Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweet Pumpkin, Sweep good, so good

In October 2004 I was convinced that because I fed my family nothing but Fenway Franks for a week, the Boston Red Sox made history and swept the World Series, clinching the title after 86 years of waiting.

This year I wasn't quite so willing to make that extreme of a sacrifice. We've eaten well this week.

Luckily, it didn't seem to make a difference. We swept in four and the sounds of Sweet Caroline could be heard on the streets of Denver. What a great time to be a Red Sox fan.

The series started with a rather ho hum start... oh, there goes another run. To entertain myself, I decided to bake a whole pumpkin. Check out A Veggie Venture blog for How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin A very simple process. Easy to do while catching bits of the game. Two small pumpkins resulted in enough processed fresh puree to make a couple of loaves of pumpkin bread and, my old stand-by, Maple Pumpkin Pie.

Good thing too, because the subsequent games became more tense and the meals more sparse. No pictures to show of the pie because it disappeared too quickly. I did not make pie crust from scratch this time around... a few too many distractions. Using maple syrup with pumpkin makes a great pie filling. Normally I would use a can of puree and found that the fresh pumpkin provided a much lighter taste.

Some may not think it is worth the effort to prepare fresh puree, but I thought it was a fun way to spend a cold October night.

Pumpkin Bread with Raisins
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 3/4 c fresh pumpkin puree (or 1 15 oz can)
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup golden raisins

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper. Grease paper and pans, dust with flour, tapping out excess.

Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the oil, orange juice and pumpkin and beat just to mix.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice into a medium bowl. With mixer on lowest speed, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix just until it forms a smooth batter.

With a rubber spatula, stir the raisins into the batter. If you want to add nuts, add now. Pour the batter into the pans.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If the bread is browning too quickly on top, cover with piece of foil, shiny side down.

Set the pans on a rack to cool slightly, then turn the breads out of the pan and set them right side up to cool completely before serving.

Makes 2 loaves. Adapted from The Way We Cook

Maple Pumpkin Pie

One single crust pie shell, prebaked

3 large eggs
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup pure maple syrup, preferably dark
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree

Beat the eggs lightly in a medium-size bowl. Whisk in the cream, maple syrup, and vanilla. Combine the brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Add the pumpkin and blend well with a whisk. Carefully pour the filling into the cooked pie shell.

Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 25 minutes, then rotate the pie 180 degrees, so that the part that was facing the back of the oven now faces forward. Continue to bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes. When the pie is done, the center will not be soupy and the outer area will have puffed a little. The edges of the pie will have a slight sheen, although the center portion may not. Transfer to wire rack. Pie will settle once cooled a bit. Serve warm or a room temperature. You can also cover with foil and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with a garnish of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Lydia said...

Ah, it's a good week to be a Bostonian....!

T.W. Barritt said...

I'm dying to make a maple pumpkin pie! This week I made a maple pumpkin pudding which might be like the pie without the crust. I've not roasted a whole pumpkin in a long time - when we we're kids we had a roasted pumpkin stuffed with nuts, raisins and spices.