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Pumpkin - too early?

It IS Fall after all.

I was reading another pumpkin thread and it turned on my seasonal craving. Any pumpkin food sightings yet?

This is how bad it is ... there was a mention that Beard Papa had pumpkin cream puffs ... yeah, I know ... but has anyone tried the pumpkin? Do they always make them?

Pumpkin tempura ... anyone make that?

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  1. Cant contribute just yet - but thanks for the posting (coming from a pumpkin freak).

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      There are some good pumpkin beers out! Can't wait for some pumpkin ice cream!

    2. Crixa has started making pumpkin pie again. Occasionally
      available, check the website: http://www.crixacakes.com/
      On Saturday they were sold out by 3pm.

      I'm going out on a limb here, but as far as I can tell this is
      the best pumpkin pie on earth.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

        I was just coming here to post about the Crixa pumpkin pie, I had a (big, deep dish size) slice today, and it was excellent. I couldn't tell if it was made with fresh pumpkin, and forgot to ask, does anyone know?

        1. re: JasmineG

          Don't know, if it is fresh pumpkin, but yes, it is one of the best, I tried Crixa's pumpkin bread (cake?) and it is so, so good ... very moist with the right amount of spice.

      2. RW - if you're at Fat Apple's any time in the next few months, try their pumpkin muffins. They're super moist and have big chunks of walnut... I'm kind of a health nut so I try to avoid baked goods, but these are really good.

        1. So far:
          YUMMY pumpkin brownies at Half Moon Bay Bakery
          Pumpkin tea cake at Tartine, SF
          Pumpkin Frappucino, Starbucks (yeah it's just artificial flavoring, but I'll take it)

          Next up:
          Pumpkin prix fixe menu, Cetrella (Half Moon Bay)

          4 Replies
          1. re: taro_cake

            'tis not too early, we're having pumpkin risotto at our rehearsal dinner this coming Friday!

            1. re: taro_cake

              You know ... it is taking extreme willpower to resist Noah's pumpkin coffee with a pumpkin bagel. I'll probably cave. I wonder if they have pumpkin smear too.

              Lola's made an excellent pumpkin pie last week, very smooth, perfectly spiced filling with a thin buttery crust. If I have Thanksgiving at home this year I'll probably get my pie from Lola's.

              1. re: rworange

                Oh, I'm heading to Noah's soon - thanks for the tip! It's not too early at all, I've already started looking for the Double Rainbow pumpkin ice cream and the Krispy Kreme pumpkin donut. (No luck yet!) Normally, I pass on Krispy Kremes but it's pumpkin.... I'm not sure if it's seasonal but Primavera also has their pumpkin tamales. Yum!

                1. re: soft tofu

                  Yeah ... Noah's pumpkin stuff ... not so much ...

                  Starbucks pumpkin latte was so blah it actually turned off my pumpkin cravings

            2. I was at Mitchell's last night and they have their pumpkin ice cream available.

              1. According to Sketch, what we know as pumpkin in pies, etc, is in fact Kabota squash. I don't care for Japanese, but pretty sure I have had Kabota tempura. Voila, pumpkin tempura!

                2 Replies
                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  Seasonal product sighting: pumpkin gnocchi at Rainbow Grocery where they sell Pasta Shop ravioli; I'm not sure if the gnocchi were also Pasta Shop (located on 4th street in Berkeley) or not, probably not. Pasta Shop usually does a pumpkin ravioli if I'm remembering correctly.

                  As for what's used as "pumpkin" in cooking, the Japanese squash is KaboCHa squash; squash and pumpkin are essentially the same thing and can cross pollinate. Local bakeries or restaurants are probably using sugar pumpkins, butternut squash, or kobocha squash depending on their recipes.

                  1. re: SteveG

                    I thought it was kabocha, not "or kobocha squash depending on their recipes" as in your last sentence.

                2. Sugar pumpkins are in the farmer's markets. Bought one this weekend and made pumpkin ravioli with a sage / brown butter sauce.

                  1. DiBrova is now selling its wondeful chicken and pumpkin sausage for sure at the Tuesday El Cerrito farmers market and the Friday Old Oakland Farmers Market

                    The vendor at the farmers market said that they are also selling it in some markets, maybe Andronicos. He said the major markets picked up on the pumpkin sausage last year and asked to be able to sell it this year. Prior to that it was only sold at the HMB pumpkin festival and local farmers markets. Great stuff.

                    Lulu Rae on College Avenue in Oakland was selling pumpkin truffles. Didn't try them though they looked pretty. Made by Moonstruck.

                    1. Hello fellow pumpkin lover!

                      I do not a spot that serves pumpkin tempura? Dam that does sound good though! I will let you know if I find one. If you eat seafood, Canto Do Brasil on Franklin and Oak serves the best pumkin seafood stew I have ever eaten! They only do it in October. It is served in a pumpkin! Yum! Yum! A little bonus if you go on a Fri or Saturday they have live Brazlian dancers! It is a great time! =)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Pumpkinfiend

                        Cool. Thanks. I've been wanting to try Canto Do Brasil. Thanks for the tip.

                      2. We just pulled a few bright orange pumpkins out of the garden, and they were in at the (San Mateo) farmer's market this weekend, so... they're here!

                        I love pumpkin tempura - never tried it with an orange "pie" pumpkin (used kabocha, which i didn't grow this year) but maybe I'll give it a shot.

                        1. I know it's truly that time of year when JoAnn's Cafe is SSF starts serving their homemade Pumkin Pancakes, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. YUM!

                          1. Lucca deli on Chestnut has pumpkin ravioli. Large size only. They are tasty.

                            Albona Ristorante Istriano
                            545 Francisco St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                            1. what about pumpkin cookies--the kind with frosting? I remember having them years ago at the Tassajara Bakery in Cole Valley and they were really good!

                              1. I am happy to report Maverick was featuring pumpkin pie on their menu this week. Of course, I ordered it and it was delicious. Creamy,spicy filling on a buttery crust which did not remind me of my standby Libby's pumpkin pie recipe. I wish I could duplicate it but will order it again for sure.

                                1. Sorry to report back that the pumpkin gnocchi I bought in the bulk section at Rainbow Grocery were gummy and unappetizing, and it wasn't because we cooked them wrong. I had a sense memory when I took my first bite and realized that I bought these once last year too and decided not to buy them again.

                                  Pumpkin ravioli however are something to keep your eye out for, because the ravioli format is much more forgiving of moist/sweet/starchy ingredients in the filling than the gnocchi format where the balance of starch to moisture is so precarious.

                                  1. Beard Papa pumpkin cream puffs are very tasty. They are one of the rotating flavors, and based on the display I saw when I went in there today, should be on offer in two weeks. Today they had the caramel, which are also very nice.

                                    Hopkins Street Bakery in North Berkeley has excellent pumpkin muffins, with or without chocolate chips. It isn't seasonal, they seem to have them year-round.

                                    1. Delica rf1 in the Ferry Building is going to have a weekend (10/6-7) special of kabocha croquettes. Bet they'll be good but, unfortunately, I won't be on that side of the bay until Monday.

                                      Same color, but not pumpkin: In fall Delica usually has a seasonal salad of fuyu and arugula in a tofu dressing that's really good. It wasn't there today, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will show up soon ...

                                      1. RW: Lola's on Solano had little pumpkin/creme fraiche tartlets yesterday for $2.50. They looked wonderful - and I know you are a big fan of Lola's. Lola told me she makes pumpkin stuff this time of year because of demand, but she doesn't like to bake with pumpkin - in tarts and pies it separates from the crust after a few hours and looks unappetizing.
                                        I got an apple cake (cloufouti) that was divine. Make with organic Sierra Beauty apples, she also had a struesel-topped pie, and small crisps with the same great apples..

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: lmarie

                                          Thanks. That was probably Donna. I think Lola is the daughter. I officially request a campaign to get Lola's to make caramel apples for Halloween. The year they made them they were the most amazing caramel apples I ever had.

                                          So I hope everyone who stops by will ask if they will be making caramel apples for Halloween this year. Maybe if they hear it enough from customers, they will make them.

                                          Looking at the old post linked above I forgot they also make great pumpkin cookies.

                                          1. re: rworange

                                            Actually, pretty certain Lola is or was the dog. The daughter is Zoe.

                                            1. re: absc

                                              That's right. I get confused because Catahoulee coffee sells a Lola's blend (no relation to Lola's on Solano) and I can never remember who named things after the dog ... though it might be both places.

                                        2. We just had some fried pumpkin during our dinner at SPQR on Sat. night. It was one of the things we ordered as part of their 5 antipasta for $28. Delicious.

                                          1. Had brunch at Ceterella yesterday and there were a lot of dishes featuring pumpkin. Especially lovely was the pumpkin soup with dungeness crabmeat and toasted pumpkin seeds. I was tempted to try the pizza with shaved Cinderella pumpkin and Harley Farms goat cheese but opted for poached eggs with Duck Confit Hash and smoked corn butter sauce instead.

                                            1. Teacakes it seems is making pumpkin cupcakes and cookies according to this blog.

                                              They also have pomegranite cupcakes it seems on Thursdays.

                                              According to the blogger (who posts on chowhound) the pumpkin cupcake is good, the cookie, not so much. Very nice pictures and teacake writeup.

                                              Thanks to another chowhound, hhc, for the tip. I've been meaning to give Teacake another try since I wasn't wowed on my first visit on their opening day a few years ago.

                                              1. Ooh, I like the idea of pumpkin cupcakes from Teacakes, I've had good luck with their cakes (and have found their cookies too sweet, so that seems to correspond with how the pumpkin treats are). Also, I called Ici last week to inquire about pumpkin ice cream, and they said on Thursday that they didn't yet have it, but that there were pumpkins currently in the kitchen waiting to be turned into ice cream, so they should have pumpkin ice cream shortly, or even now.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                  I made my first (and maybe my last) visit to Ici today and tried the pumpkin ice cream. The flavor is delicious, but the texture was both slightly gummy and gritty. For a seasonal flavor, I recommend the pear-quince sorbet.

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    It's funny, I was going to post on the Ici pumpkin ice cream too; I tried the pumpkin ice cream sandwiches with gingersnap cookies on Tuesday, and while Ioved the gingersnap part of it, the pumpkin didn't thrill me. I actually thought that the flavor wasn't particularly robust (and maybe that was because the gingersnap was so strongly flavored that the pumpkin didn't stand up to it) and tasted more of spices than actual pumpkin.

                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                      Hmmm...I had that sandwich and LOVED it. I did find it interesting that the spice is the first thing you taste, and the lovely creamy pumpkin is the lingering flavor.

                                                      1. re: Aaron

                                                        Well, I liked it a lot because of the gingersnap, but I didn't get much pumpkin flavor, just nice creaminess more than anything else. In comparing it to the meyer lemon and gingersnap ice cream sandwich, that one was much more successful, because the flavor of the ice cream stood out to me much more.

                                                      2. re: JasmineG

                                                        I think the problem was that the spices in the gingersnap and in the pumpkin ice cream were too similar. Thus, they reinforced each other and combined were out of balance with the other flavors.

                                                        Meyer lemon gingersnap sounds heavenly, though.

                                                  2. Oakland's Mariposa Bakery has one of the best pumpkin breads I've ever had. It is moist with plump raisins and lots of spice ... in a good way. And get this ... its gluten-free and much better than the flour versions I've had.

                                                    1. Just had an ethereal cone of kabocha pumpkin ice cream at Sketch. Pure pumpkin flavor without any interference from cans, additives, or sweeteners. Get it with the candied almonds on top.

                                                      Last year, I had a perfect slice of pumpkin pie at Eccolo. Made from fresh, farmers' market pumpkins - no cans in their kitchen. Their dessert menu changes, but they update it daily, so watch out for it.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                        You said cone -- does that mean that they have cones at Sketch now?

                                                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                            Excuse me, that should have read artificial sweeteners.

                                                          2. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                            I liked the Sketch ice cream texture but still ... the clear pumpkin ice cream winner ... better than Sketch, better than Bi-Rite ... is Mitchells. I'm not in love with much of Mitchel's ice cream but it remains the definitive version with deep pumpkin tasted and the right spice.

                                                            Speaking of Bi-Rite has anyone tried their seasonal sundae?

                                                            It is pumpkin ice cream, gingerbread, spiced pecans, caramel sauce and whipped cream. I really, really wanted it but was just too stuffed and settled for trying the pumpkin ice cream.

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              Had the version last year that was garnished with candied pepitas. Here's the post with the photo, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/33297...

                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                That looked great. It was the carmel sauce that made me hesitate ... besides being full.

                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                  I recall enjoying the first half more than the second half and not finishing it. Too filling.

                                                          3. Just had the fortune to try Mission PIe's pumpkin pie and it is one of the best versions I have ever had and one of the few versions that makes it correctly from fresh pumpkin. No heavy spice but a lovely light flavor and texture. The crust was just perfect ... so tender ... just perfect. Funny I drove around last week trying to find Mission Pie and didn't see it. Then there they were in Berkeley today at the Tuesday Farmers market (one day special only).

                                                            Great pumpkin pie ... highly recommend it. .

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              Bakesale Betty has pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie on sale. I didn't get to try them, but has anyone sampled these? And how does their pumpkin pie compare to Crixa's?

                                                              1. re: dreamsicle

                                                                Betty's pie is different. Very light and rich, almost mousse-like. I like it a lot, but it's not traditional.

                                                                1. re: lexdevil

                                                                  Hmmm, I haven't tried Betty's but I would describe Crixa's as "very light and rich, almost mousse-like." Guess I've got to make a run to Betty's tomorrow.

                                                                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                    Yeah ... had both. Crixa wins ... over everybody. Their pumpkin bread/cake is pretty perfect too.

                                                                    Mission Pie was quite excellent but in a different galaxy because it was fresh, but gee it was great.

                                                                    Next favorite was Lola's which was better and different than last year.

                                                                    Here's a few updates from this year ...

                                                                    Hopkins Street Bakery

                                                                    Mini pie $4.50
                                                                    Nothing wrong Good pie Nice smooth pumpkin filling probably from canned. Not any real spice. Good average crust. Wouldn’t turn it down but probably wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

                                                                    Sweet Adeline

                                                                    The filling has a lovely smooth buttery texture. Not much spice. Good buttery crust.

                                                                    Bakesale Betty’s

                                                                    The filling is smooth, a little sweeter than most. The flaky crust seems to have brown sugar.


                                                                    Wonderful pumpkin bread at Crixa. Moist with lots of pumpkin flavor and a little spice. Nice walnuts .. black walnuts?

                                                                    And speaking pumpkin ... the pumpkin milkshake at Ice Cream Mania in Pinole was great.

                                                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                      I guess I could have been clearer. I think Betty uses an amazing amount of whipping cream in her pie (also the secret to her scones), making it more creamy and less pumpkin-y than many. For some that's a good thing. Which is also not to say that it's not pumpkin-y.

                                                              2. I had pumpkin steak at Firefly last week that ROCKED!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: LAWoman

                                                                  Well, maybe not too early anymore since it's November, but I had Bay Bread's pumpkin macaron yesterday and enjoyed it (to my surprise!) The macaron is pinkish-orange in color with spices dotted all over the shells. I didn't exactly catch the flavor of pumpkin or the spices in the shells, but there was a nice nuttiness to them. They had a slight crisp followed by a bit of chewiness. The filling tasted exactly like pumpkin pie filling, with just the right amount of spices. This is a nice seasonal flavor though I don't know how long they will be on sale for ... hopefully till I get to eat a few more. Hee hee. :P

                                                                  Other pumpkin items that were on the menu include pumpkin and caramel cupcakes (though I've heard that Bay Bread's cupcakes are "meh") and pumpkin and creme fraiche tarts that serve 8 (which they are taking orders for Thanksgiving).