Arlene's Cuisine

Pumpkins aren’t just for jack-o’-lanterns. This time of year it seems everything from lip gloss to lattes is pumpkin spice flavored. So today’s recipes follow that trend.

Not too many people want to take the time to cook and puree their own pumpkin, so these recipes call for the canned variety. In the past I’ve cooked and pureed my own pumpkin with sometimes good results and sometimes not so good, depending mostly on the variety of pumpkin used.

I found the little sugar pumpkins and the larger Cinderellas were the best for eating. The white “ghost” pumpkins aren’t bad either.

To cook a pumpkin, just cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff and then cook in a roaster, cut side down, for about an hour. Cool and scrape the “meat” from the shell and puree it in a food processor to get it really smooth. It also freezes well, so you can have “fresh” pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and the rest of the year.

Pumpkin Soup

  • 2½ cups mashed, cooked pumpkin (approximately)
  • 3 cups water (approximately)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion, sautéed until soft
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • Pinch of fresh or dried mint

Combine pumpkin and water and stir. Add onion. Beat for a few minutes before adding the half-and-half. Add salt, pepper and curry powder to taste. Heat thoroughly. Sprinkle mint on the top at serving time. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Pumpkin Nut Waffles

  • 2½ cups sifted cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder (2 teaspoons for Salida’s elevation)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1¾ cups milk
  • ½ cup melted shortening or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans

Sift dry ingredients. Beat egg yolks. Combine yolks with milk, shortening and pumpkin. Add to dry ingredients. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the batter. Pour onto hot waffle iron. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and bake. Makes eight waffles.

 

Pumpkin Spice

Doughnuts

  • 3½ cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder (2 teaspoons for Salida’s elevation)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (¼ teaspoon for Salida’s elevation)
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted soft butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • Oil for frying
  • Sugar ’n’ spice to coat the doughnuts:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg

Mix the first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Beat sugar and butter in another bowl. Add the egg, yolks and vanilla. Gradually add buttermilk and pumpkin. Fold in dry ingredients and blend carefully. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours.

Divide dough into three pieces and roll each piece out on a floured surface to about ½ inch thick. Cut with a 2½-inch round doughnut cutter. Repeat with all three pieces of dough. You can reroll the scraps to make more doughnuts or fry the doughnut holes.

Heat the oil for frying to about 365 degrees. Fry doughnuts for about one minute on each side, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to cool. (Turn each doughnut over after it has cooled a few minutes so the paper towel can absorb any excess oil.) Cool and roll in the spiced sugar to coat on all sides.

 

Frozen

Pumpkin Stacks

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • About 16 gingersnaps

Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices. Add nuts. Stir ice cream to soften and fold in the pumpkin mixture. Line the bottom of a 10-by-6-by-1½-inch shallow pan or a refrigerator tray with half the gingersnaps. Top with half of the ice cream mixture. Cover with gingersnaps and then cover with the rest of the ice cream mixture and freeze until firm. Cut in wedges and trim each slice with half of a walnut or pecan.

 

Pumpkin Spice

Rice Krispies Treats

(A new take on an old favorite.)

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag of mini marshmallows plus 1 cup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies

Grease a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the pumpkin and continue to cook until the mixture is warm. Fold in the bag of marshmallows and stir until melted. Add the vanilla, spices and salt and remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool and then fold in the remaining cup of marshmallows. Cool until it comes to room temperature.

Add the cereal and stir until combined. (Be sure to cool the marshmallow mixture or the treats will be soggy.) Butter your hands and put the mixture into the greased baking dish. Pat into place and let set for 30 minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.