Monday morning is a little sweeter with strong tea & toast topped with Pumpkin Butter.
Pumpkins. For starters, orange is my very favorite color, so anytime I get to make something with pumpkins, kumquats or carrots, I am twice as happy.
There are countless varieties of pumpkins, grown for lots of different reasons, but let's just talk about the ones I like to use for cooking & eating.
Some of the best-known types for cooking have names that remind me of whiskey and old Westerns: Buckskin, Dickinson Field, Kentucky Field, and Cushaw. I used Sugar Pie pumpkins, because that's what they had at the market the day I was there.
No, I didn't need the soup. The can is there for scale. A 2 pound pumpkin, like the one pictured above, yields about 2 cups of gorgeous flesh, after being baked.
First, cut the pumpkins in half, and scoop out the insides.
(Consider saving the seeds for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)
Put those halves cut-side down on a baking sheet.
Cover tightly with foil
Bake about one hour at 375 degrees.
When you remove them from the oven and flip them over, they should be nice & soft, and ready to fall out of their skins.
Scoop out the filling. You should get about 1 cup of filling per half.
Add the pumpkin to a heavy-bottomed pan, add sugar, spices, apple cider, fresh lemon zest & juice, and cook over low heat, for about one hour. Sometimes this mixture sticks a bit, so it needs to be stirred often*.
Midway through the cooking, puree it with a stick blender.
I like to puree it halfway through cooking, and again briefly right before I spoon it into jars.
When the puree is thick enough that you can run a spoon through the pumpkin butter and see the bottom of the pan, it's ready to spoon into jars and stick in the fridge or freezer. Even though many reputable cookbooks have recipes for canning Pumpkin Butter, it is not advisable and can make you very sick.
It probably goes without saying that Pumpkin Butter** is delicious on any kind of toasted breads, English muffins, biscuits, bagels or scones. Other creative ways to use Pumpkin Butter include:
- Spooning it over plain or vanilla yogurt, or cottage cheese.
- Warming it slightly and then spreading it over pancakes and waffles. (Try stirring some Pumpkin Butter into your usual syrup...ooh la la.)
- As a filling for turnovers. Just buy some pre-made frozen puff pastry or pie dough and you've got a quick and yummy dessert.
- Serving it next to a wedge of Brie and hearty crackers.
- Topping your oatmeal with it, then sprinkle with toasted nuts.
- Spreading it over the top of a pork tenderloin, before popping it in the oven. The sweetness of the pumpkin is wonderful paired with pork.
Pumpkin Butter is full of vitamins, minerals and it's fat-free too!
*Check out my section on Fruit Butters for other ways to cook the mixture, including baking it in the oven, simmering it on the stovetop or slow-cooking in a crockpot.
**Click on the link for a printable recipe, or just click HERE!