Humble Pumpkin

Picture of pumpkinsA well-known food identity once told me “Pumpkin doesn’t belong in desserts”. Ironically I had a pumpkin cake as a dessert only two days later in an acclaimed restaurant – and I loved it.

Think about pumpkin pie or pumpkin scones, they’re classics.

I once made a delicious baked pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake – unfortunately it didn’t sell all that well, because the diners were a little apprehensive.

They would have loved it if they had just stepped out of their comfort zones.

Pumpkins can be used either sweet or savoury.

But what are they anyway?

Pumpkins are a member of the ‘gourd’ family, and as far as many Americans are concerned there is only one kind, the one that you make into a jack-o-lantern.

Mostly everything that Australians consider pumpkin is apparently ‘Winter Squash’.

Some countries call them all squash, so wherever it is you live in the world be careful when reading international recipes.

As an Aussie, I’m happy enough to blindly call them all pumpkins.

Pumpkins generally have a sweet orange coloured flesh.

They can be roasted, boiled, steamed or mashed.

Some pumpkins have a tender skin that can be left on and eaten with the flesh, while others need the skin removed.

The seeds can be dried and eaten in salads or just as a snack.

Interesting Ideas for Pumpkin Soup

  • Try adding fruits to the soup, orange juice, mango pulp or my favourite, passionfuit. In my opinion, if an ingredient is orange in colour it goes naturally with pumpkin.
  • Instead of adding cream, use alternatives like natural yoghurt, a dollop of sour cream, coconut milk or Crème Fraiche.
  • Add additional flavours, such as Indian curry powder, Thai red curry or tandoori paste.

Easy As Pumpkin Pie

Start by lining a flan tin or large case with your favourite sweet pastry and blind bake (half cook). To make the filling, measure:

  • 2 cups pumpkin (cooked, cooled and mashed)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp sweet sherry
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  1. Mix all ingredients together and whisk until combined and smooth.
  2. Pour into your pre-baked pastry shell and bake in a moderate oven (approximately 170oC) for about 40 minutes or until set.
  3. It’s best eaten at room temperature and serve with ice-cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!
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