pumpkin soup is one way to use the mighty pumpkin
other than in a standard pie.
the pumpkin, plump harbinger of autumn, a bright-orange
beacon for us all to blah blah blah, yada yada yada.
I was going to write a nice story about pumpkin, everybody’s
favorite winter squash, a gourd that is beloved in both pie
and jack-o’-lantern forms. I was going to discuss how it
spans both Halloween and Thanksgiving and how it is
particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving because it is
native to North America.
then I made some Salted Caramel-Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake
Bars, and now all I want to write about are Salted
Caramel-Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.
things are so good, dentists leave them out in their
offices. These things are so good, endocrinologists tell
their diabetic patients, "You know what? We all have to
go sometime." These things are so good, just two or
three pans of them, properly dispersed, could bring peace to
the Middle East.
are that good.
Caramel-Swirled Cheesecake Bars were apparently invented by
a woman with the implausible name of Averie Sunshine (she
lives and blogs in San Diego, so perhaps her name isn’t
that unusual after all). She unveiled the recipe in her
second book, "Cooking With Pumpkin," and the one
recipe by itself may make the book one of those hard-to-find
classics in future years that will be auctioned off for
thousands of dollars.
base is a tempting crust of graham cracker crumbs, butter,
brown sugar and calories. On top of that is spread a rich
mixture of pumpkin puree, softened cream cheese, sugar,
pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and calories. And before baking,
it is all topped with swirls of caramel sauce — it’s
best if you make it yourself — and calories.
things are so good, they could cure cancer.
after eating them, I felt as if I needed something more
substantial and heartier. I used to get a curried pumpkin
dish at an Afghan restaurant in Washington, D.C., and I
marveled at the way curry spices blend with the rich
pumpkin. So I sought out a curried pumpkin recipe and found
one including beef in a new American release of a British
book called "Pumpkin: Not Just for Halloween and
Thanksgiving!" (one assumes the British title did not
this delicious dish, the pumpkin is simmered in a broth
containing green and red bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and
the beef. The curry part comes from coriander seeds,
turmeric, ginger and a chile. It’s warm and soothing, and
not too hot. It is exactly the kind of meal you want to eat
when the weather is chilly enough for pumpkins.
still wanted something healthful, so I decided to make a
pumpkin soup. Because pumpkin is a squash, I essentially
decided to make it in much the same way I make butternut
squash soup. I sautéed onions and garlic and added flavors
that go well with pumpkin — nutmeg, brown sugar, paprika
and a hint of cayenne pepper.
I added vegetable stock. Chicken stock would work well, too,
but I wanted this version to be vegetarian. And into that
went pumpkin that I had roasted and scraped from the skin.
sure canned pumpkin would have worked, too, but it wouldn’t
be as good as the real thing. And it is easy to make, too.
Just take a pie pumpkin (they’re about 2 pounds, much
smaller than jack-o’-lantern pumpkins), cut it into
sections, remove the seeds and stringy bits and set it in a
350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
all the ingredients had simmered together, blending their
flavors, I added a soupçon of coconut milk. Then I pureed
it into a hearty, delicious soup that could serve as either
a first course or an entrée.
wasn’t done with pumpkin yet. But I had one more trick up
my sleeve, or at least the sleeve of Ms. Sunshine. Her
recipe for Parmesan and Cream Cheese Pumpkin Puffs is easy
to make, yet it delivers a huge impact. This is one of those
dishes that has a very high flavor-to-effort ratio.
key is puff pastry. Puff pastry is easy (as long as you buy
it frozen) and it makes everything taste great. Just smear
it with a mixture of pumpkin purée and softened cream
cheese, sprinkle it with seasoning salt (I made my own
mixture of pumpkin-friendly spices: nutmeg, allspice,
cinnamon and coriander) and add shredded Parmesan cheese.
it all up tightly, slice it thin, and pop it in the oven
until it bakes up golden brown. It is a savory treat, but
also wonderfully rich.
the golden orbs of fall, the gourds of glory. Yada, yada,
yada. Blah, blah, blah.
(2-pound) pie pumpkins or 3 cups canned purée
tablespoon vegetable oil
medium onion, chopped
cloves garlic, sliced
tablespoon brown sugar
teaspoon (2 pinches) cayenne pepper, optional
vegetable stock or chicken stock
cup coconut milk
using canned pumpkin, begin with step No. 2. If using fresh
pumpkin, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off tops of pie
pumpkins and cut pumpkins into quarters; remove seeds and
stringy bits. Place pumpkin quarters on an ungreased baking
sheet and roast 30 to 35 minutes until soft. When cool
enough to touch, remove and discard the skins (they will
come off easily). Set pumpkin aside.
oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add onions and
sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook
until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add brown sugar,
paprika, optional cayenne and nutmeg and stir 30 seconds to
1 minute until well mixed and fragrant. Stir in pumpkin and
add vegetable stock.
Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and
mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Purée in a
blender or use an immersion blender. Serve hot, topped with
a dollop of crème fraîche or a sprinkling of nutmeg, if
serving: 241 calories; 13 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 5 mg
cholesterol; 9 g protein; 28 g carbohydrate; 14 g sugar; 8 g
fiber; 271 mg sodium; 55 mg calcium.
by Daniel Neman
CARAMEL-SWIRLED PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BARS
stick unsalted butter
graham cracker crumbs
cup light brown sugar, packed
ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and very soft
cup granulated sugar
heaping cup pumpkin purée
teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
teaspoon vanilla extract
tablespoons all-purpose flour
cup thick salted caramel sauce, see note
For caramel sauce, either make your own from the recipe
below or use store-bought. But do not use ice cream or
sundae sauce made with corn syrup listed as the first
ingredient; it will be too thin.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan
with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides, and
spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
the crust: In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt the
butter, about 1 minute on high power. Add the graham cracker
crumbs, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt, if using. Mix well
with a fork to combine. Pour the crumbs into the prepared
pan and use a spatula to pack the mixture firmly into the
pan in an even, flat layer. Set aside.
the filling: In a medium bowl (you can use the same,
unwashed bowl), combine egg, cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin,
pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, and whisk (or use a mixer)
until smooth and combined. The softer the cream cheese, the
easier the mixture comes together. Add the flour and mix
just to incorporate. Do not overmix.
Pour the filling into the crust. Top with caramel sauce,
swirled in a fanciful design.
Bake 40 minutes or until center is set with very little
jiggle; some looseness is OK, but there should be no
sloshing in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center
should come out mostly clean or with just a few moist
crumbs. Cool bars in pan for 1 hour before lifting out,
using the foil overhang, and slicing. They are best when
served chilled: Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate 2
hours or overnight before slicing and serving. Bars will
keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to
serving: 331 calories; 18 g fat; 11 g saturated fat; 67 mg
cholesterol; 2 g protein; 40 g carbohydrate; 34 g sugar; 1 g
fiber; 140 mg sodium; 41 mg calcium.
from "Cooking With Pumpkin" by Averie Sunshine
AND PUMPKIN CURRY
cup vegetable oil
bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
teaspoon ground turmeric
teaspoons ground coriander
teaspoons granulated sugar
pounds lean stewing beef, cut into small, 1/2-inch pieces
garlic cloves, sliced
ounce fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
chile, seeded and chopped
(14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
cups beef or chicken stock
(2-pound) pie pumpkin
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the
bell peppers and sauté 4 to 5 minutes until they start to
color. Drain with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the
onions, turmeric, coriander, sugar and beef and sauté
gently 5 minutes or until lightly colored.
the garlic, ginger and chile to the pan and cook 2 minutes,
stirring. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring slowly to a
boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer on the
lowest heat for 1 hour until the beef is tender.
Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin from the
pumpkin and cut the flesh into chunks. Add to the pan along
with the reserved red and green bell peppers. Cook gently
for 20 minutes until the pumpkin is very soft. Season with
salt if necessary and serve with crème fraîche, if
desired, and basmati rice.
serving: 352 calories; 18 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 71 mg
cholesterol; 29 g protein; 21 g carbohydrate; 10 g sugar; 3
g fiber; 442 mg sodium; 78 mg calcium.
from "Pumpkin: Not Just for Halloween and
Thanksgiving!" by Joanna Farrow
About 1 cup
cup heavy cream
tablespoon vanilla extract
stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, see note
If using table salt, use less — perhaps 1/4 to 3/4
a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat
over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring
Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil without
stirring. Carefully use a wet pastry brush or damp paper
towel to wipe down any crystals that cling to the sides of
the saucepan. Failure to remove them could result in a
grainy sauce. Boil until the mixture is a deep amber color,
about 5 to 6 minutes; it will turn color fairly quickly.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the
cream; the mixture will bubble up vigorously. Add the
vanilla; it will bubble up again. Stir in the butter and
salt to taste. Transfer the caramel to a glass or heatproof
jar with a lid. Caramel sauce will keep airtight for months
in the refrigerator.
tablespoon) serving: 115 calories; 7 g fat; 4 g saturated
fat; 23 mg cholesterol; no protein; 13 g carbohydrate; 13 g
sugar; no fiber; 65 mg sodium; 10 mg calcium.
from "Cooking With Pumpkin" by Averie Sunshine