In honor of Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin, I’ve gathered some dazzling recipes that express the poetry of one of my favorite fall ingredients.
SPICY PUMPKIN BISQUE
1-1/2 teaspoons dried ground small red chiles such as Piquins 1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine 1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree
4 cups chicken or veggie stock 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/4 cup dry sherry Grated nutmeg
- Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until they are soft and transparent.
- Add the pumpkin, stock, chile pepper, ground pepper, allspice, sugar, and sherry. Bring to a boil and cover.
- Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.
- Place the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Return the soup to the pot, add the half-and-half, and simmer until heated. Garnish with the nutmeg and serve.
PUMPKIN & BOURBON BEIGNETS with VANILLA BEAN SUGAR
(makes about 30 beignets)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin 2 tablespoons Bourbon 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons light brown sugar Pinch salt 6 tablespoons water 1 stick butter 1 cup flour
3 eggs Vegetable oil for frying(enough for two inches in the pan)
- Combine the pumpkin, Bourbon, spices, brown sugar, salt, water, and butter in a medium saucepot.
- Cover, and sit over medium high heat until the butter is just melted and the mixture is bubbling.
Take the pan off the heat, & add flour.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir rapidly until all the flour is absorbed. Place the pan back on the heat over medium-low heat for 30-45 seconds, until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove hot dough & put in a large bowl.
- Stir the dough around to cool it off, and then add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- The choux pastry should be smooth, thick, and sticky.
- Heat a deep pan half full of vegetable oil until it registers between 310 and 325 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Drop in teaspoon-sized amounts of dough in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. The dough will puff up as it cooks.
- Fry the beignets for 6 to 9 minutes.
- Remove with a spider or slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Toss with the vanilla sugar (recipe follows).
VANILLA BEAN SUGAR
1/2 c sugar 1 used vanilla pod
- Use your fingers, and get some of the sugar into the crack in the split vanilla bean; then scrub with the sugar as though you were scouring a pan with salt.
- If you don’t have a used pod, add a 1/2 ts of vanilla to the sugar, being careful not to wet it too much. You may add a drop at a time for more. If you use this method, stir sugar with a fork, making sure to break up the lumps and combine all vanilla.
3/4 c flour 1/2 ts baking powder 1/2 ts salt
3/4 c butter, melted 1 1/2 c sugar 2 ts vanilla 3 eggs 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 c 60% cacao chocolate chips 1/2 c pumpkin puree 1/2 c chopped walnuts 3/4 ts ground cinnamon
1/2 ts ground cloves 1/2 ts ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
- Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
- In another bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract; beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoon.
- Gradually add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it’s evenly moistened.
- Divide the batter in half in two separate bowls
- Into one bowl of batter, blend the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
- In the second bowl of batter, stir in the pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Spread 1/2 of the chocolate batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, and follow with 1/2 of the pumpkin batter.
- Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer, and drag a kitchen knife or small spatula gently through the layers in a swirling motion, to create a marbled appearance.
- Bake until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Cool in the pan, cut into squares, and serve.
1 c pumpkin puree 1 1/2 Tab olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, sliced 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup red wine 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce 1/4 c chopped fresh basil
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley 1/2 ts dried oregano Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 16-ounce box lasagna noodles 1 large egg 2 1/2 c ricotta cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese 1/2 c shredded romano 1 large zucchini, very thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin puree in a fine sieve over a bowl; set aside to drain while you make the sauce.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 more minutes.
- Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
- Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato sauce and herbs and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Season with salt and pepper, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook as the label directs.
- Drain and toss with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Mix the strained pumpkin puree with the egg in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella and the romano.
- Build your lasagna in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish: Start with a layer of sauce, then top with a layer of noodles.
- Evenly spread half of the pumpkin filling, then half of the zucchini, over the noodles.
- Top with half of the cheese mixture and cover with some of the sauce.
- Repeat the layers, finishing with noodles and sauce; sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
- Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Let cool 15 minutes before slicing.