Here are a few recipes and ideas for you to whip up in your kitchen the next time you have a pumpkin or two at hand. This delicious fruit (it has seeds, so technically it’s a fruit) can be adapted to any manner of sweet or savory preparations. Feel free to create your own instant classic! To help guide you on your way, here is a sampling of food matches that pair beautifully with this glorious gourd. Let your palate be your guide.
Apples, Bacon, Banylus, Bourbon, Carrots, Chocolate, Chives, Coconut, Duck, Gruyere, Lobster, Leeks, Marjoram, Onions, Sage, Shallots, Sherry, Shiitakes, Shrimp, White Beans ~ and of course the usual suspects: Butter, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Nuts, Maple Syrup (just to name a few!).
Savory: Lobster & Pumpkin Bisque ~ delicious, satisfying and very rich!
3 or 4 ~ 1 1/4 lb lobsters
2 cups mirepoix of carrot, celery, onion + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups homemade chicken stock (cheat if you must, but use a low~sodium version)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 (or 3 ) cups good white wine (not sweet) if you won’t drink it, don’t use it!
2 good sized sugar pumpkins
1 cup heavy cream ( or more if needed)
Juice of 1 fresh lime, dollop of honey, sea salt, white pepper & sherry to taste
2 knobs of sweet butter, snipped chives, swirl of creme fraiche & sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds.
Method: Briefly steam lobsters, cool, crack, extract meat, chop coarsely, set aside & reserve claws separately. Discard the heads. In large rondo saute the shells and legs w/ mirepoix & evo. Add the liquids & tomato paste, bring to a boil then simmer 30 minutes. Strain, pressing on the solids to extract as much flavour as possible. Set aside.
Cut the pumpkins in 1/2 & de seed. Roast until soft yet “firm to the touch”. Let cool, peel, cube 1/4 pumpkin in to a very tiny dice~ reserve. Place stock back in rondo add remaining pumpkin. Simmer until tender. Puree w/ an immersion blender ( do this right in the pot). Strain thru a chinois return to clean soup pot. Warm on low heat.
In small amount of butter, saute the diced pumpkin, add the chopped lobster until just warm. Season to taste w/sea salt & white pepper. Add to lobster~pump broth, add the lime juice, honey, sherry, heavy cream. Taste! Adjust seasonings. Gently warm claws in small amount of butter. Ladle bisque into warmed bowls. Add a swirl of creme fraiche (I use a squirt bottle), lay claw on top, sprinkle w/ snipped chives & a few toasted slivered almonds. Serve w/ really good crusty bread. Nirvana has been achieved in a bowl.
If you really want to “guild” the lily a few sprinkles of shaved parmesan & drizzle of white truffle oil will take you over the top. Slurp!
Another idea is to make a cassoulet w/white beans, sausage & duck confit. Add cubed roasted pumpkin at the end & garnish w/ toasted pepitas. The pumpkin will add sweetness and a rich depth to the tradtiional flavours.
Sweet: Individual Baked Alaskas ~ A classic.
Bake a dark chocolate cake. Cool. Slice very thin & cut out 3 inch rounds, drizzle w/ grand marnier. Freeze on a baking sheet lined w/ parchment, leave at least 3 inches between rounds. Take cake scraps, pulse coarse in cuisinart, and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake until dry & crunchy. Set aside. Take a large ice cream scoop of fairly pliable pumpkin ice cream. Place on top of frozen cake round. Freeze solid. Remove & roll in “crunchies” to completely cover, pressing them in to the ice cream if necessary. Freeze solid! Whip 4 egg whites w/ pinch of sea salt & cream of tartar. While beating slowly add 4- 5 tbsps of super fine sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Spoon into a pastry bag (smooth round or star tip, your choice) and either pipe all around, starting at the base in a circular pattern to the top (like a beehive) ~ or ~ pipe “porcupine” spikes all over. In any case, make sure ice cream is completely covered! And remember to work fast. Have oven set at 450 degrees, bake 4-5 minutes until meringue is golden brown. Serve immediately w/ butterscotch sauce and a few raspberries & mint sprig. If you are worried about the ice cream leaking, assemble the Alaskas in individual ramekins & pipe meringue on top. Dig In!
Or ~ make a pumpkin noodle kugel w/ cognac plumped golden raisins and julienned apples. Use a round cake pan, lined w/ parchment, unmold upside down, glaze w/ apricot jam, cut into wedges & serve w/ espresso anglaise sauce. And really good coffee.