Eat DrinkFeaturesRecipeThe Season

Pumpkin Power

By October 30, 2019 No Comments

Photos by Aaron Dougherty
Styling by Meda Kessler

Just because they are prolific doesn’t mean they have to be predictable. Pumpkins deserve a starring role beyond pies and baked goods, although we won’t ever say no to pumpkin-chocolate chip bread. Our repertoire includes a soup rich with coconut milk and spiked with paprika, fritters fresh out of the pan and perfect as a snack with a cold beer, a creamy mousse sprinkled with crushed ginger snaps, and pumpkin pancakes perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner. — Meda Kessler

Pumpkin Puree

You can buy puree at the grocer, but it’s easy to make your own and the flavor is much richer. Purchase cooking pumpkins; look for the “sugar” variety, which is typically about the size of a cantaloupe. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds and stringy stuff. Place skin-side down on pan and roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until skin is easily pierced with a fork. Cool, scoop out skins and puree in a blender or food processor with a hand masher. Make ahead of time and refrigerate.

The flavor is subtle in these flapjacks but still showcases the pumpkin for a festive holiday breakfast.

Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup milk (we used skim)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade; recipe on this page)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the butter, milk and buttermilk until butter melts. Set aside until lukewarm. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Slowly pour ½ cup of the warm dairy mixture into the eggs while stirring. Stir in the remaining milk mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, a little at a time, stirring slowly, just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Stir in vanilla, pumpkin puree and ricotta. Blend well. Add cinnamon and pinch of salt and mix well.

Heat griddle or large frying pan over medium heat. Coat with light layer of nonstick spray or melted butter.

Drop batter using small measuring cup. Watch pancakes carefully and, as they start to bubble, turn with a spatula. Cook until the second side is golden.

Serve with maple syrup, yogurt, whipped cream or your preferred topping.

This creamy dessert is a nice crustless alternative to pumpkin pie. Serve in halved mini pumpkins for a festive touch.

Pumpkin Mousse

Serves 8 to 10

  • 1¾ cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • Crushed ginger cookies

In medium saucepan, combine pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon and add a pinch of salt. Cook on medium, stirring frequently until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to bowl, then stir in condensed milk. Let cool completely.

Beat heavy cream in a large chilled bowl until medium peaks form. Fold it into pumpkin mixture, then spoon into small ramekins, glass jars or pumpkin halves. Grate a bit of nutmeg on top and add cookie crumbles to each container. Chill until serving time.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8

  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or about 1 lemon, juiced
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Pepitas
  • Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

Cut a cooking pumpkin into wedges and peel off skin with a sharp paring knife. Run chunks of pumpkin over a grater and blot grated pieces with towel to absorb excess moisture.

Heat about a quarter cup of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Mix the pumpkin, flour, beaten egg, milk, cheese, baking powder, salt and pepper in a big bowl. Stir to combine well. The mixture should barely bind together and should not be watery.

Scoop up spoonfuls of pumpkin mixture and drop them gently into the frying pan, pressing them to flatten into discs. Fry in batches until both sides turn golden brown. Remove with a spatula and transfer fritters to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot with Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping.

These make a nice seasonal snack and should be served hot.

Pumpkin Fritters

Serves 2

  • Oil for frying
  • 1¼ cups shredded raw pumpkin
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Thai sweet chili sauce

Cook bacon in a large pot until crisp. Remove and allow to drain on a paper towel.

Empty most of the bacon grease from the pot, turn heat to medium and add remaining ingredients except lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to blend, and cook for 15 minutes.

Whisk in lemon juice and season to taste.

Top soup with crumbled bacon, pepitas and sage leaves.