What exactly is a pumpkin? A vegetable? No. A fruit? Yes.
A fruit is defined as being the part of the plant that contains seeds. The average pumpkin contains about a cup of seeds, so they are most definitely a fruit.
Pumpkins come in a multitude of colors, shapes and sizes. They're grown green, yellow, red, white, blue and even in multicolored stripes. Pumpkins can be huge, tiny, flat, short, tall, round, pear-shaped, necked, smooth, ribbed and even warty. Some are great for culinary uses; some are more suited to being carved or displayed.
A pumpkin is a member of the cucurbit (gourd) family. The cucurbit family includes pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, luffas, watermelons and other melons. Most of the plants in this family are vines; however, there are a few exceptions.
The pumpkin was one of the many foods used by the Native American Indians in the new world and was a welcome discovery by the Pilgrims. The Indians pounded strips of pumpkin flat, dried them and wove them into mats for trading. They also dried pumpkin for food.
The new Americans heartily embraced the sweet, multipurpose fruit, which became a traditional Thanksgiving item. The colonists used pumpkin not only as a side dish and dessert, but also in soups, and even made beer of it.
Below are some pumpkin recipes for you to sample. (Sorry, no beer recipes.)
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
11/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin purée
1 Tbsp. pumpkin-pie spice
11/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp., plus 2 pinches, salt
12/3 cups flour
4 oz. cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth.
Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin purée, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
Using an ice-cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese.
Add the confectioners' sugar, as well as the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix on a low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream-cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.
Makes 8 pies.
Pumpkin Pound Cake
33/4 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 tsps. baking powder
2 tsps pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
11/2 cups butter, softened
6 large eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
11/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsps. butter, softened
4-6 tsps. milk
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine sugar and 11/2 cups butter in large bowl.
Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.
Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, until well-mixed.
Add the pumpkin; continue beating until well-mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk, until well-mixed.
Spoon batter into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.
To Make the Glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons butter and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl.
Glaze cooled cake.
Spiced Pumpkin Waffles
(Dairy or Pareve)
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
4 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk or soy milk
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat a waffle iron.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl. Set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin purée, sugar, butter and vanilla in another large bowl until smooth.
While whisking, add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.
Generously coat the waffle iron with vegetable oil and then cook the batter in the waffle iron as recommended in the manufacturer's instructions.
Repeat with the remaining batter.
Creamy Pumpkin Dip
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 can (15 oz.) cooked pumpkin
1 Tbsp. orange-juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Combine the cream cheese, sour cream and confectioners' sugar in large bowl.
Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add the pumpkin. Beat until combined.
Stir in the cinnamon and orange juice concentrate until well-mixed.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve with gingersnaps, graham crackers and/or sliced apples.
Recipes comes courtesy of www.landolakes.com .