Pumpkin: A Contemplation

The iconic fruit of fall offers so much more than just pie.

Photo credit: Michelle Y. Siudut

Edward Bottone

Pumpkin Soup with Blue Cheese and Bacon

Photo credit: Michelle Y. Siudut


1. In a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients sauté the bacon until crispy. Remove, drain on a paper towel, crumble and reserve for garnish.

2. Sauté onion and garlic in bacon fat until translucent and well glazed. Drain off excess fat. Add pumpkin and “sweat” covered for five minutes. Add the sage, thyme, allspice, salt, and pepper; stir well. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour or until the pumpkin is soft.

3. Purée the soup in a food processor, or with an immersion blender until smooth. Return to the pot and add most of the cream; re-heat but do not boil. If too thick, thin with more cream. Adjust seasonings with salt and white pepper and then add the hot sauce.

4. Serve in warmed bowls, garnished with crumbled, crispy bacon and blue cheese.

Green Fettucine with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

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1. Sauté the shallots in the butter until translucent. Add the prosciutto and cook another minute. Add the pumpkin and cook until heated through and just bubbling. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Season with nutmeg, allspice and salt and pepper.  Once the sauce has reduced to the desired creaminess, lower flame and keep warm.

2. Cook the pasta in plenty of well salted boiling water until al dente. Drain well and toss with the pumpkin cream sauce. Divide into four warm bowls, sprinkle with Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano and decorate with a little chopped fresh tomato.

Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

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1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350ºF.

2. Butter and flour a 12-muffin muffin tin. Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In another bowl beat the eggs with a wire whisk for a minute or two. Blend in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, butter and vanilla. Fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups three quarters full.

3. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are springy on top and a tester comes away clean.

Pumpkin Spice Cheese Cake with a Ginger Cookie Crust


1. For the crust: Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). Mix together the crushed ginger snaps, butter and cinnamon. Press into a 23 cm (9-inch) springform pan. Bake until firm, about 15 minutes.

2. For the filling: Preheat oven to 165°C (325ºF). In a stand mixer beat together the sugar and softened cream cheese until very smooth. Mix in the sour cream; beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the pumpkin, spices and molasses. Pour into the crust-lined springform pan.

3. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 3/4 to 2 hours. Cool on a rack.

4. Remove cooled cake from pan. Decorate with whole walnut halves and showering of confectioner’s sugar.

This recipe can be made a day or two ahead, then covered and refrigerated. Bring to nearly room temperature and garnish with nuts and confectioner’s sugar just before serving.

Pumpkin, Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookies

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1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).

2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin purée.  Slowly add in flour mixture beating until just combined. Fold in chocolate and butterscotch chips.

4. Drop dough 30 ml (2 tablespoons) at a time onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, about 5 cm (2 inches) apart.

5. Bake until fully baked at the center, about 12 minutes. More “cakies” than cookies, these should be crisp at the edges and tender in the center. Cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

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1. Mix together flour and salt, and cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse meal.  Sprinkle milk and vinegar over dough and work only until it holds together (flour your hands). Divide dough in half and shape into two balls and flatten into a disc. Wrap each in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate an hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425ºF).

3. Mix together sugar, spices and salt. Whisk eggs in a large bowl; add pumpkin and mix well. Blend in the spice mixture. Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk.

4. Divide the pumpkin mixture evenly between the two pie shells and bake 10-12 minutes.  Lower temperature to 180°C (350ºF) and bake 45 or so minutes more, until the center is just set, but still slightly jiggly.

5. Cool two hours before serving with whipped cream or cheddar cheese.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

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1. Scald the milk and cream in a saucepan. Combine yolks and maple syrup and bowl. Into this mixture whisk in a little milk-cream mixture to temper the eggs. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk-cream mixture. Return combined mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for about 15 minutes (do not boil) or until it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

2. Mix together the pumpkin purée, spices, rum, vanilla and cream mixture. Add this to the hot custard and gently cook a few minutes. Allow it to cool completely; set pan in a bowl of ice and a little water if you are impatient. Once cooled, chill completely in fridge.

3. Pour the cold mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a 1 liter (1 quart) container and freeze overnight for fullest flavor.

4. Serve in stemmed goblets with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or pecans.

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

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1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). Toss the dried seeds with the olive oil and bake on a cookie sheet, or in an iron skillet, for 15 -20 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2. Dry on paper towels and season with salt and chili powder; add generous pinch of cayenne pepper to the chili powder if you like them really hot.