Pumpkin you either love it and can’t live without it, or it’s not even a blip on your radar. For some, pumpkin is a fruit, yes I said fruit, and others it shall remain nameless. A pumpkin is not a vegetable; it’s a fruit! In fact, it’s a berry. Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and gourds. Within this family is the genus Cucurbita which includes gourds, winter and summer squash, and all varieties of pumpkin. There are four species that are considered “pumpkins,” but only one is the species most people would recognize as the traditional pumpkin used for carving jack-o-lanterns and baking pies.”
I have to say when I was younger I liked the smell of the pumpkin spices more than the pumpkin itself. When you smelled that aroma in the farm house, you knew Thanksgiving was not far behind and family and friends would be coming to celebrate. I was the kid who preferred chocolate cream pie for dessert and to make others happy I would have a little pumpkin pie with lots and lots of whip cream. At Thanksgiving you would find pumpkin cookies with maple icing, pumpkin pie, apple cake, and Texas sheet cake. These are the dessert items my mom would make for Thanksgiving. We would only have them at this time of year, which made them not only a tradition but a favorite treat.
As I got older, I had a better appreciation for this fruit but I’m still a chocoholic at heart. Don’t get me wrong, I was caught up in the whole pumpkin trend that consisted of a couple beers and lattes. They would come out around the middle of October and last until Thanksgiving. But sad to say, this fruit has taken on a life of its own thanks to over marketing. I truly believe this is a case of less is more. Now there are more types of pumpkin beer every year, and they keep coming out earlier and earlier. This year they hit the market the end of July. The owner of my local beer distributor said get it now because it won’t be here by Thanksgiving. Then Starbucks, I think it was the end of August or the beginning of September, gave out a secret code to get your pumpkin latte early. We rush through everything and nothing is special anymore. To make my point further, I was in the drive through getting a non pumpkin coffee (lol), and the menu said hurry and try our fall items before they are gone. The date was September 25, 2015. Fall officially started two days prior on September 23rd, and Fall does not officially end until December 21. Sometimes I feel we live such a rat race that we are missing out and loosing family traditions along with recipes and making memories with family and friends.
Below you will find pictures of products I found in the store this year, and others, satire making fun of this trend.
Theses are the two new items that caught my eye. You also can have pumpkin spiced ravioli, tortellini, pumpkin sauce, pumpkin Ice Cream, pumpkin pancakes, waffles, crepes, pumpkin granola (that is artificial flavored?) pumpkin coffee, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin soda, pumpkin brûlée, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, doughnuts & scones, pumpkin scented candles, soaps, body sprays, lotions and shampoo.
These Items started to appear before the first chill in the air was felt and before the trees started to be tipped in color. Sorry to feel so jaded, but from food to sports nothing has a season any longer. its all about marketing and money.
I still love fall, and as a chef/baker I do bake pumpkin goodies with spices and love. I will be sharing a few of my family favorites. I have to admit that the “Pumpkin Roll” I have not made for a while. It was Levi’s,my nephew, favorite. I would bake extra just for him. Levi will be gone four years this November. I think this may be the year to make it again.
Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling (Yields 10 servings) From the Kitchen of Karen’s Karousel of Delights
3/4 cup Bread Flour ( you can use all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup of granulated sugar
2/3 cup 100% pure Pumpkin ( I use “LIBBY”S brand)
1 cup dark mini chocolate chips (OPTIONAL)
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (OPTIONAL)
1 package 8oz cream cheese, soften (I use “Philadelphia” brand)
1 cup sifted powder sugar
6 tablespoons butter, soften (unsalted)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cake: Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C. Grease 15X10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax or parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper. Sprinkle heavily a 100% cotton towel (it is also known as Flour Sack 100% cotton and white) with powder sugar.
Combine: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bow until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. (now is the time to sprinkle with the chips or nuts or both; if you choose to)
Bake: for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully pull off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake, without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powder sugar before serving.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake: Yields 10 to 12 servings. from the kitchen of Karen’s Karousel of Delights
1 1/2 cups of Chocolate graham crackers crushed into crumbs (approximately 1 1/2 Packages)
1/3 cup of butter melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese soften (I use regular “Philadelphia” brand cream cheese)
1 1/4 cups of Sugar in the Raw (make sure it’s the real deal; option if you cannot find Sugar in the raw you can use 1cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup of light brown sugar)
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 15oz can of Pure Pumpkin (my preference is “LIBBY’S”)
2/3 cup of Evaporated Milk (my preference is “NESTLE” CARNATION”)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups of dark or milk chocolate chips divided and melted
Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C
Combined graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 1inch up side of
9-inch springform pan. Bake 6-8 minutes (do not over bake). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Add cornstarch, and spices; beat well. Pour into crust. Now take 1 cup of the melted chocolate and spoon onto the top of the cheese cake; then take a butter knife and swirl the chocolate to make a marbling effect.
Bake: for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still giggles slightly. Baking the cheese cake in a water bath is optional and your choice. This can be done two ways; first place the cheese cake in a shallow pan, place on oven rack and pour hot water half way up or you can place a pan directly underneath the cheese cake fill with hot water and bake. My cheese cakes have cracked with or without a water bath. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or over night. Before serving remove sides of spring form pan; melt the remaining chocolate chips and drizzle over the top of the cheese cake. Cut and serve.
Note: If you don’t like chocolate use regular graham crackers for the crust and omit the 2 cups of chocolate chips.
I hope you try these recipes and they become your family favorites too. Thank you for your support and Enjoy! ❤ KK