Pumpkin lovers can rejoice because fall has arrived and that’s when we see pumpkins everywhere and pumpkin flavors and pumpkin pie spice are readily available.
Pumpkins are native to the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico. So our country can take credit for this popular fruit/vegetable that is now grown all over the world.
Pumpkin is a very nutritious food and is particularly rich in vitamin A which has many health benefits. It can be cooked in a variety of dishes, including the savory and sweet dishes we know so well.
When baking with pumpkin, it’s important to remember that when the recipe calls for “canned” pumpkin, be sure not to select “pumpkin pie filling” which contains sugar and spices. added. Additionally, pumpkin puree can be used as a substitute for some of the oil in a recipe, much like applesauce is substituted to reduce some of the fat.
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There are many varieties of pumpkins grown, from small pie (sugar) pumpkins to very large ones grown for competition. The largest grown pumpkin in North American history has won this year’s competition held annually in California. It was grown in Minnesota and weighed 2,560 pounds.
**If you don’t have the pumpkin pie spice called for in a recipe, you can make your own using whatever spices you have on hand. For every 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice called for, combine the following: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Baked Ziti with Sausage and Pumpkin Tomato Sauce
You can enjoy savory pumpkin dishes, and this one mixes pumpkin with tomatoes, onions, and sausage to make a special fall dish.
8 ounces dried ziti or rigatoni pasta
1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
¼ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until cooked through, stirring to break up sausage as it cooks. Remove from skillet. Add oil to the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add wine. Cook 2 minutes or until evaporated. Stir in cream; simmer 1 minute longer. Stir in pumpkin, tomatoes, broth, parsley, salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to boil; lower the temperature. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pasta sauce to the pot. Stir in sausage and ¼ cup Parmesan. Season to taste with additional salt and crushed red pepper. Transfer to a 2-quart rectangular dish. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes, until heated through and lightly browned on top. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. Source: “Best fall recipes for homes and gardens”, 10/2020.
Pumpkin Streusel Coffeecake
If you have a special coffee hour or brunch planned, this is the perfect coffee to serve. Pumpkin spice lattes or hot apple cider can go with it.
Streusel: ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
Coffee cake: 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of yeast
¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. For the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; mix well. Cut in ¼ cup butter with a pastry blender or blend with fingers until coarse crumbs form. Stir in nuts. Refrigerate until use. For coffee cake, combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed after each addition. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until blended. (Batter will be very thick.) Spread half the batter into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with half the streusel. Spread remaining batter over streusel. Sprinkle the remaining streusel over the batter. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in a baking dish on a wire rack. Source: “Pillsbury Cookbook – Pumpkin”, 2015.
Orange Pumpkin Poppy Seed Cake
Poppyseed Bundt Cake is one of my favorites, but this one comes out on top with the addition of pumpkin and orange juice. Using cake mix simplifies the process of making the cake.
1 package (18 ¼ oz) yellow cake mix
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 12 cup Bundt pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove cake from pan. Finish cooling on rack. When cooled, drizzle/frost the top with the following orange glaze: Combine 1½ cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 tbsp orange juice in a small bowl until smooth. If desired, replace frosting with cream cheese frosting. Source: “Pumpkin Eaters”, by Christine Spicer Greene.
No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Layered Dessert
Instead of pumpkin pie, make this easy no-bake dessert. The caramel drizzled on top finishes it off.
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 pkg. (3.4 oz each) Jello-O Vanilla Instant Pudding, divided (can be used fat-free and sugar-free).
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 jar (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed, divided
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon cold milk, divided
Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter; press into bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Whisk pumpkin, 1 pkg. pudding mix and spices in large bowl until blended. Stir in 2 cups whipped topping; spread over crust. Beat remaining pudding mix and 1½ cups milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 minutes; spread over pudding in pan. Cover with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 4 hours. Heat caramels and remaining milk in microwaveable bowl on High 30 seconds; stir until the caramels are completely melted and the mixture is homogeneous. Drizzle the dessert just before serving. Source: “Kraft Food & Family 50 Hearty Ideas for Fall,” Fall 2014.
Bernie Mason writes the Local Flavor column for Lee Montana Newspapers. She served as a Yellowstone County Extension Officer for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.