The Fruits of Winter


Even if winter’s not officially here yet, it’s definitely pumpkin-winter squash season, so make the most of it in the recipes you prepare.

Even if winter’s not officially here yet, it’s definitely pumpkin-winter squash season. Winter squash have hard outer rinds that surround sweet, often orange flesh, and must be cooked.
Sugar/pie pumpkin and other winter squashes are virtually interchangeable in cooking, so depending on what’s available, try acorn squash, delicata, hubbard squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes or calabaza. (Even their names are intriguing!)
And don’t throw out the jack-o-lan­tern: Roast the seeds for a wonderful treat!
Butternut Squash-Corn Soup
(Pareve or Meat)
3 cups peeled, diced butternut or acorn squash 
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsps. canola oil
6 cups water, or chicken or vegetable stock
1⁄2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 can (10 oz.) corn, well-drained
salt and pepper to taste
snipped chives (optional)
Mix the diced pumpkin, onion and oil in a large, non-stick soup pot. Cover and saute over low heat until onion is tender, but not brown, stirring frequently: about 12 minutes.
Add water or stock, increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender: about 20 minutes.
Let mixture cool and puree with immersion blender.
Stir in oatmeal and corn. Bring to a boil. If soup becomes too thick, add 1 to 2 cups of water.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with snipped chives, if using.
Serves 6.
Pumpkin Pancakes
1 and 1⁄2 cups flour
1 and 3⁄4 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed
1⁄4 cup tart apple, minced
1 cup pureed pumpkin (1 lb. cooked and mashed; substitute other winter squash if you wish)
1 egg
2 Tbsps. melted butter or oil
1 and 1⁄2 cups milk
nonstick spray
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, banana, apple and pumpkin in a large bowl.
Beat egg with melted butter and milk in a separate bowl. Combine well with first mixture.
Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray. Add a small amount of oil.
Form 2-inch patties. Cook on both sides for about 3 minutes each. Drain well on paper towels. Top with applesauce or maple syrup.
Serves 6.
Pumpkin Chard Chile Verde
1 bunch green Swiss chard 
2 tsps. canola oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1⁄2 lbs. fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into julienne strips
1 and 1⁄2 cups dried cannellini (white kidney) beans, cooked, rinsed and well-drained (substitute canned beans)
1 tsp. dried cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsps. snipped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 and 1⁄2 oz. tomato paste
Rinse, trim, and drain chard. Pat completely dry.
Chop stems into 1⁄2-inch piec­es and leaves into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, non-stick skillet.
Add onions and garlic. Saute‚ for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden. Add chard and pumpkin and continue to saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add beans, seasonings and water to cover. Reduce heat to low, 
Cover and cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until beans are completely cooked. Stir in the tomato paste and heat through.
Serves 8.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and rinse in a strainer under cold water. Remove pulp and strings.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. You could also leave out the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325˚ until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
Let cool and store in an air-tight container.
Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnaps
A dollop of nutmeg-sprinkled whipped cream complements this rich, moist cheesecake
Crust Ingredients:
2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1⁄3 cup butter, melted
Cheesecake Ingredients:
1 and 1⁄4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 and 1⁄2 tsps. pumpkin pie spice
Garnish: whipped cream and ground nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 325˚.
Combine the crushed gingersnap cookies and melted butter in a bowl; press onto the bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan.
Combine the brown sugar and cream cheese in a bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Continue beating, adding 1 egg at a time, until creamy.
Add all remaining cheesecake ingredients. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake 80 to 90 minutes or until set. Turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven with door ajar for 20 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Loosen the side of the cheesecake from the pan by running a knife around inside of pan. Cool completely at room temperature. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or over­night.
Dollop whipped cream onto each serving and sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.
Serves 16.
Pumpkin Chocolate Marble Cake
Cake Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 tsps. vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
2 and 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1⁄2 tsps. baking powder
3⁄4 tsp. salt
3⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
3 squares (1 oz. each) bittersweet baking chocolate, melted
1⁄3 cup buttermilk
Glaze Ingredients:
1⁄3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup mini-semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350˚. Spray 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Combine the sugar, 1 cup butter and vanilla in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time, beat­ing well after each addition. Place 1 cup batter into another bowl; set aside. 
Add the pumpkin to the remaining batter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add 13⁄4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Beat at low speed until well mixed. Spoon half of pumpkin batter into prepared pan. 
Add melted chocolate to reserved 1 cup batter; beat at me­dium speed until smooth. Add remaining 1⁄2 cup flour and 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder; continue beating until well mixed. Add buttermilk; beat until well mixed. 
Drop chocolate batter by tablespoonfuls over pumpkin batter in pan. Top with remaining pumpkin batter; spread to edges of pan. Swirl chocolate batter into pumpkin batter with a table knife. 
Bake 50 or 60 minutes or until a few moist crumbs cling to toothpick inserted into center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate; cool completely. 
To make glaze: Pour whipping cream in 2-cup glass measuring cup; microwave 45 to 50 seconds or until mixture comes to a boil; add chocolate chips. Let stand 1 minute; stir until smooth. Spread glaze over top of cake.
Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at:


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