Thursday, October 6, 2011
The No Pumpkin Left Behind Bakery
I haven’t done any baking yet, but as you can clearly see my items are all laid out, and this year gives cause for both trepidation and eagerness to try something I can’t believe I haven’t tried before: making my own pumpkin puree.
I’ll admit it’s the one item I don’t—or didn’t in previous years anyway—mind phoning in; after all, the ingredient list on the back of the can features just one item, “pumpkin”, so you know it’s as pure as the driven snow that’s just a few weeks shy of blanketing us this season.
But let me tell you what’s driving me. I got the idea to make my own pumpkin puree from a new Slow Food Movement Challenge, called “October Unprocessed.” For anyone who’s game, that means that everything you eat should and can—for not too much money—be made from scratch. I think that’s a great idea, except for a cheat day on October 31st when ripping into a Fun Sized Snickers doesn’t seem like the worst of crimes. I won’t tell if you won’t, and just to put this out there now: I do intend to decorate my purest pumpkin desserts with a little candy corn—which is just for show and comes right off, leaving your icing intact.
So there’s that…and the second driving force to gut, bake and scrape 2 smallish pumpkins until my best friend Mr. Food Processor can render them into a creamy paste, is my excitement over kitchen gadgets, or KMHs. To the uninitiated, that’s a Kitchen Must Have, and I’m writing a new cookbook right now that encourages their avid use. From deep fryers, chicken rotisseries, mandolins and food mills, I am all about the KMH. They can cost a lot, yes, but in no time at all they’ve paid for themselves by giving your family superior food and MORE of it. The particular beauty of making your own puree is that you get to keep the pumpkin seeds and roast ‘em later on!
My Homemade Pumpkin Puree (click the link to find out how to do it; I’ve gleaned together my own recipe by reading over scads of others and perfecting my own technique! I’ll post news ASAP on how effective it is. But I can tell you now that it SOUNDS easy!) calls for two midsized pumpkins, and from what I understand they’re going to yield several Ziplock bags of puree—way more than I need for the baked goods I plan on surprising my loved ones with this month. After I use a fraction of the lovely, sweet smelling autumn colored stuff for Pumpkin Apple Muffins and Pumpkin Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting, I’ll have enough left over to freeze for other pumpkin treats further down the road. Plus, I’ll have the added pleasure of getting back with my readers on Facebook and Twitter to let them know if there was much of a difference between the pumpkin confections I’ve made with canned puree vs. the real deal that I mashed up myself.
Can you stand the suspense?
My senses are going to go wild with the scent of ground ginger, clove, cinnamon and allspice. I might actually turn into a pumpkin if I served it with TOP NANA’s seasonal hot toddy of “Pumpkin Pie in a Cup.”
Am I out of my gourd? Stay tuned to find out!