November 28th, 2011
Remember that leftover pumpkin from my Thanksgiving pie? I mixed it into a batch of scones this morning.
Here they are, ready for the oven, brushed with milk and sprinkled with demerara sugar. I also threw in some golden raisins and traditional pumpkin pie spices. The scent wafting through my apartment as they baked was maddeningly delicious. With plenty of spice already in the scones, I’d probably serve these with a strong, straightforward tea — something smoky, perhaps Irish, with a drop of cream.
November 26th, 2011
There was a shortage of carving pumpkins this year, thanks to some inclement late summer weather. So for Hallowe’en this year I bought a pair of petite pie pumpkins to make Jack O’ Lanterns. Only I was too tired to carve them. They sat on my kitchen shelf for nearly a month before I decided to use them in a Thanksgiving pie.
This was the first time I’d ever used real pumpkins — not canned. According to the directions I found online, the first step was to cut the pumpkins open and scrape out the seeds and pulp.
I washed the seeds and put them aside to dry out and roast the next day.
Apparently it doesn’t really matter how you cook the remaining pumpkin flesh. Microwave, oven, or steamer. Steamer seemed the best choice in my tiny garret kitchen.
After about 20 minutes, the pumpkin was dark and soft and fragrant. As soon as the pieces were cool enough to hold, I scraped it off the skin.
It looked a little stringy at first, but after a good stir with the fork, voila!
I needed 2 cups of pumpkin (plus 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and spices to taste) for my pie filling. I had about 2 and a half cups in all, so I put the remainder away for later. I poured the mixture into my crust and . . .
November 16th, 2011
The pumpkin is a native American squash, beloved for centuries for its sweet flesh and savoury seeds. American Indians dried strips of pumpkin during the fall harvest for use through the winter. Today, thanks to canning and freezing, we can eat pumpkin whenever we please. But for me, pumpkin is one of the few foods — like hot apple cider — that retains its exclusively fall appeal. And suddenly it’s pumpkin season!
In the past few days, I’ve found myself nearly swimming in pumpkin. Yesterday it was a slice of pumpkin pie with whole wheat crust at lunch and criminally decadent pumpkin and coconut ice cream (two different flavors sharing the same bowl) after dinner. Tonight, I treated myself to a box of fresh pumpkin ravioli from Raffetto’s* to go with the rest of my homemade sun-dried tomato pesto and a bottle of Wild Horse central coast pino noir that pairs perfectly with sweet and savoury.
And I mustn’t forget the two sweet pie pumpkins waiting in my larder to become Thanksgiving dessert. Needless to say, there are a number of pumpkin pie receipts from the mid-19th century. I’ve got my research homework cut out for me this weekend.
*Raffetto’s is a small, family-owned Italian food store on West Houston Street that has been supplying Greenwich Village with delectable fresh pasta for more than 100 years. They’re still going strong and tasty, one of the few holdovers from the early 20th century when Little Italy stretched north to the south eastern section of the Village. If you’re in New York, or planning a visit, you owe yourself a taste!