We’ve reached the time where we can carve our pumpkins!
Jack-O- Lanterns, those delightful things that pumpkins become at Halloween, originated with an old Irish folktale about a fellow named Jack who was doomed to wander the earth – having been too much of a stingy drunk to be let into heaven, and after having once played a trick on the devil, considered too mischievous and thus barred from hell. He carried with him a lantern carved from a turnip and lit with an ember from satan’s vast personal supply to light his way as he roamed thither and yon until Judgement Day.
When this tale traveled with Irish immigrants to North America, it was found that pumpkins were more common and easier to carve than turnips. So it was a no-brainer that they won out and became the traditional jack-0-lantern that we use today. Personally, I think it would be much too hard to carve a turnip and I would end up throwing it out the window.
Most of us have carved a pumpkin or two in our lives and we all have our own methods that prove infallible each year. I personally find a keyhole saw most useful in cutting through that thick, orange rind. This year I decided to go a slightly different route, using a serrated knife from the kitchen and purchasing my first commercially manufactured pumpkin carving utensil for $2 at the drug store. After using the little pumpkin knife, I would recommend this orange plastic utensil for any fine pumpkin carving work that needs to be done. I’m no pumpkin artist, but I find carving the classic face works nicely for my Halloween needs.
Nothing says Halloween like a carved pumpkin, hauntingly lit by a flickering candle. All the rest of the world is in darkness but a jack-o- lantern will guide you to the haunts, the horrors, or the candy.
What food is more autumnal than pumpkin pie? Nothing. Nothing is the answer we’re looking for here. Though, sometimes a whole pie seems dauntingly large when all you want is “one piece”. This is where tarts come in.
Tarts are bite sized pieces of heaven that allow moderation if needed. They are also so small and delicious that you realize you’ve actually eaten a whole pie’s worth of tarts and the whole idea of “one piece” has gone out the window.
Surprisingly, pumpkin pie is not my favourite pie. I know, I know “How can this be?”. I don’t know, it’s just not – I find it soft and weird and brown. At least that was my opinion before stumbling onto this recipe. Now, instead of avoiding the pumpkin pie, I embrace it, I make it, I eat it, I love it. I’ve been converted.
Tarts are my favourite form of this recipe but it also works well as a whole pie.
The original recipe is from the Eagle Brand website and to tell the truth I think that’s the secret to this recipe’s deliciousness.
1 Can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 Cups canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
24 unbaked tart shells
Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
Whisk together condensed milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, and pumpkin spice.
Pour evenly into tart shells.
Bake for ~ 18 minutes or until centre is just set and tart shells are golden.
Original recipe can be found here: http://www.eaglebrand.ca/print-popup.aspx?rid=1618
Ready to be sprinkled like fairy dust all over the land!
What is fall baking or fall in general without pumpkin spice?
Apparently, it’s impossible to imagine a world without it. This is the time of Pumpkin Spice: lattes, muffins, tea, cookies, t-shirts, tires, air… It seems like everything must have pumpkin spice in it, on it or under it.
Go Pumpkin Spice or Go Home!
So in the interest of this seemingly world- wide obsession, I am submitting to you, a recipe of how to make your own pumpkin spice.
I find that making your own pumpkin spice is much more economical than buying it at the store. A small tin costs almost $5 and is gone in the blink of an eye if you make any of the pumpkin recipes I’ve posted previously.
So, here we go.
You will need a mason jar or similar container, a permanent marker for labeling and this recipe.
3 Tbsp Cinnamon
1.5 Tbsp Allspice
1.5 Tbsp Cloves
2 Tbsp Nutmeg
2 Tbsp Ginger
Pour into jar, and use again and again for all your pumpkin spice needs!
Note: In above pictures, recipe was multiplied by 3 for my needs at the time and filled 1 avg. sized mason jar and 6 small spice jars with a bit left over.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin – eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well
Thanksgiving in Canada has just passed, it’s still a little early to be carving the hauntingly gorgeous (GOURDeous?) pumpkin. So, we still need to eat it. How about in the best form possible – cookies!
Pumpkin, chocolate – what more could anyone want?
These are some of the best chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin or otherwise that I have had the pleasure of consuming. This recipe has been slightly adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com.♦
Warning: You can’t eat just one.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup canned pumpkin 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar 1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 tsp milk
1 egg 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps pumpkin spice
Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add vanilla and chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 ºF (175 ºC) for approximately 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.
♥ Note: I actually use less (roughly 1 cup) of chocolate chips. I find the whole 2 cups of chips too many for my taste.
♦Original recipe was found at allrecipes.com submitted by Jennifer under the title “Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies III”
Round, orange, versatile and delicious. Usually the pumpkin doesn’t get carved into a Jack-O- Lantern until the end of October, so what are we supposed to do with all that glorious-ness besides gaze at it adoringly?
Well, I suppose we should eat it. Then we can become one with the pumpkin!
Let’s start with pumpkin muffins, these are an easy, delicious muffin that I have slightly adapted from the original recipe.
makes 12 ♥
3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups canned pure pumpkin (not the pie filling)
2 cups white sugar 2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp baking soda 3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, vegetable oil and eggs.
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until well blended and smooth.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of muffin comes out clean.
♥ usually comes out closer to 20 muffins using full recipe.
Original recipe from allrecipes.com as Pumpkin Muffins II submitted by Julie
Now that it’s October, the pumpkin worship can begin, which is only fitting since they are a delight to behold all season long.
I will be doing a small series of pumpkin related posts to help us all enjoy the well rounded appeal of my personal favourite fruit.
Yes, notice I said fruit, and no it’s not a mistake.
Pumpkins are of the family Cucubitaceae and the genus Cucurbita which includes all varieties of winter & summer squash, gourd and pumpkin.
According to The Perfect Pumpkin by Gail Damerow “… a pumpkin is not actually a vegetable but a fruit, and a berry at that…” this is because pumpkins (like berries) develop from a single pistil of a flower and has no core or stone. The species of pumpkin that we all recognize as our big beautiful orange jack-o-lanterns and pie pumpkins is the C. pepo.
C. maxima are those gorgeous white pumpkins that make carving jack-o-lanterns as skulls so easy.
Now you have some pumpkin trivia to impress your friends with!
Check back on the blog for more in the Pumpkin Palooza series.
If fresh meat be wanting to fill up our dish
We have carrots and pumpkins and turnips and fish;
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon;
If it was not for pumpkins, we should be undone.
17th century unknown Plymouth Colony poet