Pumpkin puree is used to
make this sweet, moist, and flavorful quick bread. What sets this
bread apart is a layer of cream cheese filling.
Pumpkin Cookies have a
wonderfully soft and spongy texture and taste of pumpkin and its
complementary spices (ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves).
Absolutely delicious with a cream cheese frosting.
combines two American favorites; New York style cheesecake and
pumpkin pie. It is the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving.
A buttery moist
cake flavored with pumpkin, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and
aromatic spices. Excellent plain, but even better with a Cream
Pumpkin desserts start to
enter my thoughts as soon as the heat of summer fades. Its sweet earthy
flavor and dense fibrous texture is well suited for the baked goods we make
during the cool temperatures of Fall and Winter. I love how adding pumpkin
puree to muffin, scone, cake, pie, square, and quick bread batters turns
them a lovely
golden brown color and provides a moist dense texture.
All of the Pumpkin Dessert Recipes below call
for pure pumpkin (puree). You can use either homemade pumpkin puree or
canned pure pumpkin. Just make sure if using the canned product you buy
plain pure pumpkin (puree), not pumpkin pie filling, which has sugar and
spices already added.
If you want to make your own
pumpkin puree you need to use the small Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese
Pumpkins (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 kg.) which are sweeter and
less fibrous than the larger pumpkins we typically use for
jack-o'-lanterns. When choosing pumpkins look for ones that feel solid and
are heavy for their size, free of blemishes, cracks, and soft spots. Once
you are ready to make the puree; cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove
seeds and stringy fibers, and place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4
hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Then scoop
out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. You can then strain
the puree through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to extract all the
liquid. Make sure to cool the puree before using.
A four to five pound pumpkin yields
about 4 1/2 cups mashed. Just for your information, a 15 ounce (425 grams) can of
pure pumpkin yields about 1 3/4 cups. If you have any leftover pumpkin
puree you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for
about two weeks or freeze it for about six months.
In North America, a sweet
pumpkin dessert is usually flavored with some combination of ground spices.
All the spices used have an aroma that is warm and fragrant, yet each has
its own distinctive flavor. Ground cinnamon is
usually the primary spice and Jill
Norman in her excellent book "Herbs & Spices" describes
cinnamon accurately "a
warm, agreeably sweet, woody aroma that is delicate yet intense; the taste
is fragrant and warm with hints of clove and citrus". Other spices
include a blend of ground ginger (peppery with subtle lemon flavor), cloves
(rich and spicy), allspice (peppery combination of cloves, cinnamon and
nutmeg), and/or nutmeg (woody).
While you can follow the spice amounts given in the recipes exactly, there
is wiggle room to alter the amounts and types of spices. This is especially
true when it comes to ground cloves. This spice has a rich, warm and spicy
flavor that is unmistakable. If you are a person who doesn't like it, just
leave it out. The important thing is to use it sparingly as it can easily
overpower other spices. Also, there are recipes that call for Pumpkin Pie or
Mixed Spice. This is a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice and
nutmeg. To make your own (one teaspoon) combine 1/2 teaspoon ground
cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/8
teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg.
Another point about ground
spices is that they have a fairly short shelf life, often just a few months.
So it is best to buy in small quantities from a bulk food store that has a
high turnover. Store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
Store them away from heat so it is not a good idea to store them by the
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