Friday, November 4, 2011

What to Do with a Fifty-Two Pound Pumpkin

What do you do when the Fall Festival is over and you're left with a big, beautiful, fifty-two pound pumpkin?

1) Look at a friend and impulsively say "Let's cook!"

2) Have a friend who is crazy enough to say "Sure!"

3) Spend an evening looking at recipes while your friend is doing the same thing at her place.

4) Get together and spend the day making:

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

We had it for lunch along with the waffles. It was tasty! Leftovers are in both our fridges, and I expect to have it for dinner here.

Alterations and amendments: We neither of us had sherry handy, so we just put in some red wine. Ditto on the cheese; we did without at lunch, but dinner tonight is probably going to feature whatever cheese is in the fridge rather than the actual cheese called for.

Pumpkin waffles

The pumpkin doesn't add much flavor but does make for a really good, soft, moist waffle. I know this because the following exchange occurred as we were sampling the first waffle:

My friend: These are tasty.

Me: Yes.
You know what I forgot?

My friend: What?

Me: Pumpkin.

So then I added the puree to the rest of the waffle batter, and the results were impressive.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

No accidents or incidents marred the baking of this bread which we had with dinner and which I recommend whole-hardheartedly. As with the waffles, the pumpkin doesn't seem to add any flavor but does make for a softer bread. The combination of spices and chocolate is wonderful. Actually--one slight caveat--I know it adds calories, but next time, I'd probably use more chocolate chips.

Alterations and amendments: The recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but since the purpose of the exercise was to use the actual pumpkin sitting in front of us, we used the puree. It worked.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Struesel Buns The bread is very, very soft without having much butter. I may use this as my base for the annual cinnamon rolls this year since it's always a struggle to get a soft enough bun, and I have plenty of puree left.

Sugar-and-nutmeg pumpkin slices, a recipe courtesy of my sister who had her own pumpkin inundation a few days ago. This one is easy: Stack slices of pumpkin sprinkled with sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in the crockpot. Add a little water. Cover and leave on high for 4 hours or on low for 8, give or take.  Serve as is or with additional sugar on the side.

Pumpkin pie I haven't tasted it yet, but it really looked good when I took it out of the oven!

And pumpkin yeast bread using a recipe from The Bread Machine Gourmet. We didn't use the bread machine since both of us wanted loaves. We ended up with three beautiful loaves. They rose splendidly and baked to just the right shade of golden-brown, probably courtesy of the pumpkin. As with the cinnamon rolls, the bread is very soft without being high-butter, so I'd say this is a keeper, at least as long as I have pumpkin puree.

And, yes, I do have pumpkin puree, lots and lots of pumpkin puree. Both of us ended up with big containers full of pumpkin puree which we're now separating out and freezing in smaller containers for later, less intensive baking efforts.

And we didn't quite make it through the whole pumpkin for all of that. The last ten or so pounds are just going to have to go the way of all good things. The local squirrels may get a slice or two, but that's about it.

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