It’s that spooky time of the year again where no matter what supermarket you frequent, you’ll feel like the earth has been invaded by an army of this orange, strangely shaped, iconic October vegetable, the pumpkin. But how many of us in the UK really appreciate this tasty and versatile vegetable?
Though it’s fairly likely you’ll be purchasing one or more of these autumnal vegetables this year, especially if you have a house full of kids, you’re much more likely to be spending your time cutting jagged holes in their faces and pulling out their guts than you are enjoying everything this vegetable has to offer.
So while your house plays host to a few pumpkins this year, why not make the most of this opportunity and try turning your pumpkin friends into a few of these tempting treats?
If you want to make a nice pumpkin smoothie or delicious pumpkin bread, you’ll first need to cook up some tasty pumpkin puree. Simply heat your oven to 180 degrees, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out its insides, rub the cut surface with canola oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet, and then cook for 80 minutes. Then, scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor before straining over paper towels for an hour to ensure its smooth texture.
Once made, this puree can be used in many of the following dishes and can even be frozen in ice trays, ensuring you’ll have cubes of the stuff for weeks that can be used to add pumpkin flavour to many of your autumnal recipes.
For a tasty twist, add a touch of autumn to your hot drinks or a splash of the season to your whipped cream with some delicious pumpkin-spice liqueur. Fairly simple to make and much more flavoursome than the artificial syrups you’ll find on the supermarket shelves, this boozy cordial can liven up any ginger cake or add some comforting, merry-making tastes to your coffee.
Simply add sugar, spices, and water to canned pumpkin before straining it and then mixing in some aged rum. After a few days, the flavours will all be brought together and you’ll be left with the perfect ingredient to add to your drinks and cakes this autumn.
Bored of the same old strawberry and banana smoothies and fancy a slightly more unusual, but just as delicious, alternative; then you need to try a refreshing pumpkin smoothie this autumn. Just throw some pumpkin puree in a blender with ice, pumpkin pie spices, milk, and a little dollop of maple syrup, and you’ll have all the tastes of a pumpkin pie in a glass.
Pumpkin French toast
Delicious as an indulgent treat in the morning, pumpkin French toast will put you in a positive mood at the start of the day this autumn before stepping out of the door and into the cold. Just mix pumpkin puree with some beaten eggs, then dip sourdough bread into the mix until fully coated before cooking in a frying pan with coconut oil until the bread is brown on both sides.
Rich, velvety and full of flavour, pumpkin butter makes for a tasty spread on your toast or can be used as an ingredient in many of your favourite autumn recipes. Better yet, it’s so quick and easy to cook up. Ready in under 20 minutes and made with just 8 ingredients, you’ll be enjoying this delicious treat in no time. Combine pumpkin puree, apple juice, and granulated sugar with honey, cinnamon, lemon juice, ground ginger and ground nutmeg in a saucepan, bring to the boil whilst stirring continuously, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Another use for your homemade pumpkin puree, pumpkin bread is one of the moistest, most aromatic and delicious breads out there. Totally versatile, it’s perfect for snacking, lunch, or even served thickly for dessert. Simply mix your pumpkin puree with eggs, oil, water and sugar, then stir in a mixture of flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg before pouring into your loaf tins. Bake for 50 minutes and you’re done. Leave it to sit for a couple of days for the best taste.
Season pumpkin puree with a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and cider vinegar and you’ll have the tastiest filling for a tempting tortellini dish. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds and a brown butter and sage sauce to make the most comforting dish that is sure to please the entire family this October. Simply put, this is autumn on a plate.
If you’re planning to throw a sophisticated Halloween party or an autumnal dinner for your friends and family, this will make the perfect starter or main course.
Check out a recipe here: https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/pumpkin-tortelloni-with-sage-and-pumpkin-seeds-31156
Pumpkin and bacon soup
This silky, warming and comforting pumpkin and bacon soup sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and drizzled with delicious maple syrup is the perfect remedy to your autumn blues. Aromatic and hearty, it makes for the ideal pick-me-up after a stressful day at work and is a guaranteed to bring a smile to your family’s faces this season.
Find the recipe here – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pumpkin-bacon-soup
Pumpkin and caramel cake
Incredibly tempting, this light and airy cake is a delicious treat in the autumn time and another great use for your pumpkin puree. A towering showstopper, it’s made up of layers of pumpkin-flavoured sponge with a cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice and double cream mixture filling. Decorate with toasted pecans and it doesn’t get much more autumnal than this.
Check out the recipe here – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pumpkin-caramel-cake
An incredibly popular dessert over in the USA and usually prepared to eat with Thanksgiving dinner in November, the pumpkin pie is perhaps the most iconic of all autumnal desserts and is a must try if you haven’t already this season. With its mouth-watering pumpkin-based custard filling flavoured with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, along with its orange or brown colour, if autumn were a dessert it would be the pumpkin pie.