Friday, October 30, 2009

Pimpin' the Pumpkin

Well, it's finally arrived - the eve pumpkins all around the world fear from when they're nothing but flower buds on the vine! It's the night before Hallowe'en, and here, it's when everyone in my household crowds around our kitchen table, and armed with a variety of somewhat battered, tarnished knives (and sometimes a pasta spoon or two for the really thick-walled ones) we proceed to inflict massive carnage upon the poor orange vegetables.

Of course, pumpkins don't just exist around here for carving into various miscreants - though if you are my sister, you delight in that sort of thing... this year was "attack of the zombie" themed. In the kitchen, at least, I embrace this time of year by cranking up the oven for a good week or so to churn out anything my wee brain (and even wee-er muscles) can handle. So in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, Samhain, and good old candy-grabbin' Hallowe'en, I've got three recipes - yup, a whole THREE of 'em - for you! Of course with cans of pumpkin puree lining the shelves (pumpkin shortage? Apparently our shops didn't get that memo!) it's just as simple to make these same things in the middle of May. It just might not feel the same to eat them with a glass of iced tea than with some hot mulled cider!

The first thing I whipped up was (suprise, suprise) a quickbread of sorts - subtly spiced, with a hint of fruity sweetness from both banana and pockets of dates and raisins! I added some rich, toasted pecans to the batter too, and taking a cue from a recipe in Cooking Light I even added cornmeal with my usual psyllium husk "spike" for some added texture.

Banana - Pumpkin Loaf With Dried Fruits And Pecans
Serves 12
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup psyllium
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp powder
2 tsp soda
1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 banana
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
80g dates
85g raisins
100g chopped pecans

  1. Heat oven to 350ยบ F, and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, psyllium fibre, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, mash together the banana and pumpkin puree, then stir in soy milk, oil and brown sugar until well blended.
  4. Stir in the dry mixture until just combined, then fold in the dates, raisins and pecans.
  5. Bake 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning onto a wire rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving

Calories: 268.8
Total Fat: 11.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 61.3 mg
Total Carbs: 40.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.2 g
Protein: 4.0 g

Of course, I couldn't do just one loaf - they're so easy to whip together and they are such a great use-up for random ingredients, after all! Since everyone in our house has had the flu at least once so far (with the exception of my stepbrother, who seems to be irritatingly immune to such things) we have a good deal of ginger and related gingery things stashed around our house. This includes a rather embarassingly large amount of ginger ale, which luckily for me works great as a sweet replacement for beer in a traditional "beer bread" type of concoction like the one I made from my mom's old, 25-cent "Bread Book". Instead of 1/2 a cup of melted butter in the recipe, I used the same amount of pumpkin, and added a couple tablespoons of oil for a bit more lightness to the texture. The resulting loaf was quite cakey due to the soda content but not at all cloyingly sweet, it was actually used as a lunch side for my mom and stepdad.

Ginger Ale Pumpkin Bread
Serves 10
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 cups ginger ale (not diet)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9×5" loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together oil, brown sugar, pumpkin and fresh ginger.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir briefly, then pour in the ginger ale and mix until just combined.
  5. Bake 55-60 minutes, until tests done. Cool 10 minutes in pan before unmoulding onto a rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 206.2
Total Fat: 4.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 6.4 mg
Total Carbs: 37.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 4.4 g

The only "problem" (and I put it in quotes because it's only a problem if you make it one!) that seems to always arise around here when making anything from a can is the inevitable tablespoon or two left over that the recipe beforehand simply refused to take into account. What the heck are we supposed to do with such a teeny bit of anything, let alone plain ol' canned pumpkin? Well, luckily I happened upon Stef's recipe at Cupcake Project for Pumpkin Graham Crackers, which lo and behold use those last 2 tablespoons up! Not having the graham flour called for in her recipe, though, I ad-libbed a blend of whole wheat flour and spelt bran (you can certainly use wheat or oat bran too), which worked perfectly fine for me. It's not vegan, since I still used honey in the dough for the whole traditional "grahamy" flavour, but if you want to veganize it I'm sure agave, light molasses or even corn syrup would work just fine!

Jolly Roger Pumpkin Grahams
Makes 36 squares, though I cut some of mine into Jolly Rogers!
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup wheat or spelt bran
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 oz Earth Balance "Buttery Sticks" margarine (or butter), softened
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
6 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, place 2 cookie sheets in the freezer to chill.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, salt and flaxseed. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water in a small dish, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the Earth Balance, pumpkin, and sugar.
  5. Add the cornstarch mixture and the honey, stirring well.
  6. Add the flour mixture, blending thoroughly. The dough should be fairly stiff (at least manageable).
  7. On a well floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8".
  8. Cut out squares (or other shapes) and place on the cold, ungreased cookie sheets.
  9. Bake 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the sheets set on racks. They will harden as they cool.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 47.2
Total Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 9.0 mg
Total Carbs: 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.0 g

3 comments :

strawberrytoast said...

Nice work Sarah!! Great recipes too. Love the carve into miscreants reference, gave me a chuckle. Pics look mouth watering! Yum.

Bellini Valli said...

They all sound good Sarah!!!! Happy Hallowe'en!!!

kat said...

Have a great Halloween. All your pumpkin treats sound great!