Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Festival

Since schedules haven’t allowed us to get together for fall activities, we held a digital Pumpkin Festival this weekend.  Washington DC versus Pennsylvania. We each made one savory recipe and one sweet one using pumpkin.  We cooked yesterday and shared photos this morning.   We both had enough leftovers to enjoy everything again today.

My niece Brooke assisted by her husband Wilson and me assisted by my husband – who helped out as head tester and took a great shot of the pumpkin doughnut. My only note is that professional photographers take time with tabletop work, as it is called, so I had to wait a little longer to eat that doughnut.  Comments on the doughnut, “Light and really nice with the maple topping. Not too heavy a pumpkin flavor.  If you frost with a rum flavored buttercream will remind you of cinnabuns, but better.”  Which makes sense since the buttercream was some leftover from a Julia Child recipe.

Wilson on the experience, "It was a lot of work." His job was to stir the risotto, and with a bottle of red wine he was quite happy.  Brooke added, “What's better than a home cooked pumpkin risotto dinner?  Oven-warmed leftovers for brunch. Yummy.”

Next time we’ll Skype as well.

Here are the results and recipes and references:
The Savory,  followed by The Sweet

Pumpkin Risottto garnished with real Bacon
Pumpkin Risotto- almost ready
Pumkin Potato Taco
Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Pumpkin Granola
Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Glaze and Pumpkin Sees

Savory: Washington, DC

Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cubed pumpkin
1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
32 ounce carton of chicken broth
4-6 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
I tablespoon of butter
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2-1 cup pumpkin puree*
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked bacon or roasted pumpkin seeds

  1. Preheat oven to about 400˚F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together pumpkin cubes, chopped onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Distribute mixture onto cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 400˚F for about 30-40 minutes. Shake once in a while to keep from sticking or burning.
  3. Get out a large skillet and medium sized saucepan.  Simmer the chicken broth in saucepan.  In the large skillet, pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and rice over medium heat.  Mix for about a minute until hot, then start to ladle in chicken stock.  Add one ladle at a time, stirring constantly.  After a couple ladles of stock, you can start throwing in small handfuls of parmesan cheese.
  4. Drink wine and stir simultaneously.  This will take up to 30 minutes.  Taste the rice and keep going until it is al dente and you have reached the desired creaminess.
  5. Right as the rice is finishing, melt butter in a small skillet and quickly sauté the mushrooms.
  6. Take the pumpkin cube mixture out of the oven.
  7. Mix the pumpkin cubes, onion, mushrooms, parsley, and pumpkin puree into the rice.  Quantities depend on your taste and what looks good.
  8. Serve into wide bowls and sprinkle a little extra parsley and Parmesan on top. You can also top with something crunchy—a few fried pieces of bacon or some roasted pumpkin seeds.
Adapted from Gordon Ramsey’s Pumpkin Risotto video:

Savory: Pennsylvania
The inspiration for this dish is Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s southern states.  It is best known for its mole sauces which use pumpkin seeds or pepitas as a key ingredient in the classic sauce for poultry.  Oaxaca's capital is also known for wonderful street food including a taco filled with chorizo and potato cooked in a comal, the wide oval earthenware grills.  Here is a vegetarian Oaxacan taco that replaces the chorizo sausage with cooked pumpkin flavored with some spices used in chorizo, namely paprika.  Toss a few toasted pepitas on top if you’d like.  These are wonderful served alongside a chicken or turkey mole. We had ours alongside pulled pork tacos.

Pumpkin Potato Tacos Oaxaca Style
2 servings, 2 tacos each
1 cup roasted pumpkin, cut in chunks
1 cup cooked and peeled potatoes, cut in chunks
Oaxacan spice blend: 1 tablespoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 small flour tortillas
1/4 cup fresh, chopped cilantro

  1.  Place cooked pumpkin and potatoes chunks in a skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil.
  2. Sprinkle spice blend over vegetables and stir well as they heat.  Chunks will fall apart a bit as they a coated with a light crust of the spices.  
  3. When hot, scoop into warned flour tortillas and garnish with cilantro and roasted jalepeno peppers.  Hot sauce optional.

Sweet: Washington, DC

Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Maple Pumpkin Seed Granola
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg
1 3/4  cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt

  1. In medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisk milk, egg, sugar and cornstarch together.  Bring to a boil, then remove the pan from heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Put the saucepan with milk mixture back onto low heat and slowly whisk in the pumpkin mixture. Keep whisking over low heat for about five minutes while pudding thickens then pour into four glass dessert bowls or glasses.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours until cold. Serve with warm pumpkin seed granola and/or some homemade whipped cream.

*You can buy pumpkin puree in a can, or buy a whole pumpkin and make
it yourself. To make pumpkin puree from scratch, cut a medium sized
sugar pumpkin in half and roast in the oven at about 425˚F  for approximately 15 minutes on each side.  When the flesh is soft enough that you can put a knife through it easily, take it out of the oven and let cool for just a minute.  When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and cut flesh into medium sized chunks.  Throw pumpkin cubes into a medium pan over medium heat. Top with a lid of tin foil to soften cubes but not make them into mush.  Dump the cubes in the in blender and mix (with a little water if necessary to get the liquid moving) until you get a nice smooth puree.

Adapted from the Pumpkin Pie Pudding recipe on

Pumpkin Granola
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (real) maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
shake of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until oats and seeds are covered with oil and maple syrup. 
  3. Lay the mixture out onto a baking sheet.
  4. Cook for about 30-40 minutes until crispy. Give the sheet a couple shakes here and there to loosen up the mixture

Sweet: Pennsylvania
Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
I based this pumpkin doughnut recipe on one I’ve been planning to try for some time.  It is a plain doughnut recipe that bakes rather fries the dough.   This makes it easy on the cook yet the yeast in the recipe gives them a light doughnut texture we associate with frying. 

Adding a pumpkin flavor and transferring the recipe to a bread machine for extra ease  was not very difficult. I substituted the milk with 1/2 buttermilk and 1/2 pumpkin, cut back on the vanilla and added the classic pumpkin pie spices. 

These doughnuts did not originally have a frosting but the temptation to mix in a little maple flavor into these fall doughnuts was enticing. They are just fine without the filling if you cannot wait to eat the warm doughnuts.

For the original recipe, see who adapted the recipe from Lara Ferroni’s book Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Yield 10-12 doughnuts, 30 mini doughnut balls
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup cake flour
1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces), cut into tablespoons
1 tablespoon active dry yeast

Cinnamon Coating
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar

  1. Place ingredients in bread machine in the order noted (or according to your bread machine’s instructions for wet and dry ingredients).  Set to dough cycle.  
  2. When dough is ready, turn out onto a lightly floured board or counter top.  Gently pat to flatten out dough to a rectangle about 1/2 inch high.  It will be a little over 10" X 10".  
  3. Use a biscuit or doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts shapes for either filled doughnuts (biscuit cutter), or classic doughnuts and doughnut holes.  If you do not have a 3" cutter, use the rim of a ramekin or wide glass.  
  4. Place doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pad allowing at least 1 inch space between each.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm spot while oven preheats to 400˚F.  After about 30 minutes, doughnuts will have risen again and are ready to bake.  
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes at 400˚F.  Remove and coat in melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar immediately.  If you are frosting the doughnuts, you can skip the coating but it is fine to do both.
Optional topping: Maple Cream Cheese
  1. Beat 2 teaspoons maple syrup into 3 ounces softened cream cheese.   Dip cinnamon coated doughnuts in topping.
  2. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds tossed with a small amount of vegetable oil and salt, then coated warm from the oven in sugar mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger.
Freeze doughnuts that are not eaten within a day.  Defrost in the refrigerator if you have used the frosting or coat with topping after defrosting.