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Pumpkin season

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

In the middle of the extra-wide seasonal feature aisle at my local grocery store stood three pallets shrink-wrapped tightly. Each pallet contained boxes of everything fall. I circled my cart a few times around the store waiting for the young man with the "how can I help you" nametag to tear off that shrink-wrap and open the boxes of new goods ready to usher in the new season.

About the fourth time I walked by he asked if there was something specific I was looking for. I heartily replied with a "yes," and he patiently waited for me to elaborate. I waved my hands about all the boxes and smiled.

I filled my cart with fresh basics for the season of fall cooking. New containers of spices and cans of pumpkin puree are ready for recipe testing. And of course, I picked up a package of candy corn to mix with a container of cocktail peanuts.

I'm still holding on to the last few weeks of summer and outdoor cooking but these recipes are ready to go as we roll into fall.


Pumpkin Apple Butter

This pumpkin apple butter is best served on wheat crackers or toasted English muffins. Make an extra batch and share it with a friend!

Ingredients:

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir all ingredients together until blended.

2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

3. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes. Lift lid and stir every 15 minutes. Mixture will be thick and creamy.

4. Cool to room temperature. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


Pumpkin Gingersnap Icebox Cake

Source: Samantha at Five Heart Home

This recipe is just perfect for a dessert on a weekday night!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, divided
1 (8-oz.) box cream cheese, room temperature
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
24 regular-size gingersnaps

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Gradually mix in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. Scrape whipped cream into a separate bowl and set aside.

2. In the same bowl used to whip the cream, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly blend in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Blend in pumpkin, spices and vanilla and beat until well combined. Gently fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture and set aside.

3. Dollop a bit of the pumpkin mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread into a thin layer. Cover with a layer of gingersnaps. Spoon about 1/3 of the remaining pumpkin mixture over the gingersnaps and spread into an even layer. Repeat gingersnap layer and pumpkin layer two more times. Sprinkle with a few crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.


Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Served warm with maple syrup and a bowl of fresh fruit on a cool morning is how we enjoy this dish! It's a tasty breakfast option for a weekend morning.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. pecans, chopped
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Spread chopped pecans on an ungreased baking sheet and toast for 4 to 6 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Cool on baking sheet.

3. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, milk, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla; beat until smooth. Blend in oats, toasted pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt; stir until mixture is well-combined.

4. Spread oatmeal into prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until set and light golden brown on top. Allow to cool in the baking dish for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Apron Strings Tip: It is important to bring your milk and eggs to room temperature to avoid the coconut oil solidifying. Put the eggs in a bowl of warm water before cracking and microwave the milk for about 15 seconds to speed up this process.


Pumpkin Custard Cake

I found this gem in my mom's recipe box a few weeks ago. This is one of my favorite dessert dishes from childhood. Cake will be slightly jiggly when it comes out of the oven.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 c. milk
4 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Melt butter on stovetop or in microwave and set aside to cool.

3. Warm the milk until lukewarm and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Wash beaters before proceeding to next step.

5. In another large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks and the powdered sugar until light. Then beat in the melted butter, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. Stir in the flour.

6. Beat in the pumpkin and 1/2 cup of milk. With the mixer on low, add remaining milk.

7. Fold in egg white mixture by hand. Pour into prepared pan.

8. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. Cool cake completely before cutting and serving. Store in refrigerator.

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