Several years ago, I decided I wanted to use fresh pumpkin in my pumpkin dessert recipes. So, I figured out an easy way to bake a fresh pumpkin and how to prepare it to use for baking.
The first time I baked a pumpkin, I was unaware of the fact that there were special pumpkins just for this purpose. They are actually called “baking pumpkins” and they are smaller and sweeter than the average pumpkin. However, I have to say that my desserts still came out GREAT even though I used a standard pumpkin for making my desserts.
Now that I know about the special “baking pumpkins” that is what I use for baking. Here is how I bake and prepare my pumpkins:
– Preheat the oven to 350*
– Rinse off the pumpkin.
– Slice it in half and remove all seeds.
– Prepare a jelly roll pan by covering it with no-stick foil.Bake pumpkin with the cut side facing down for 1 hour.
– After 1 hour it should be soft to the touch. If it is not “mushy” cook for 10-20 more minutes.
– You do not have to cover the pumpkin.
When pumpkin is “mushy”:
– Scoop out the flesh and with ½ teaspoon of salt, puree in a blender or food processor.
– Bake your pies using the pumpkin.
– Pureed pumpkin can also be frozen, airtight for later use.
Now for the good stuff! Here are several pumpkin recipes for you to make with your fresh pumpkin puree. However, if you do not want to use fresh pumpkin, all of the recipes can be made with canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 pack of instant pudding, vanilla
1 cup pumpkin pie filling
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chunks, semi sweet or white*
Pre-heat oven to 375*.
Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin and pudding.
Beat in your eggs and then add your dry ingredients (batter will be stiff).
Drop by spoonfuls onto greased or no-stick foil lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
* If you have chocolate chips, they will also work well with this recipe.
Nothing better than pumpkin coffee to start your day!
1-2 tbs. canned pumpkin
1-2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup strong coffee
Sugar to taste
In a saucepan, heat milk and pumpkin until steaming. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
Put mixture in a blender until thick and foamy. Pour into a mug and add coffee. Add sugar and enjoy!
Pumpkin Pie Bars
These bars are creamy and full of great fall flavors! In addition to the pumpkin, the pumpkin pie spice really adds the “fall” flare to these dessert bars.
1/4 cup sugar, heaping
5 Tbsp margarine, softened
1 cup flour
1 can pumpkin (15 ounces)
5 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp margarine, melted
Mix all ingredients for crust together in a bowl. Blend with a fork until crumbly.
Press into a non-stick foil lined 9×13 baking dish.
Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.
While crust is baking, prepare filling. In a bowl mix eggs, pumpkin, milk, sugar and spice intil well mixed.
Pour into crust.
Bake for 10 minutes.
While baking prepare topping. Mix together flour and sugar. Add margarine and blend with a fork until crumbly.
After 10 minutes, sprinkle topping over bars and return to oven to bake for 20 more minutes. Bars will bake for 30 minutes total.
These turnovers are so easy to make! They also make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table! You can make these in place of or in addition to a pumpkin pie!
1 Refrigerated pie crust
½ Cup canned pumpkin
1/3 Cup brown sugar
1 Tsp. almond or vanilla extract
½ Tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Smidgen of salt
½ Cup powdered sugar
½ Tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp. milk
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the crust onto a foil lined cookie sheet. (Crust works best at unrolling when it is at room temperature; if any holes form in the crust, just press the dough back together with your fingertips)
In a medium sized bowl, mix together pumpkin, brown sugar, extract, pumpkin pie spice & salt.
Spoon the mixture onto ½ of the crust.
Fold crust over the mixture.
Go around the edges of the crust with a fork to seal them together. (This will prevent your fabulous filling from spilling out onto the pan)
Bake turnover for about 25 minutes.
While the turnover is baking, prepare your icing.
Mix the powdered sugar, extract & milk in a small bowl. Let it sit until turnover is ready.
With a spoon, drizzle the icing over the turnover while it is still warm.
If you like nuts, sprinkle some that are chopped over the icing as soon as you drizzle it over the turnover.
Almonds, pecans and walnuts would work well with this recipe!
Using a knife, cut into triangular slices, like a pizza pie, serve warm and enjoy!