Not Your Mama's Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

It's October and pumpkins are everywhere, so why don't we eat more of it? Food writers Lolis Eric Elie and Michael Krondl say it's because Americans just don't know what they're missing. Lolis is a Takeaway contributor and author of "Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country," and he offers up his "Great Aunt Stella's Pumpkin Dessert." Michael Krondl, author of "The Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook," teaches us a thing or two about eating this fall staple fresh from the farm.

Click through for their pumpkin recipes.

Lolis Eric Elie's Pumpkin Recipe: "Aunt Stella's Pumpkin"

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh pumpkin, cooked and mashed
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (if butter is unsalted)
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple or lemon extract
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 stick butter, melted

Directions:
Mash the pumpkin. Mix in flour, sugar, one stick of melted butter,
salt (if using unsalted butter), extract and evaporated milk. Beat
eggs and stir them into the pumpkin mixture. Mix well by hand.
 
Melt the one-fourth stick butter in the bottom of a 9-by-9-inch Pyrex
dish. Put the pumpkin into dish and bake for about 1 1/2 hours at 400
degrees, or until the top and sides are brown. (You can also tell the
pumpkin is done when it begins to leave the side of the baking dish.)
Serve as a side dish or bake the pumpkin mixture in a pie shell and

To prepare the pumpkin:
Take one small to medium-sized pumpkin, either a cushaw pumpkin (green and
yellow striped) or a regular, jack-o'-lantern style pumpkin. Wash the
outside of pumpkin thoroughly. Cut the pumpkin into two or three large
pieces. Scrape the seeds and stringy membranes from the pumpkin cavity. Cut
the pumpkin into several smaller pieces and put it into a large pot. Fill
the pot about one-third with water. Cover the pot, and steam the pumpkin
over a high fire for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until the pumpkin meat is
soft. Drain the pumpkin in a large colander.*

Let it cool thoroughly. Scrape the pumpkin meat from the shells into a
colander. Press out the excess water. Discard the pumpkin shells and place
the meat in a very large bowl. It should yield about three cups.*


Michael Krondl's Pumpkin Recipes:

From his book, "The Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook"

"Potiron rôti: Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Bread and Gruyère Cheese"

Ingredients:

    • If you can only find big pumpkins, increase the filling and cooking time proportionately.
    • 1 cooking pumpkin of about 5 pounds
    • 1/2 pound loaf of French or Italian country-style bread
    • 1 cup crème fraîche
    • 8 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • Salt and black pepper

      Directions:

      Rinse the outside of the pumpkin and wipe dry.  Using a sharp knife, and cutting at a slight angle so that the tip of the knife is angled downwards into the vegetable, cut off the top 1/4 of the pumpkin to form a lid.  Using a large spoon scrape out the seeds.


      Cut the bread into thin slices and toast until golden brown.  Set aside.
      Preheat oven to 425°F.
      Line the pumpkin cavity with one layer of the bread, spread with 4 tablespoons of the crème fraîche, 1/4 of the cheese and a generous sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Continue layering (4 layers in all) finishing with the Gruyère.  Set the top back on the pumpkin.
      Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the entire pumpkin. Brush the pumpkin lightly with the oil.  Wrap the pumpkin with the foil and place on a baking pan.  Set in the oven and bake about 1 hour 40 minutes.  The pumpkin will be done when the outside skin has softened and a very sharp knife can easily pierce through to the interior flesh.
      Remove from the oven, take off the foil and place the pumpkin on a serving platter.  Carefully remove the lid and using a large spoon stir the interior mixture making sure to incorporate the pumpkin into the other ingredients.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve hot.
      Serves 4 to 6

       

      "Pumpkin Cheesecake with Amaretto Sour Cream Topping"

      For the crust:

      • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed amaretti
      •  1/2 cup finely chopped toasted blanched almonds
      •   3 tablespoons granulated sugar
      •   1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

      For the filling:

      •   three 8-ounces packages cream cheese, softened
      •   1/2 cup granulated sugar
      •   1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
      •   1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
      •   3 large eggs
      •   1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
      •   1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
      •   1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
      •   1/2 teaspoon salt
      •   1 tablespoon cornstarch
      •   1 teaspoon vanilla
      •   2 tablespoons amaretto

      For the topping:

      •   2 cups sour cream
      •   2 tablespoons granulated sugar
      •   2 tablespoons amaretto
      •   16 toasted almonds  for garnish

      Directions:
      Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spray a 9-inch springform cake pan with vegetable spray.  Wrap the outside with aluminum foil.
      Make the crust:  In a bowl combine the cracker crumbs, the almonds, and sugar, stir in the butter, and press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Set in the oven and bake until the crust just begins to color, about 10 minutes.
      Make the filling:  In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and the granulated sugar and brown sugar, beat in the pumpkin, eggs, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, vanilla and amaretto.  Beat the filling until it is smooth.
      Pour the filling into the crust, bake the cheesecake in the middle of the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is just set.  Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.
      Make the topping:  In a bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, and the amaretto .  Spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake and bake the cheesecake for 5 minutes more. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack and chill it, covered, overnight. Remove the side of the pan and garnish the top of the cheesecake with the whole almonds.
      serves 8 - 10.
       
      "Old English Apple Pumpkin Pie"

      • 2 recipes single crust pie pastry
      • 1 1/2 pounds cooking pumpkin or butternut squash
      • 1 pound firm cooking apples such as Northern Spy, Baldwin or golden delicious
      • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
      • 3 tablespoons flour
      • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • Large pinch nutmeg
      • Large pinch cloves
      • 1 egg, lightly beaten

      Directions:
      Roll out half of the pastry for a bottom crust and place in a 9-inch pie pan.  Refrigerate.
      Preheat oven to 425°F.
      Scoop out the pumpkin seeds, cut into 1-inch strips, cut away the peel and slice the strips into 1/8-inch thick pieces (you should have 4 cups).  Peel, quarter and core the apples.  Cut into 1/4-inch slices.  In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the apples, vinegar, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Arrange in the pastry-lined pie pan.
      Brush the edge of the dough with the beaten egg.  Roll out the remaining dough and place on top of the filling.  Crimp the edges.  Cut vent holes in the top crust and brush the top with the egg.
      Set on the bottom shelf of the oven.  Bake 20 minutes.  Lower temperature to 350°F.  Continue baking until golden brown and the pumpkin offers no resistance to a knife or skewer, about 1 more hour.  Cool at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.
      Serves 6-8   
       
      "Double Crust Pie Pastry"

      Ingredients:

      •  2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
      •  1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
      •  1/2 teaspoon salt
      •  8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
      •  6 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
      •  about 1/3 cup ice water

      Directions:
      Sift together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and shortening.  Using your hands or a pastry cutter, break up the two fats in the flour until the mixture is about as fine as rolled oats.
      Add just enough water to moisten the flour.  Toss to form a rather dry dough.  Do not overmix.  Gather the dough together and wrap in plastic film.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
      Note:  the dough may be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for several months.
       
      (Makes enough dough for one double crust or two single crust pies.)

      Guests:

      Lolis Eric Elie and Michael Krondl

      Contributors:

      Jen Poyant

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