Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Month: Part 1

Well it's October, and as you've seen from my previous post, I LOVE fall. Besides the fabulous weather and getting to wear some long sleeved clothes and new colors (though let's be honest, it won't be cool in Texas for a few more months!), the best part is the fall food. I absolutely love pumpkins so I've decided to make this the month of the pumpkin in my house. That being said, I've challenged myself to purchase a pumpkin a week to enjoy as decoration and then carve up and use in a recipe.

For week one, I purchased a cute little sugar pie pumpkin, which I'd heard are great for cooking. Surprisingly enough, this guy produced about 2 cups of pumpkin puree. I was a little nervous about my first pumpkin carving (that didn't involve making faces!) so while it took a little time and muscle, the result was homemade pumpkin bliss.

I actually found a great pumpkin cookbook (A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas) at Williams Sonoma last weekend, which is where I got my recipe for week 1 of pumpkin month: Orange-Frosted Pumpkin Muffins.

Orange-Frosted Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup pumpkin puree, homemade**
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup golden raisins

Orange Frosting:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate (I used fresh orange juice)

**To make homemade pumpkin puree, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut open pumpkin lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane. Then cut into slices and peel off skin. Cut into 1 inch pieces and bake in a greased baking dish about 45 minutes to an hour. Cool briefly then pulse in a food processor until desired consistency is reached.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and molasses. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until creamy. Add the pumpkin and eggs and beat until smooth. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture along with the raisins and mix just until incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each almost to the rim, and smooth the tops. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly, then turn the muffins out and let cool completely in their liners on the rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a small bowl, beat together the confectioners' sugar, butter and orange juice. Spread over the cooled muffins. Decorate with the dried fruit, chocolate chips, candies and sprinkles as you like. Serve at room temperature.

These turned out moist and refreshing, a great dessert or even breakfast (great way to start out a Monday with a pumpkin spice latte!)

Be on the lookout for the next pumpkin creation. What's your favorite use of pumpkin?


KMac said...

I'm salivating.

BTW: molasses is totally underrated

Anonymous said...

These look sooo good!

Anonymous said...

I read you are a mango fan...have you checked out the HUGE mangoes they have at Central Market right now? Extremely sweet and lots of meat. This was at the Westgate Central Market.

Chris said...

favorite use of pumpkin? muffins, cheesecake, bread, toasted seeds....give it to me all!!

Gabby said...

I want one! Reading your blog always makes me want to cook/bake. But then I go into my kitchen, realize I don't have a dishwasher and the that desire quickly fades :(