Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Treats-Pumpkin


As I mentioned in a previous post, autumn seems to bring a whole host of festive foods along with the cool weather and changing leaves. If you're the kind of person who carves Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween or even just like pumpkin, here are a few tasty ways to use the 'leftovers'.

If you've never had a pumpkin cheesecake, you're really missing out! Here is an excellent recipe to make at home. It takes a long time to make, but it's worth it!

Double-Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 9” prepared graham cracker crust
2 eggs
2 8-oz packages of soft cream cheese
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325°. Mix sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together in a large bowl. Beat until smooth, adding the eggs one at a time. Spread the bottom of the crust with 1 cup of the batter. Then, add the pumpkin and spices to the bowl and stir until well-mixed. Now, spread the pumpkin batter carefully over the 'plain batter' in the crust. Put it in the oven and bake until the center is almost set, about 35-40 minutes. Let it cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Then, add whipped cream and serve!

Some people use a spiced pumpkin pie filling rather than the puree with all the spices. Also, I haven't tried it, but I wonder if a gingerbread crust would work if you want an extra 'kick'.

Here's something interesting that I've never seen before-a pumpkin soup. I guess this is another way to use pumpkin that doesn't involve whipped cream or pie crust!

Pumpkin Soup-serves 9
4 cups pumpkin puree (you can also use canned pumpkin)
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup heavy whipping cream
5 whole black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Bring the stock, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, salt and peppercorns to a boil in a large-ish pot. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. The recipe says to puree the soup one cup at a time in a blender or food processor, but using a hand mixer will work too.

If you do use the blender/processor, put it back in the pan once it is pureed and bring to a boil again. Simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes over low heat. Now, stir in the heavy cream and serve. Some people will either reduce or omit the heavy cream for a lighter consistency; it's up to you.

Now you have a few great recipes to bring in the fall. Bon appѐtit!

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