Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

 October 26: National Pumpkin Day

Pumpkin pie is popular around this time of the year, with Halloween and Thanksgiving coming soon. Besides putting pumpkin in desserts, we also prepare it in a pot of soup when we want to eat something simple yet spicy to warm us up on a cool fall day. This quick and easy recipe uses fat-free and low-sodium ingredients, making it healthier for harvest-style meals. Savor a spiced pumpkin soup this season and on National Pumpkin Day.

Recipe
(Adapted from Parade newsmagazine via Dash Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5-6 pods of cardamom (or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom); discard pods before pureeing soup in the blender
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth (use fat-free, low sodium broth)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk (use fat-free)
  • plain yogurt (use plain fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • cilantro or parsley leaves (optional garnish)

Directions

Chop the onions and mince the garlic cloves. Set aside. In a stock pot, heat the oil.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Saute the onion and garlic until the onions are soft. Stir in the curry powder, cumin and cardamom.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Pour in the chicken broth.  Add the pumpkin and mix well. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the evaporated milk and adjust the spices.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Transfer in batches to a blender. Puree then return to the pot to reheat. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with plain yogurt and cilantro or parsley leaves  (optional).

Spiced Pumpkin Soup 

Notes

  • Search our blog for more soup recipes and posts containing pumpkin as an ingredient.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

October 21: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

We always enjoyed fall at the farms when we lived in northern Illinois for five years. During the harvest season, the farmers would host festivals and open houses to showcase their bounty of vegetables. We had fun sampling the ciders and hot cocoa, buying fresh-baked pies and other goodies at the country-style marketplace, watching people get lost in the corn maze and purchasing a pumpkin for Halloween.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Highlander would carve jack-o-lanterns out of it instead of pureeing the pumkin for pies, soups and cakes (although once in a while, he would roast the seeds for a snack). We just use the convenient canned pumpkin in recipes, such as cheesecake. We make them mini-sized to share at social gatherings during the season. Mini pumpkin cheesecakes are perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving and especially on National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Karo Syrup)

Ingredients

  • 24 gingersnap cookies
  • 1 ½ (12 ounces) blocks of cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup (we used Karo brand)
  • whipped cream (we used Cool Whip brand)

Directions

Place a gingersnap cookie on the bottom of 24 cupcake liners. In a large bowl, cream the cheese with the sugar and corn starch until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin pie spice. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Blend in the corn syrup. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. Tap the bottom of the muffin tins to let the batter settle smoothly.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until firm or for at least an hour. Garnish with whipped cream (optional).

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Notes

  • Illinois is among the top pumpkin-producing states in America. The town of Morton, home to the Nestle brand pumpkin packing plant (and where more than 90% of canned pumpkins eaten in the country are processed), is known as the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”
  • The pumpkins pictured above are from Randy’s Vegetables. We have also visited Kuiper’s Family Farm and other pumpkin patches in the past while living in Illinois.
  • Search our blog for other pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

December 25: National Pumpkin Pie Day

Although pumpkin pie is a prominent dessert on Thanksgiving, it also is appropriate on Christmas, especially when a tasty traditional turkey is served instead of ham or roast beef. In fact, pumpkie pie is mentioned in at least three Christmas songs, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

We prefer to prepare our pumpkin pie from semi-scratch (the pumpkin puree is canned and the deep-dish crust is frozen) a day or two before the big feast day to minimize any last-minute mania in the kitchen. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy National Pumpkin Pie Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Libby’s)

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) canned pure pumpkin (we used Libby’s brand)
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie crust

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the canned pumpkin. Gradually add the sugar and spice mixture and blend everything well.

Pumpkin Pie

Add the evaporated milk and mix well.  Pour into the pie crust. Put the pie on a baking sheet and line the edge with foil or pie crust shields to prevent overbrowning. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 40-50 minutes (use a toothpick in the center to test for doneness). Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate to set. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

Pumpkin Pie

Notes

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

Pumpkins are popular during the autumn season. With today being National Pumpkin Day, Halloween only a few days away and Thanksgiving in just another month, there are plenty of opportunities to put pumpkin in a recipe!

For this particular post about pumpkins, we chose chocolate chips and pureed pumpkin to make muffins. But we also use the batter to bake it in a pumpkin-shaped pan for parties and potlucks. Prepare pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins as festive fare for the fall holidays.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor)

For the muffins

  • 1 box (17.8 ounces) chocolate chip muffin mix
(we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, place the muffin mix and pumpkin pie spice. Make a well in the middle and add the canned pumpkin, milk and egg. With a large spoon or spatula, blend well.  Scoop into a greased muffin tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and let cool for about five minutes in the muffin tin. Transfer muffins to a wire rack. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar (optional).  Yield: A dozen muffins.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Bonus Recipe

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake

For the 3D pumpkin cake

Mix the muffin ingredients listed above except for the powdered sugar. Pour into a greased standup pumpkin-shaped cake pan to the rim of the bottom half. Cover with the top half of the pan, tying with kitchen twine to secure the cake in place as it bakes in the oven.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake

Place foil or another pan on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any leaking grease or cake batter. Place the pumpkin pan on the top rack. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for one hour. Remove from the oven. Cut the twine off and remove the top half of the pan carefully. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in the bottom half of the pan on a wire rack to cool for five minutes. Invert the cake onto the top half of the pan and leave it on the wire rack to cool completely (approximately six-to-eight hours). Remove from the pan. Stand up the pumpkin on a platter or a sturdy cake board. Make the frosting.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese (we used fat-free cream cheese)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water
  • orange food coloring (we used Wilton brand gel paste)
  • green tube frosting (we used Wilton brand)

Directions

In a mixer or mixing bowl, cream the cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Mix well until the desired frosting consistency is reached, thinning with water as necessary. Tint the frosting with orange food coloring, mixing thoroughly until evenly colored. Refrigerate the frosting to thicken slightly.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake

We used a star tip to pipe the entire surface of the pumpkin cake with orange and green frosting. We decorated the face with various candies.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake

Notes

  • We doubled the recipe of the pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins to fill a pumpkin-shaped cake pan. Leftover batter was used to bake the muffins.
  • Thanks to a community of Marianist brothers for the gift of the retired Wilton standup pumpkin pan, which is now considered an antique collectible.
  • Search our blog for other posts about pumpkin recipes.

Tarte à la Citrouille Sainte-Marthe

Pumpkin Pie St. Martha

Pumpkin Pie St. Martha

July 29: Feast Day of St. Martha

St. Martha is the patron saint of cooks! She tried her best to be the “hostess with the mostess” and hospitable to the holiest of house guests, Jesus, and was upset that her sister, Mary, didn’t offer much help with the preparations (Luke 10:38-42). St. Martha appears again in Scriptures serving dinner in the Lord’s honor just two days before His Last Supper (John 12:2).

We can relate to the ever-dutiful St. Martha wanting to make sure our family and guests are well fed. But we need to be reminded that we should be nourished not only physically but spiritually as well—as we do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deuternomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4).

Now taste and see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 34:8) and make some mini pumpkin pies for the Feast Day of St. Martha.

Recipe

(Adapted from Cooking with the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf)

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée, unsweetened
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 ½ envelopes) gelatin/gélatine
  • pie crust, pre-baked (we used Keebler brand graham cracker Ready Crust minis)

Directions

Remove the pie crust from its packaging and bake according to the manufacturer’s directions. For the mini-pie crusts we used for this recipe, we brushed egg whites on them and baked in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for five minutes to seal in the graham cracker crumbs and give it a little shine. Let the crusts cool while preparing the pumpkin pie filling. Whip the egg whites until peaks form and then add 1/3 cup of sugar until stiff and shiny. Set aside.

Pumpkin Pie St. Martha

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar. Blend in the pumpkin purée, milk, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and  nutmeg, mixing until smooth. Pour the mixture into a double boiler and cook for about five minutes or until the mixture thickens. In a cup, dissolve the gelatin into the cold water and stir. Add this to the pumpkin mixture and mix until smooth.

Pumpkin Pie St. Martha

Let the pumpkin mixture cool to room temperature. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour the mixture into the pie crusts. Refrigerate for at least four hours or until the pies are firm. Yield: Approximately one pie or a dozen mini pies.

Pumpkin Pie St. Martha

Notes

  • This recipe originates from Québec, Canada. See the French language recipe here.