I have to admit that prior to blogging the thought of making pumpkin anything from scratch simply did nothing for me. Why on earth would you attempt to hack away at a massively unwieldy, ungainly pumpkin to only then reach inside it’s slimy innards and struggle to remove strings and seeds that stubbornly refused to budge? Memories of arm aching, afternoon pumpkin carving sessions for the boys, fleeting through my mind as I vividly recall thinking to myself “Why exactly am I doing this?”
It’s so much easier to saunter to the pantry, grab a can of pumpkin puree and open that baby in 10 seconds flat. And let’s be honest, canned pumpkin is good. Really good. And way easier on the arms. Small sugar pie pumpkins have forced me to change my tune of late. Easy to cut, scoop and roast, one well placed slice with a sharp kitchen knife is all it takes to get you into pumpkin roasting goodness. It’s really no trouble at all to clean a pumpkin that’s been sliced in half anyway, and in the interest of being even more honest, there is just nothing quite like homemade pumpkin puree. It has a earthy complexity that is just lacking in the canned varieties.
The overabundant plethora of pumpkin and squash varieties in the store these days just get’s me stoked, and should provide you with perfect incentive to get yourself to the store and start roasting your own.
Last month Relish Magazine challenged me to come up with 3 recipes from one pumpkin, using a larger 5-6 pounder or if you prefer 3 smaller sugar pie pumpkins. I jumped at the chance and developed recipes for a Pumpkin Meringue Pie with a Brown Butter Gingersnap Crust, a Savory Sage and Pumpkin Gratin and a Roast Pumpkin, Bacon and Brussels Sprout Crostini.
The Pumpkin Meringue Pie is my new favorite pumpkin pie recipe, and that crust is so seriously good it was a challenge not to eat it straight from the bowl over the sink. Salty, sweet, spicy and the perfect foil for the creamy pumpkin puree and light as air meringue. The Savory Sage and Pumpkin Gratin, highlights the earthy flavors of pureed pumpkin the best, with eggs, heavy cream and Gouda cheese topped with a crunchy, buttery bread crumb crust. Roast Pumpkin, Bacon and Brussels Sprout Crostini is simply my favorite side dish piled on top of a buttery, garlicky grilled slice of bread. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes doesn’t hurt here either.
For the recipes and a brief pumpkin roasting how-to, head on over to Relish Magazine.