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Top 5 Autumn Pumpkin Recipes

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Published April 13th 2012
Autumn's favourite child: Pumpkin

There are some ingredients that are so versatile that they can be used in innumerable ways and a wide range of recipes. Pumpkin is one of them. Good for entrees, mains or desserts; works brilliantly in savoury or sweet dishes. Practically every cuisine has a universally popular recipe using pumpkin as the main ingredient.

I'm reminded of a poem I used to recite as a kid:

O,—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!
—John Greenleaf Whittier, The Pumpkin

The fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage but I guess we can do better than that. Here's a list of five tried and tested recipes that are simple to follow and absolutely scrumptious.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
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Pumpkin cheesecake

1 1/2 cup crushed digestive biscuits
1 tablespoon white sugar
4-5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
450 grams cream cheese, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar

Method
The crust: Mix together the crushed biscuits, sugar and melted butter. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a buttered spring-form pan (8-inch). Bake in a preheated oven (175 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes or until set. Let cool while you make the cheesecake.

The cheesecake: In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Keep aside. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the sugar mixture and beat for 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Pour the filling over the crust and place the spring-form pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees C and continue to bake for another 10 - 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the centre is still a little wobbly when you gently shake the pan.

The topping: In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return the cheesecake to the oven and bake about 8 minutes to set the topping. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate at least eight hours before serving.

Yield: An 8-inch cheesecake (around 10 generous slices)

Pumpkin Slice
Pumpkin slice

For the shortbread:
1/2 cup raw unpeeled hazelnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
2 eggs
425 grams canned pumpkin
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cream

Method
The shortbread: Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and briskly rub the nuts to remove the skin. Let the nuts cool before coarsely chopping. Place the hazelnuts, flour and salt in a food processor; process until the nuts are finely ground. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly and firmly onto the bottom of a foil-lined pan (9 x 13 inch). Bake for about 15 minutes or until the shortbread is set and beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

The filling: In a separate bowl whisk the eggs. Add the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla extract, spices and salt. Whisk to combine. Gradually stir in the cream. Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set in the middle.

Remove from oven and let it cool. Cut into 32 slices.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yield: 32 bars

Spiced Muffins
Spiced muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup finely grated carrots
1 cup grated butternut squash
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Method
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until pale and frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat for a few minutes, until the batter is thick.

Beat the butter and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and pumpkin alternatively until incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and to combine (do not over mix).

Pour into a greased muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven (175 degrees C). Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Serve.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin whoopie pies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
425 grams canned pumpkin puree
For the filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup corn syrup

Method
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves and salt. In the electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.

Beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter onto parchment-lined baking trays, spacing about 2 inches apart. Smooth the tops of the little pies with the back of a fork. Bake for about 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven (175 degrees C). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling: Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Gently pour in the vanilla extract and corn syrup. Beat until the filling has a smooth, spreadable texture.

Spread a heaped tablespoon of the filling on the flat side of a pie. Top with another pie. Follow the procedure for the rest of the batch.

Yield: About 14 whoopie pies

Pumpkin Loaf Pudding
5 cups day-old bread, cut into cubes
1/2 cup golden raisins
For the custard:
2 eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Store-bought toffee sauce, whipped cream or butterscotch ice-cream

Method
The custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, spices and salt. Add the bread and raisins. Toss to coat until all the bread cubes are coated with the custard.

Transfer the bread pudding to an 8-inch baking dish and bake in a pre-heated oven (175 degrees C) for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm or cold with toffee sauce or a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.

Yield: One 8-inch bread pudding (enough for 4-6 people)
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Why? Because the pumpkins are fresh
When: Anytime
Where: In your kitchen
Cost: Of the ingredients
Your Comment
I do have to say your recipes do look interesting and different. Thanks.
by Jody Kimber (score: 2|829) 1807 days ago
Great recipes! I absolutely love pumpkin, especially buttnernut - I'll have to try these out.
by Sue Williams (score: 2|829) 1806 days ago
These sound amazing Anjali. I must give some of them a try. My pumpkin recipes don't usually go beyond making soups, or roasting pieces of pumpkin or butternut squash. I'm not even sure if we can get canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree here in the UK. I'll have to check out specialist food shops.
by Sandra Lawson (score: 3|1278) 1804 days ago
Anjali, I'll definitely be trying these. The cheesecake and pudding look especially delicious. Pumpkin is everyone's favourite vegetable in our house so they're sure to be crowd pleasers. Thanks for sharing.
by Geraldine Massey (score: 3|7140) 1791 days ago
Thanks Jody and Sue. I've tried all the above recipes so can say for a fact that they turn out just as expected. I'm sure you'll enjoy them too.
by A Behl (score: 0|8) 1805 days ago
Thanks Geraldine. I hope your family enjoys these recipes too.
by A Behl (score: 0|8) 1790 days ago
Greatrecipes! I love the poem too.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 2|846) 1689 days ago
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