Pumpkin has been a huge part of my kitchen as of late. Just look at my past few posts...:) But seriously, baking a pumpkin is so simple and it is a perfect way to fully engage in the fall spirit, and not to mention the goodness of the seasonal eats. Pumpkin is packed full of vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Perfect to build up your immune system as we head into the cold-flu season. Plus, the fiber rich pumpkin will help clean up and build up your digestive tract. So if you haven't carved, smashed or composted your pumpkins yet, I suggest you try and cut them open, and start baking away.
Here is the simple steps I follow to bake a pumpkin:
1. Wash in the sick to clean up any sand, dirt or whatever.
2. Pull of the stem and use a serrated or sharp knife to start cutting at the top and move to the bottom. You can cut on each side of the stem and then turn over and meet in the middle. I do not peal or chop up my pumpkin in many pieces unless it is very large. I just slice it in half.
3. Take a large spoon and carve out the seeds and strings. (Save the seeds in a strainer to rinse and roast with a little oil and sea salt).
4. After you clean out the insides, rinse again under water, and then lay on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. You can do the same to the other side of the pumpkin and then...
5. Bake the 2 pumpkin sides in a 350 degree oven for 1 -1/2 hours depending on how large you pumpkin is. You can check after an hour with a knife. Just use the knife to slice through and see how soft it is. You want it to be butter soft and ready to puree...so soft.
6. When the pumpkin is soft, pull from oven, let cool for an hour or so, then use a spoon, your fingers or a knife to peal away the skin and save the meat.
7. Put all of the meat of the pumpkin in a food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, you may need to add a splash of water to get the pumpkin moving, but you should not need to add too much because you do not want a smoothy, you want pumpkin puree.
8. Then use the puree in your pies, soups, baked goods, smoothies, pudding bars, or in whatever you want. The pumpkin puree also freezes really well, so freeze in 2 or 4 cup amounts in freezer zip lock bags or containers of choice. I also bake 1-2 pumpkins at a time to have lots of puree to play with or freeze.
Those are the steps I follow, pretty simple and it makes so much pumpkin puree that you will not buy canned again. Plus it is so fresh and flavorful that you will be so happy you went domestic on this one. You can bake most any winter squash this way and make puree from the meat. It is just the first step to making your kitchen filled with fall.
Savory Pumpkin Corn Muffin Recipe (vegan)1/2 cup of organic corn flour (millet flour is a good replacement here)
1/2 cup of organic corn meal (quinoa flour is a good replacement here)
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1 cup of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free baking flour mix (or brown rice flour works too)
2 TB of flaxmeal
2 TB of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of ground cinnamon
1/2 ts. of ground cumin
dash- 1/2 ts. of ground chili powder
dash- 1/2 ts. of cayenne pepper
dash-1/2 ts. of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup of homemade applesauce
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of light olive oil
1/3 cup of non-dairy milk with 1 TB of lemon juice (I used So Delicious coconut milk beverage)
2 cups of pumpkin puree (I used fresh puree)
In a large bowl, mix together the flours and all the dry ingredients. Then in a separate bowl add the non-dairy milk and lemon juice to culture just a minute. Then in the large bowl add the wet ingredients and finally add the milk-mixture. Mix well together and make sure it is well blended and no clumps. Plus, you will want to notice if there is bubbles from the baking powder. This is a good sign. Then after letting the batter sit for a few minutes to soak up the moisture, then pour into 12 cupcake liners in a cupcake baking tin. This recipe will make 12 large muffins. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes. Until golden brown and baked through.
*If you are trying to avoid corn products, I added some substitution flours to make a savory pumpkin muffin without the corn. It will turn out just as hearty, minus the corn.
*If you want to sub the milk mixture for some vegan yogurt, you can do that too. I recommend So Delicious' plain coconut milk or greek yogurt.
*If you want to pour this batter into a 9x13 greased pan, you should come up with a cornbread to cut and serve. Bake at the same tempt and at the same times, then you may need another 10 minutes of baking depending on your oven. Bake until golden brown.
Let cool and serve with hot chili or soup.
Here are some of my favorite recommended soups to go with these pumpkin corn muffins:
I hope you have a fabulous fall day and stay warm with a bowl of comforting soup and perhaps some pumpkin cornbread muffins.
Much love to you!!!