Pumpkin Goodness

Pumpkin is a very versatile fruit and is delicious in many forms.  Quite a few years ago before I got heavily involved with my own gourmet business I used to roast a few Pie Pumpkins also known as Sugar Pumpkins each fall.  I would roast the pumpkin at 400° F for 45-60 minutes or until the pie pumpkin is fork tender from the outside.  After the pumpkin is slightly cooled, I would pull out the flesh and puree it in a food processor.  

Pie Pumpkins or any pumpkin can be made into many delightful items although pie pumpkins generally work better for this project as they are sweeter.  If you can't find Pie or Sugar Pumpkins in your region in the fall, canned pumpkin works well as well.  In my region of South Eastern Minnesota, pie / sugar pumpkins can be purchased at Farmer John's Pumpkin Patch - you can find out more information here: http://www.farmerjohnspumpkinpatch.com/  

This past week I purchased a Pie Pumpkin, I roasted it on Sunday and it became a Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins & Roasted Pumpkin Seeds this weekend.  As a registered cottage food producer in Minnesota I am unable to sell Pumpkin Pies but am still able to make them for my family.  The high water content of pumpkin makes it a potentially hazardous food which is why it is not an allowed cottage food in Minnesota.  

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to  400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.   I like these pans from Nordic Ware.  
Step 2:
  • Wash the outside of your pumpkin to remove any dirt or leftover field debris.  
  • Option 1) Remove the stem and seeds from the top down and roast the pumpkin on a prepared baking sheet stem side down or Option 2) Remove the stem and seeds, slice pumpkin in half and roast open cavity side down on a prepared baking sheet.
  • Once seeds are removed from inside the pumpkin, place into a bowl of water.
  • Roast the prepared Pie/Sugar Pumpkin for 45-60 minutes at  400° F.

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Step 3:
Once the pumpkin has cooled slightly, remove the cooked pumpkin using a spoon and place into a food processor.  
Process the cooked pumpkin till it comes together easily.  If you don't have a food processor you could mash it with a potato masher.
Place the pureed pumpkin over a fine mesh strainer and a bowl to help drain the excess liquid from the pumpkin.  Lightly push on the pumpkin with a measuring cup to help drain out some of the extra liquid from the cooked pumpkin.  Do not throw away this liquid as I found another use for it.  
1st recipe that I made using the pureed cooked Pumpkin is Pumpkin Pie.  This recipe works if you are using fresh made pumpkin or canned pumpkin. 

Making pie crust is not one of my favorite things to do, so in this situation, I just buy pre-made crust.  I prefer round glass pie pans as they bake the pie evenly.  



Pumpkin Pie
1 unbaked pie crust
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3 lg. eggs
15 ounces of fresh pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions:
  1. Take out pastry crust so it comes to room temperature and roll crust out on counter then place it into a round glass pie plate. Crimp edges of pastry crust. 
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place pie plate on top of parchment lined baking sheet and prepare pie mixture.
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt & cloves.  Mix with whisk.
  4. Crack eggs into a mixing cup and beat slightly; add to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.  
  5. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into prepared pie crust.  Bake at 450° F for 18 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350° F for 37-42 minutes.  Check to see if pie is done using a knife or toothpick.  If it comes out clean, the pie is done.  
  6. Remove pie to cool and serve with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  

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2nd Recipe is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  The muffins were inhaled practically by my kids and don't last long in my home.  I think the Muffin Man lives here.   These muffins are the perfect balance of Chocolate Chips to Muffin. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 15-17 standard sized muffins)

2 lg. eggs
9 ounces fresh baked pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin (solid packed pumpkin puree)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp evaporated milk (leftover from pumpkin pie or 1-2% milk)
1 tbsp of leftover pumpkin water from drained pumpkin *optional
1 cup of milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 385° F.  Place paper liners in a regular sized muffin pan.
  2. In a medium sized bowl; beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until smooth with a whisk.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices & salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips, evaporated milk (or regular milk), and pumpkin liquid, combine with a spatula.  *Do not over mix.
  5. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Place a few chocolate chips on top of each muffin for eye-catching appeal.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Cool muffins in pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove to wire rack or aluminum baking sheet.

Muffins of any kind make a great breakfast for your kids and family or a great after school snack.  Most muffin recipes can take the addition of ground flaxseed easily, making them a bit healthier for your family.  I didn't get the best picture of the muffins - but nonetheless they were absolutely divine.  

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Muffin pans by Farberware are my favorite as they bake cupcakes and muffins perfectly.  I have 12 of them and they are my go to pan for baking.  You can get them here: 


The final recipe I am going to share with you is easily changed out to any flavors you like, from sweet to savory, pumpkin seeds are very versatile.  

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

3/4 to 1 cup of reserved Pumpkin Liquid (from cooked & strained pumpkin)
Pumpkin Seeds (washed and dried)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (maybe a bit more, didn't measure)
1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil

Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Take reserved pumpkin liquid and place in a 2 quart stockpot.  Start by cooking liquid on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until it starts to reduce by half.  
  3. Once liquid is reduced by half, add 1 tbsp of white sugar and 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon.  Cook liquid for another 2-5 minutes or until it has reduced almost to 1/4 of what you started with.
  4. Place dried off pumpkin seeds in a mixing bowl, add melted coconut oil & cinnamon sugar liquid mixture.  Mix with gloved hands.  
  5. Spread the pumpkin seeds evenly over the prepared baking sheet.  Roast the pumpkin seeds in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, maybe longer until the liquid has absorbed into them and they are crunchy.
  6. Let roasted pumpkin seeds cool on baking sheet, then enjoy as a perfectly crunchy snack.  
These definitely didn't get a picture taken of them as they didn't last long in my house between my husband and I.  This recipe works well with melted butter and garlic salt too.  

I hope you enjoyed reading about the many uses for a baked Pie / Sugar Pumpkin.  

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