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Thousand Oaks

Now You’re Cooking: Pumpkin Season Is Here

This time of year, cans of pumpkin puree are flying off the shelves (grab some while you can!). It’s an essential ingredient in getting our seasonal pumpkin fix. We use it in everything from pies, muffins and breads to soups and chili.

I grew up in a house full of pumpkin pie lovers, and absolutely no Thanksgiving was complete without a Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie. Between my career in the Nestlé Test Kitchens and baking for my family, I’ve baked hundreds and hundreds of pumpkin pies and truly enjoyed every moment doing so!

When it comes to pumpkin pie, I usually stick to tradition. However, I’ve recently updated the traditional pie to incorporate more spices, including cardamom and nutmeg. I also added just a hint of orange zest for freshness and an extra egg yolk plus cream to make the filling silky smooth.

Tip: Mix the pie filling a day in advance so that the spices can blend, and then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie
(Make 10 servings)
1 refrigerated pie crust, such as Pillsbury, at room temperature
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 can (15 oz.) plain pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon finely grated orange or lemon zest
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Place the oven rack in the lower-middle position in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unroll crust and place in a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate. Press crust into the bottom and up the side of the plate; crimp edges.

Whisk together eggs and egg yolk in a large bowl. Whisk in pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, orange zest, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. Gradually whisk in cream and milk. Pour into the pie crust.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set 2 inches in from the edge. It should look dry (leathery) around the edges, and the center should jiggle just slightly when the pie plate is shaken. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving. Leftovers can be tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

This pumpkin curry soup has become a family fall favorite, as well as a Thanksgiving tradition. Sadly, I didn’t have my first taste of pumpkin soup until well into adulthood. Nowadays, I’m making up for lost time!
This recipe turns canned pumpkin into a creamy, aromatic soup that makes for an easy but elegant first course. For Thanksgiving, I prefer to make this soup in advance since it freezes so beautifully. You can make it now, transfer the cooled soup to a freezer container and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, just thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then place the soup in a saucepan and warm over low heat. Or, make a day or two in advance. Simply reheat gently over low heat.

Don’t skimp on the toasted pepitas and pomegranate arils – they complement the curry so well, plus they’re super festive!

Easy Pumpkin Curry Soup
(Makes about 11 cups)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small or 1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder (add more if you really like curry)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (29 oz.) plain pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups half-and-half or canned unsweetened coconut milk, plus more for serving
Toasted pepitas and pomegranate arils, for serving

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until tender and golden. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in curry powder, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth and pumpkin; stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Or cool soup a bit before adding to a blender or food processor (in batches), and then blend until smooth. Pour soup back into the saucepan. Stir in half-and-half and heat through. Season with additional salt and ground black pepper, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls, and then drizzle with a little extra half-and-half. Top with pepitas and pomegranate arils.

I hope your holiday is filled with all things pumpkin and lots of love. Happy Thanksgiving!


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