October 25, 2007 at 8:10 a.m.
Did you know that pumpkins are 90 percent water. That's probably why they contain just 50 calories per cup, cooked. They are very high in fiber and have a lot of disease fighting nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, vitamins C and E, lots of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A and protein. Sounds pretty nutritious to me.
In the past, American Indians dried long strips of the shell and made woven mats, besides roasting the strips over open fires as food. Pumpkin pie was first made by the colonists who sliced off the top of the pumpkin, took out the seeds and filled the inside with milk, spices and honey. Then the pumpkin was baked in hot ashes. Well, we're not baking in ashes today. You'll have to use your oven. So, let's get started.
You don't have to use your oven for this pie. You have to use your fridge.
PUMPKIN PUDDING PIE
1 small (4 serving size) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 c. ice cold milk
1/2 c. ice cold light cream (half and half)*
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. minced candied ginger (optional)
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. vanilla
1-1/2 c. canned pumpkin (can use home-cooked thick pumpkin)
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. flour
one 9-inch ready-made graham cracker pie crust**
In a large mixing bowl, combine first three ingredients; beat for 3 minutes until well-blended.
Add next five ingredients. Blend in pumpkin, sugar and flour, mixing well.
Pour filling into pie crust. Chill for three hours before cutting and serving.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream (vanilla or cinnamon flavored) or a dollop of whipped cream.
*You might want to put the milk and cream in the freezer for a few minutes to get it ice cold.
**If you don't want to buy a ready-made crust, the graham cracker box usually has a recipe for a crust.
I've made a couple different recipes for pumpkin bars and I think this is my favorite.
2 c. flour
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1-16 oz. can pumpkin (2 c.)
1-2/3 c. sugar
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer pecans.)
cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
additional chopped pecans
In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together next four ingredients; add to flour mixture, beating well. Stir in pecans.
Spread in ungreased 15x10 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
Frost with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with additional pecans (about 3-4 to one cup).
Cut into squares. Makes 24 large or 35 small bars.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
In a bowl, beat together one 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened, 3 T. butter or margarine, softened and 1 t. vanilla. Slowly add 1-3/4 to 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until smooth.
NOTE: If you like a spicier flavor, add 1/2 t. ground ginger and 1/4 t. ground cloves to the flour mixture. You can also add 3/4 c. raisins if you like.
PUMPKIN PATCH BREAD
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 c. water
1-2/3 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
In a large mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients.
In another bowl, combine next seven ingredients, combining with with a wire whisk. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture, mixing well. Fold in nuts.
Pour into greased 9x5 baking pan.* Bake at 350 degrees for 70-80 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool. Makes one loaf or 15-18 slices.
*I suggest using "release" foil to line the pan. Cool the 10 minutes and then remove foil from pan and cool on wire rack.
Do you need pies for dessert to serve 12 people? No pie crust to make using this recipe.
PUMPKIN PECAN PIE SQUARES
1 c. flour
1/2 c. quick or old fashioned oats, packed brown sugar and butter or margarine
3/4 c. sugar
1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk (not condensed milk)
2 large eggs
2-1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
whipped cream or whipped topping
In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients. Beat on low speed until crumbly. Press into bottom of ungreased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine next five ingredients. Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes; pour over crust. Bake 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine pecans and brown sugar. Sprinkle topping over filling. Continue baking 15-20 minutes or till knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting. Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping. Makes 12 servings.
*If you don't have pumpkin spice on hand, make this mixture of spices as a substitute.
PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
Combine 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. each nutmeg and ginger and 1/8 t. each ground cloves and ground allspice. Mix well. Makes about 2-3/4 teaspoon.
Thought for the day: From a small seed comes the mighty pumpkin in all its earthy autumn colors and flavors. That paints a pretty picture, doesn't it!