What to do with that sweetie pie? Here are two recipes to recycle your decorative pumpkins into your dinner plans. The best pumpkins for stuffing are either the sugar pumpkin or the sweetie pie pumpkin. Any pumpkin will do, but these two varieties were bred for sweet meats and a future in pie.
This is an excellent recipe for improvisation, and can easily be vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous (add some bacon or pancetta)
Prepare your pumpkin like you’re making a Jack o’ Lantern. Cut the top wide, making more of a bowl than a lantern with the squash.
Preheat the oven to 400*.
Make the stuffing.
A rough-cut mirepoix of onions, celery, carrots shallots and garlic – cooked.
Enough breadcrumbs, plain or flavored
(I love cornbread – olive bread is fun too – but not gluten free – turns to rubber inside the squash)
Sage, thyme, California bay, rosemary from your garden, your neighbors garden, or your neighborhood. Forage! Any combination is delicious
Butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper
Grated gruyere cheese, local Chevre or your family favorite
2 to 4 cups of cream, milk, vegetable stock, chicken stock – any combination will do
Optional: an egg or two, nuts and berries ( or bacon)
Method: Oil or butter the cavity of the squash and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together the mirepoix, breadcrumbs, cheeses, herbs nuts and berries. I like to add whole cranberries and walnuts. I also like sliced almonds and dates. Toss together, taste and season with salt and pepper.
Chop your herbs and add no less than a teaspoon, no more than a tablespoon. Start sparingly; the flavors will bloom while cooking.
Tuck the stuffing into the prepared cavity. Don’t pack it in. Pile it in nicely with little to no pressing depending on the density of your dressing.
Pour the liquid of choice ( stock or cream) over the dressing till it pools at the top.
Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet. Place the top of the pumpkin next to the pumpkin.
Bake the pumpkin at 400* till the filling bubbles (anywhere from ½ hour to 45 minutes depending on the size). Check the lid, when it’s soft remove it from the oven.
Reduce heat to 325 and continue cooking till pumpkin is soft. You should be able to stick a pick right through the flesh and into the center of the pumpkin. I use a skewer.
When the pumpkin is soft through and through, it’s ready!
Allow it to repose for a ½ hour before serving. The best presentation is when it’s sliced like a cake, and served in wedges. Alternatively, it can be scooped out.
These little darlings make good eats and beautiful place settings. (That’s what we call stacking in Permaculture) You can find this delicious dessert in high end Thai restaurants through out Los Angeles during our autumnal season ( still 70 and sunny!)
Recipe for Coconut Custard Pumpkins
Prepare a steamer.
Slice the top off and remove the seeds scraping a nice size cavity into 4 little pumpkins. Set aside.
Mix: 5 eggs, 1/3 cup of white sugar, pinch of salt and 1 cup of canned coconut cream. Pour into the pumpkins and steam for 20 to 30 minutes or until pudding is set, and the flesh is soft.
Slice or serve whole as dessert. For added bling, bake pomegranate seeds into the custard. Add after the top has set if you want them to bake into the top.