recipe
- 2 15-ounce cans pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 pinch pink Himalayan salt
Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and stir.
When it begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer.
Cook, uncovered, for 35 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more maple syrup or brown sugar to taste.
Once cooled completely, transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or freeze in single portion servings for up to two months.
You can freeze the puree in ice cube trays and pop them out into a Ziploc bag for an ideal way to store single servings. You may have an automatic ice maker, but you’ll want to keep trays to freeze the pumpkin butter and save it to use in other sauces, chicken broth, and berry topping for smoothies, yogurt and ice cream.
For the next recipe, pumpkin pie purists may protest, but there is something about a pumpkin pie that’s light and airy but still has all the flavor of the traditional dense variety.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Combine the following ingredients in a saucepan:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Separate the yolk and the whites of three eggs. Slightly beat the egg yolks and stir in 3/4 cup whole milk. Add this mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring, until the mixture boils.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 ¼ cup canned pumpkin. Place this mixture in the fridge until it mounds, but is not too stiff.
In the meantime, beat the reserved egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar in a mixer until it forms soft peaks.
Take the pumpkin mixture out of the refrigerator and mix it with 1 tsp. rum flavoring. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional) and gently fold the fluffy egg whites into the pumpkin mixture and pour into a baked pie shell. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream right before serving.
As for the pie crust, I’ve always used a traditional flaky crust, but most chiffon pie recipes rely on a graham cracker crust. If you’re using the pecans in the pie recipe, I would recommend stirring in a half cup of chopped pecans into the graham cracker crust like this recipe here.
I recommend using the pecans and the rum flavoring, unless you have nut allergies because the combination of the two really make this airy pie different from any I’ve ever tasted.
We hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have, friends. Leave a note on the comments and let us know how they worked for you. Even better, send us a picture!