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Pumpkin. Humble and beautiful.

An friend made an off side comment to me during a serious conversation. He said nothing good had ever come from a pumpkin. I was deeply offended and challenged. I served pumpkin soup at my wedding many years ago and have wowed several dinner party guests with my pumpkin cheesecake. I am now on a quest to find a fabulous pumpkin recipe to make him eat his words. I wanna know how you elevate this humble food to the pinnacle of fall bounty where it belongs.

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  1. Pumpkin pie?

    Few things are as delightfully wonderful as a simple, basic and well-made pumpkin pie.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I love a very eggy custard made with pumpkin and coconut milk. The pumpkin and the coconut play beautifully together.

      1. re: magiesmom

        as always, magiesmom & i are in agreement...pumpkin custard with coconut milk is a winner.

        even better if you spice it up a bit with ginger & cardamom, and garnish with macadamia or sesame brittle.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Do you have a favorite recipe for pumpkin custard with coconut milk? Dare I hope it's dairy free??

          1. re: artemis

            yes, and yes...compliments of fellow Hound TerriL:

            my tweaks:
            - 1 large egg & 2 whites instead of 2 eggs
            - 1/2 c coconut sugar instead of 1/4 c each white & brown
            - arrowroot instead of cornstarch
            - freshly ground cardamom pods...and it's *1/4* tsp, not 14!
            - fresh vanilla bean instead of extract if i have it on hand
            - occasionally i steep whole cinnamon sticks in the coconut milk first, instead of using ground cinnamon
            - sometimes use lite coconut milk instead of full-fat

            for the record, if you already have a favorite recipe that calls for dairy, you can just substitute coconut milk (full-fat or lite) to make it dairy-free. works like a charm.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              omg. SO EXCITING! Thanks!!!

              I presume coconut sugar is something that can be found either at Whole Foods or an asian supermarket?

    2. Stuffed pumpkin is very popular at Casa Gio. I've made Caudia Roden's recipe from her book The New Book of Middle Eastern Food when the book was a COTM and several times after... here's the link to my report:

      Dorie Greenspan has a recipe for stuffed pumpkin called Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. It was a huge hit for many COTM cooks. Here's that recipe at Epicurious...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gio

        Yes, both of these ideas are great -- my guess is he's never had a savory pumpkin dish, and is not a fan of sweet pumpkin. If he likes other kinds of squash, I bet these stuffed pumpkin recipes will be a hit. I think simple roasted chunks of pumpkin, tossed with butter, sage, and olive oil, and maybe used to top a salad would also be a good way to convert someone who has only experienced custardy sweet pumpkin.

      2. I just had a 'vision' of pumpkin cornbread. For dessert perhaps? Or as an accompaniment to a tangy soup? I'll have to research this.

        4 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            I tried that link and my work filter blocked it as porn!

            1. re: gembellina

              Works fine for me (and it's just a recipe, nothing illicit).

              1. re: gembellina

                I am guessing that the 'girl' in the url triggered the filter. Why don't you copy and paste the link in email, and send it to yourself?

          2. How about pumpkin or acorn squash risotto? Roasted chunks of squash, lots of cheese, yummy.

            1. pumpkin carrot curry soup with a nice loaf of homemade bread.

              1. Eat a tastier pumpkin! Kabocha!

                I don't know that kabocha no nimono is exactly elevated, but it is the tastiest way I enjoy pumpkin and can't stop eating it. Sweet and savory, excellent hot or cold, and tastes particularly good with beef.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mlou72

                  Thanks Chowsers!!!! Cornbread, stuffed, risotto. I 'm on it. Cannot wait to see his reaction. Pumpkins rule!!!!

                2. I still dream of a soup I at ein Aix-en-Provence one autumn. It took me about 15 minutes to remember what the word poitron meant, which got me about halfway through the bowl of soup. It was a savory pumpkin soup, none of the"sweet" spices, I have intermittently searched for such a recipe ever since. I do agree that it needs to be another pumpkin than the jack o'lantern. The French used what we'd call a Cinderella pumpkin, short and wide, many times, from what I found out at the time.

                  And one Paris restaurant chain decorated their store entrances with a pile of pumpkins and a few corn stalks with silver paint sprayed over the tops of the pumpkins and here and there on the corn. Very elegant looking; perhaps it was to mimic frost, but it looked swell whether or not you thought of frost.

                  1. I do a pumpkin sauce for grilled or broiled or pan-sauteed fish (something sturdy) - caramelize some onions (reserve a few for finishing/plating) add in some diced roasted red peppers, chopped sundried tomatoes, S & P, pureed roasted pumpkin, and stir together. then puree along with some evaporated milk to thin. return to pan and stir in some fresh sage, cooking long enough just to wilt. i plate fish on bottom, then a dollop of caramelized onions, then pumpkin sauce and sage to garnish. (rosemary works nicely too)

                    also fun and a tweak on the norm -- pumpkin latkes; i grate and lightly steam some pumpkin; roast and mash some; also roast some garlic... combine mashed pumpkin, mashed roasted garlic, grated pumpkin, S & P, and egg. form patties and fry... yummy served with an herbed brown butter sauce.

                    1. This is simple but really delicious. I can't think of anyone I've ever served it to who didn't like it.

                      Bowtie Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce
                      Serving Size: 8

                      • 6 shallots , peeled and chopped
                      • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
                      • 2 tablespoon butter
                      • 1/2 cup chicken stock
                      • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
                      • 1 cup half-and-half
                      • 1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
                      • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
                      • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
                      • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
                      • fresh basil, for garnish
                      • pine nuts, toasted, for garnish
                      • 1 1/2 pound bowtie pasta

                      1. In a large saucepan, cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until soft. Add the stock and simmer. Stir in the pumpkin, cream, and grated Parmesan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the nutmeg, mustard, pepper, and salt. Continue to cook over low heat for about 25 minutes.

                      2. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Drain.

                      3. Toast pine nuts. Set aside.

                      4. Toss pasta with sauce and garnish with pine nuts and a chiffonade of basil to serve.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rainey

                        I am going to make this tomorrow night for the kids before presenting to the pumpkin hater.

                        1. re: rainey

                          Oh does that sound delicious! I wonder if it would work well with orichette instead of farfalle? And come to think of it, years ago I had a pumpkin ravioli that was divine, though I can't even remember much about it other than that -- perhaps there was a little duck involved.

                        2. We are lovin' pumpkin muffins this time of year.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: lilgi

                            Adding pumpkin pound cake, and pumpkin ice cream to this party.

                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                              I like the idea of pumpkin ice cream. If I have a chance I'll make it this week:


                              1. re: lilgi

                                I made the ice cream last week with a couple of tablespoons of dark rum and 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (instead of 1 teaspoon of fresh). The flavor was perfect, only I prefer my ice cream a little richer, next time I may add and extra yolk, up the sugar and switch the quantities of milk and cream since this recipe calls for more milk than cream. Not sure how it will affect the flavor overall but I'll give it a go.

                                1. re: lilgi

                                  Very nice.
                                  I have a craving for pumpkin pound cake with some of that ice cream.

                          2. Sweet: Pumpkin bread, spiced pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cookies with maple icing, pumpkin muffins and (my favorite) my pumpkin gingerbread, which is not all that pumpkiny-tasting, but still the best thing I have ever baked, and let me tell you, the cheesecake used to have that honor because well, it's CHEESECAKE. Duh..

                            Savory: Pumpkin risotto, beef stew with pumpkin cooked in a pumpkin shell, pumpkin soup, Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and crispy sage leaves.

                                1. re: kerosundae

                                  Pumpkin seeds in couscous--would be yum too.

                                2. If you love pumpkin as much as I, you must treat yourself to this over the top tart pronto!

                                  so good, I need to bake it again tomorrow and share it with my pumpkin-loving friends.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    that entire menu was terrific. i really like Melissa Clark.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Right now, this is my fav pumpkin dish. I've made it three x's.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        something about the recipe was tugging at my memory so i sifted through some old bookmarks and i dug up this Amanda Hesser recipe from '06: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/04/din...

                                        the instructions for preparing the pumpkin and the crust are *exactly* the same - might set off my ethics alarm if they didn't work for the same publication.

                                        i need to try the filling from the newer (Clark) recipe in a GF tart crust. i'm thinking open-faced, and i might even get really crazy and take it over the top with a little pancetta or Asiago...

                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        GHG, do you have any suggestions on how to make that tart GF? I'm wondering if I could just make it like a casserole and perhaps have some almond flour based pastry cut out on the top for a little festivity. I don't like pastry bottom crusts enough to bother, but there's something about the crunch on top...

                                        Thanks for posting that, HillJ! It looks right up my alley. Drool.

                                        1. re: Vetter

                                          I recently made a zucchini crumble, Nigel Slater recipe, and something like the topping for that could totally work in a GF context, and baked up both crunchy and totally delicious. It was fresh breadcrumbs, walnuts, fresh herbs, and crumbly cheese (i.e., an aged cheddar) pulsed in the food processor, spread on top of the filling. With a GF sub for the breadcrumbs (maybe a crushed crunchy cereal like puffed rice?), I can see it working well with the squash filling.

                                          1. re: Vetter

                                            Vetter, my pleasure it's rich and rustic; really lovely.

                                            ghg, probably influenced by other recipe files and you're absolutely right; hardly a new concept.

                                        2. re: HillJ

                                          That sounds delicious, but is it really necessary to grate the pumpkin? Would small cubes work instead? It sounds so fussy to cut open and scoop out and then have to grate the pumpkin.

                                          1. re: Pia

                                            Pia, grating versus cubes is a texture thing. Also, pre crust filling the pumpkin is not cooked. You are mixing it with the other filling ingredients and only the peppers & onions are roasted ahead. Grating better ensures an even cook and once a part of the filling a texture I def. preferred. If you're going to cube, I'd roast the pumpkin ahead with the peppers and onions to ensure your pumpkin is not under cooked.

                                        3. Cool challenge. How about a savory pumpkin soup? Sauteed garlic, roasted pumpkin, stock, and a little cream cheese (or sour cream or yogurt or creme fraiche). I'd serve it pureed, but you could also leave some chunks. I bet a stuffed pumpkin would be good. Get a small one with a hard shell, clean it like a jack-o-lantern, bake it, and scoop out most of the flesh, mix with delicious things and bake with cheese on top. I bet pumpkin tempura would be good, and kaddo bowrani is hard not to like. It would be fun to serve pumpkin seeds in whatever you make. In my opinion, the crucial thing is to turn the oven off and let them dry out overnight. This combats the chewy/fibrous thing that many people find objectionable.

                                          1. http://halloween.betterrecipes.com/pu...
                                            My neighbor brought over these treats. Sweet but not half bad.