I realize that I’m a month or two late for the PUMPKIN-EVERYTHING craze that annually arrives in September, but I finally gathered the time, the initiative, and the pumpkins to try my hand at making my own pumpkin puree. I’ve always been a big fan of Libby’s, but I’m pretty pleased with both the results and the ease of making this myself. Right after Halloween, it’s easy to find pumpkins for just a couple dollars, so it’s a great time of year to stock up for all your coming holiday desserts, as it freezes wonderfully.
And it’s sooooo easy. I urge you to give it a try for your own pumpkin recipes this year! Here’s how it’s done:
1. Select 1-2 small-ish pumpkins, or as many as you want to make in one batch. You can definitely puree pumpkins of any size, but they flavor and texture will be better from smaller pumpkins. These are often sold as “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins”.
This Thanksgiving, I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, I’m not cooking anything. Instead, I’m joining eleven of my family members in Florida for several days in Disneyworld and Universal Studios!
But this is a food blog and food blogs in the United States simply MUST address Thanksgiving. I’m thrilled to say that Sierra (if you don’t know her by now, here’s a little intro) has volunteered to guest post one of her most precious Thanksgiving recipes! Sadly, I didn’t get to eat any of this gorgeous dessert, but I’m anxious to give the recipe a try when I return from the Sunshine State.
I hope you enjoy Sierra’s post, and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, by Sierra H.
I know we just met, but I’m going to tell you a secret. This is something that I have hidden deep inside for as long as I can remember, and it weighs on my mind every Thanksgiving season.
I hate classic pumpkin pie.
There, I said it. I’ll eat it, but I’d almost just as rather eat pumpkin-scented lotions and candles. If you’ve been following Kristi’s chronicle of wedding cake baking, then you’ll know that I adore pumpkin, but the hard, dense, often over-sweet classic pumpkin pie just isn’t my thing.
It isn’t pumpkin pie’s fault. The blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of one lady: Grammy LoLo. My father’s mother, Grammy LoLo (you can call her that, too, by the way, everyone does) gave us the tradition of another kind of pumpkin pie: one that is light and airy, pumpkin-filled, and gorgeous light orange with just a teeny bit of pure whipped cream to make it the perfect end to a holiday meal (or a stunning post-Thanksgiving breakfast). In our house, we always just called it The Chiffon, and it had a special place in the Thanksgiving preparatory kitchen, often the day before the real craziness began.
I haven’t baked much since I spent four days in early October creating two massive cakes for Sierra’s wedding. So it might seem rather surprising that the first time I pull out my cake pans after such a project, it’s to reprise the very recipes I used for the largest tier of the wedding cake. I, however, am not surprised, as I have been wanting to share this recipe in a normal, human-sized dessert that you can make for you and your family instead of a full wedding guest list.
Before autumn wanes completely, I urge you to make this cake. This cake is rich, moist, and full of pumpkin flavor. This maple cream is studded with these sugared pecans (easily my favorite discovery of the season) and compliments the spicy cake perfectly. And for layer cake, this is pretty easy! No icing to smooth, no crumbs to worry about, no delicate folding dry ingredients into the batter, no piping. You can totally do this.
It seems a little silly to be telling you about my Halloween party and all the food I made for it when every retail establishment and ad agency seems to have decided that it’s Christmas already. But I barely had time to get into the Halloween spirit before it was over, and I’m certainly not going to skip over Thanksgiving, thank you very much.
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I finally found myself in a position to throw a party to celebrate this exciting night. Uuuuuunfortunately the most opportune date for my little get together happened to fall right at the end of a two-week stint of one bazillion shows, which meant I had some particularly long days at work. Despite this little setback, I still managed to pull off some fun decorations and an ambitious menu, all without going broke.
Giant carving pumpkins, bumpy heirloom pumpkins, creepy white pumpkins, compact pie pumpkins, teeny tiny decorative pumpkins…
The pumpkin is somewhat unique in that it is one of the few foods that is truly celebrated only in the season in which it readily grows. At almost any time of year, you can be sure to find at a grocery store virtually any fruit or vegetable your heart desires. But pumpkins? They pretty much only show up in September, and by November, those large cardboard bins with Snoopy on the side have disappeared from view.
I love this about pumpkins. Because when fall hits, everyone goes PUMPKIN. CRAZY. Pumpkins pies, beers, cheesecakes, soups, breads, butters, jack-o-lanterns… all in honor of this giant, orange squash. I wonder if such a craze would hit for every fruit or vegetable if they were somewhat, shall I say, less available than they tend to be these days. Would strawberry shortcake taste even better in late spring if one couldn’t buy clamshells of red (though not necessarily ripe) berries all year long? Would every tomato burst with better flavor if we had to go without them during winter months? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I, for one, love the anticipation of new foods coming into season, and pumpkins are certainly cause for celebration.
So celebrate we shall! I kicked off my pumpkin season while visiting friends in DC at our second annual “Fall Extravaganza!” (exclamation point required) to enjoy good company, good food, and a beautiful autumn night. My good friend Sarah and I can hardly be in the same room together without finding ourselves cooking enough food to feed an army, and this weekend was no different.