Pumpkin time

Autumn is in the air, and it is finally pumpkin time.

Americans love pumpkins in the autumn. Starbucks finally introduced pumpkin spice lattes to London this year, and the barista at Camden Town Starbucks told me they are really popular, and that all the expats are buying them.

I have been known to plan a trip to the US around availability of key seasonal drinks (shamrock shake anyone?) so am very pleased to have pumpkin spice lattes here too.

So, what can one do with pumpkins? Well, firstly, carve them into awesomeness.

This year’s creepy spider pumpkin

When you scoop out the pumpkin guts, separate the seeds from the stringy bits and you can make roasted pumpkin seeds. No need to remove the shells as you won’t notice them once they’ve been roasted. This year I tried lime and garlic seeds. The lime was a bit overpowering, so I think next year I’ll try a variation with Japanese flavours. A touch of wasabi could be really tasty.

This is how to extricate fresh pumpkin guts into baking and cooking-ready pumpkin.

If you use the standard American tinned pumpkin (Libby’s is a popular brand that you can get at Budgens), your pumpkin puree will already be ready to go.

I had one tin of Libby’s to work from. At the beginning of the week I used half in Hummingbird bakery recipe pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and put cling film over the rest til the end of the week, which I used in pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter. It kept well. (P.S. you can actually make your own pumpkin spice lattes with the same tinned pumpkin)

Pumpkin gnocchi swimming in sage butter, garnished with fresh sage and freshly grated parmesan

I was surprised that pumpkin gnocchi was so easy to make. I used 00 flour, the kind normally recommended for pizzas, instead of the half white, half wheat mixture in the recipe. It gave it a lovely texture. And it was devoured quickly.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

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