Pumpkin is pretty naturally sweet, so don’t be bashful with the salt and cheese.
4-5 c/1-1.25 L vegetable broth
2 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
500 g arborio or carnaroli rice
0.5 c/100 mL dry white wine
1 c/225 mL pumpkin purée
1 t dried thyme
1 t ground black pepper
salt to taste
2 T butter
1 c/225 g grated Parmesan, divided
Heat oil in large deep skillet to medium and bring broth to a low simmer. Sauté shallots and garlic until tender and fragrant. Add rice and stir until coated with oil and starting to smell toasty. Add wine and stir until mostly evaporated. Start adding broth by ladleful, stirring constantly. When the pan starts to look dry, add another ladle of broth. After adding about half of the broth, add the pumpkin, thyme and pepper. Taste and add salt, if needed. Keep adding broth until it’s gone. Once all broth is in, remove skillet from heat, stir in butter and half of cheese thoroughly, cover skillet and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with cheese for sprinkling.
Time for the yearly pumpkin explosion! We finally depleted our stock of the orange stuff that had been lingering in the freezer for the past two years. While processing the new batch, I realized that I’d linked to a thing that I kind of no longer use. See, I’ve processed enough pumpkins now that I have my own way of doing it. Give it a shot! If it works for you, great; if not, fire up the Google. There are a plethora of other methods that might be better for the kind of cook you are.
You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan), at least one small, firm pie pumpkin or hokkaido pumpkin (try to get one that is smaller than your knife), a food processor with a feed tube and 1 cup of cold water and maybe a pair of rubber gloves (pumpkin leaves a grody film on your hands, sometimes even after washing). Preheat your oven to 350° F/175° C.
Cut up your pumpkin. Start by slicing off the stem end so that you have a nice, flat plane. Set the pumpkin on the cut side so that it is stable, then slice down, halving it longitudinally. Next, halve the halves longitudinally again, then halve the quarters latitudinally. You should have 8 triangular wedges. Gently scrape out the seeds, strings and spongy tissue with a large spoon and set aside. You can clean, season and roast the seeds if that’s your jam.
Arrange the pumpkin wedges skin side down on the baking sheet and bake for 45-90 minutes. Depending on how thick the flesh is, you might need the whole time. The cut edges might brown or blacken a little – this is totally fine. After 45 minutes, check doneness by inserting a thin knife into the flesh – if it slides in easily, it’s done. If you get any resistance, let them go longer and test in 10-15 minute increments. When they’re done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely, at least 1-2 hours.
Fit your food processor with the blade attachment. With a large spoon, scrape the pumpkin flesh into the bowl of the processor and discard the skin. You may need to do this in batches – a good guideline regardless of size is to fill your bowl to a little over half (maximum) with flesh. Attach the lid and turn the processor on to medium-low. If there’s enough moisture in the pumpkin, it should slowly purée into a uniform texture, moving around the bowl with no help. If it’s too dry and seizes up, add water a tablespoon at a time to loosen the pumpkin and (only while turned off!) reposition the chunks with your spatula to get it move into the blade. Once with a particularly dry pumpkin, I had to add a full cup of water to get it to smooth out. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure it’s uniform, then portion into airtight containers. Purée will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (it molds quickly) and in the freezer indefinitely (the smart thing to say is 6 months, but we ate two-year old pumpkin last month and it was perfect).
I made a lot of pumpkin purée last fall, which took up residence in the freezer. In an effort to continue the meat detox from our KC trip and clear out some of the longer-term freezer occupants, finally got to try this recipe. As I already have neutral pumpkin purée (so I can go sweet or savory), I changed a few aspects of the original and the recipe below will reflect what I did.
This risotto has a texture that is completely extraordinary. As in many things involving pumpkin, it’s subtly sweet and velvety. While cooking, it becomes much saucier than I’m used to. I think that makes it extra important that you let it rest, covered and off the burner, after finishing.
2 T olive oil
2 large or 3 small shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 c/500 g arborio rice
1 c white wine
1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 t dried thyme
5-6 c/1.25-1.5 l chicken or vegetable broth (must be at a simmer when added to rice)
1 c/250 g pumpkin purée
1 c/250 g grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 T butter
In a wide, deep lidded skillet, heat oil to medium. Sauté the shallots and garlic to just tender, then add rice to skillet, stirring frequently and coating well with oil.
Add white wine to skillet and, stirring constantly, cook until liquid is almost completely cooked off. Add pepper and thyme, lower heat to low, stir and start adding broth by the ladle. When one ladleful cooks off, add another, stirring all the time.
When about two thirds of the broth is added, stir in the pumpkin purée. The texture will change and the sauce will become quite thick and possibly splattery. Right before the last broth addition, turn the burner off and add the cheese and butter.
After stirring in the last bit of broth, put the lid on the skillet, take it off the hot burner and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie. Moving to Germany and having to make the puree ourselves (really, it’s not that hard) has raised my appreciation for that pie. It’s strongly connected with the season…but wouldn’t it be nice to have a slice in July? Continue reading Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Continuing in our series of KitchenAid glory basking, this weekend we thawed out some of our pumpkin puree (most often used in pies), and equipped with all the right stuff (thanks Cheryl!), we made a batch of pumpkin ice cream and tried our hand at fettucine.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
We wanted to stick to the recipes in the ice cream maker’s instructions, but quickly discovered (remembered?) that Germany’s dairy products hierarchy don’t match up to the U.S. or British ones. If we can get Light, Heavy, Single or Double cream here in Germany, we haven’t yet found where. Thus we are limited to recipes requiring Whipping Cream (or Half-and-Half, which we can simulate through a conversion Sarah found online).
So Sarah dug up this one, requiring only whipping cream. It’s kind of hard to pour ice cream batter into the freeze bowl with the moving dasher WITHOUT glooping over the side of the bowl a little.
Fresh out of the freeze bowl after about 20 minutes of dashing, it had a lovely soft-serve-like consistency. 6 hours later at pal Matt’s house, it had the firmer texture — better for scooping — I prefer. The flavor was outstanding — this is what I want my pumpkin pies to taste like, except it was ice cream. Therefore: make and freeze enough pumpkin puree so that you can get your pumpkinny dessert on in the summer, when you can’t be bothered to turn on the oven.
We often skip steps in recipes calling for mesh straining, but it was a good idea in this case, to make sure no accidental egg bits (though I think we tempered the eggs better this time than in earlier attempts) or spice chunks from the custard made their way into the final product.
Having finished off that batch of goodness, it was time for us to tackle our first semolina pasta. Sarah acquired our primary ingredient from the local fancy market (Sarik, am Kassiansplatz, if you know your way around Regensburg’s Altstadt).
The standard recipe included with our pasta-making attachments was surprisingly easy. Basically: throw eggs, oil, water, flour and salt into the mixer bowl and mix for 30 seconds with the paddle on the lowest speed setting.
Switch out the paddle for the kneading hook and let it knead for 2 minutes for you on the lowest speed setting. Our mixer struggled a bit at times; I think the lowest speed is a little too low for that mass of dough.
Then knead by hand a few minutes.
Next, cut your kneaded dough ball into more manageable pieces. The instructions say 8 lumps, which made for some pretty long flat sheets of noodles.
16 lumps (on a spaghetti attempt the same day) made for shorter sheets, which were much easier to handle, but shorter noodles after running through the cutter. 12 lumps is probably the ideal compromise between flat sheet handle-ability and noodle length. We’ll try that on the next batch.
Sarah was really smart and laid out an old (clean, of course!) towel right at the start on our table. On that surface we can sprinkle flour and clean up the mess quickly.
The instructions (included with the attachments and in tutorial videos on the web) suggest sprinkling with flour between the flattening and cutting stages to prevent sticking, but we didn’t need to do that at all. If you’re going to cut them by hand (say, for your pappardelle), it’s probably a good idea to sprinkle the sheets with flour so you can roll and cut them without sticking.
We did sprinkle the cut noodles with flour to keep them from sticking while in storage.
The big test was the same evening at Matt’s place, where he whipped up a decadent gorgonzola-mozzarella-pancetta-rocket sauce. Our noodles behaved admirably: no sticking, clumping, or tangling.
Can’t wait to get that batch of spaghetti out of the freezer and give them a whirl, too…
When we make a pie crust, a teaspoon of sour cream (or crème fraîche to be more precise) is required for a little moisture and flavor. Often this means we’re opening a new container. And if you’ve bought dairy products in Germany, you know how crappy the packaging is — unresealable, and in inconvenient sizes to boot. So then there’s a barely-used, broken-seal sour cream/crème fraîche hanging around.
Fortunately, there is a solution: Pumpkin Bread. We found the recipe on food.com and gave it a shot with just a few modifications and metric conversions of our own.
1/2 cup (100g) butter
1 cup (209g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (207g) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger — hit up ochef.com for some ratios to choose from)
1 cup (330g) pumpkin purée
1/2 cup sour cream or crème fraîche (100g) or 1/2 cup plain yogurt
optional chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, whatever)
Cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Stir flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt together and add that dry mixture to the wet mixture. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, and stir. If you’re using nuts, then fold them in after the pumpkin and sour cream.
Bake in a greased/floured loaf pan at 350°F (177°C). for at least 1 hour; ours took about 1.5 hours to pass the clean-stick test.
Sarah and Tammy took the German pumpkin situation into their own hands — literally — last week when tackling the time-honored American Thanksgiving dessert option. Canned pumpkin puree is hard to come by around here. You’ve got to have a military post hook-up or have flown it in with someone who otherwise travels light. Note to those reading and thinking about moving to Germany: fill up extra space in your shipping container with hard-to-find canned goods. Even if you don’t like them yourself, they are worth their weight in trade.
So here’s the weird part: the cute little good-for-cooking pumpkin varieties are pretty easily available in Germany. Most supermarkets and organic markets seem to carry them. But does that mean that everyone is cooking with pumpkin from scratch? I don’t think so. You see the occasional pumpkin soup or pumpkin-infused pasta sauce around here in restaurants, but I don’t get the impression that pumpkin is a part of standard Bavarian cuisine. So what are they doing with them? Not making pie, as far as we can tell.
I found this recipe online for pumpkin pie from real pumpkins and they set to work. This recipe is very generous with metric conversions and dietary and preparation alternatives (nice!) and Comic Sans (less nice). But oh well. The content is solid, with lots of ideas for extra pumpkinny usage.
Sarah and Tammy opted to roast the cleaned-out pumpkin chunks in the oven to soften up the flesh as described in her recipe for pumpkin purée. The upshot here was avoiding too much moisture in the puree.
This is the part where I got involved. I whipped up a pie crust from our standard recipe. We were worried that the crust might have been a little too thin (you can see the pie pan pattern through it!), but it came out just fine — probably owing to the reduced moisture from the roasting method of puree collection as well. I even had enough dough left over to make a midget pie, too. Sarah does the fluting (looks nice, right?) and you can see that I was in charge of the midget pie and went for the more rustic (read: lazy) look. Here are the pie filling ingredients we used — see the original recipe for alternatives:
1 cup (210 g) sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I ground fresh nutmeg shavings and cloves together in our spice grinder to make ours a few months ago; individual proportions are available in the original recipe)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin puree
18oz (530ml) evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Note: don’t get confused by the milk nomenclature here in Germany. Evaporated milk is known in Germany as “Kondensmilch” and Sweetened Condensed Milk is called “Kondensmilch, gezuckert” — at least in our supermarkets. You’ve got to look pretty carefully at the labels. You’ll probably find them in the same section as the canned coffee creamers.
Mix all that stuff up together, in no particular order, though I submit that if you add the spice ingredients last, you’ll have less chance of your spices collecting on the bottom of your mixer bowl. That happened to us, and you can see spicy plumes in our midget pie and crustless pies. All three still tasted great, but the spice distribution was uneven and obviously more concentrated in the midget and crustless pie.
Then fill your pie shells right up to the top. With our 9″ pie shell, we still had enough for the midget pie, and still some left over, which we baked as a crustless pie in a non-stick loaf pan. Bake the pie at 425°F (210°C) for the first 15 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 350°F (175°C) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean. You can see what happens if you forget to reduce the heat after the first 15 minutes on our crustless pie. Still totally edible but with more of a skin developed on the top layer.
This is a fluffier-than-I’m-used-to variety. I normally think of pumpkin pie as a dense and heavy custard, and I enjoy that, but this lighter variation was really good.