Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Month of Pumpkin

Before I get to my main post, I want to say that I've been meaning to post about Liam's birthday, but I'm not sure what I want to say yet. I will get to that eventually. 

Fall is one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons. My birthday is at the end of October, which lends a feeling of excitement and expectation, and I've always loved Halloween. This year I'm actually enjoying our first cool snap, since our fireplace is in working order. We had a fire last night and tonight, and I just can't get enough.

The crackling sound is so soothing, the smell is delicious, and our living room is nice and toasty warm!

Back to fall. I love carving pumpkins, decorating the house (a la Martha Stewart), coming up with a costume, and the food! Oh, how I love pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread... If you put pumpkin in it, I'll probably eat it. I even convinced the Rooster to make Pumpkin Chili once, and it was delicious! So when I found out that Gooseberry Patch was offering an entire cookbook of Pumpkin recipes free for download to Kindle, I snatched it up. As I paged through the recipes I thought about the movie Julie & Julia, and how that blogger got her start cooking her way through Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking, and I thought "what if I made one of these recipes every day in October?"

And so, my Month of Pumpkin was born. Due to my 30th birthday this month I'm forgoing my annual Halloween party, and I've taken a season off from the chorale I normally sing with, so I don't have as much to take up my time. The perfect opportunity! Unfortunately, I developed a nasty ear infection in the last few days of September, and on October 1st I was not exactly up for cooking.

This afternoon I felt much better, so I went right ahead and knocked out two recipes. First, I whipped up a batch of pumpkin pie spice. Yeah, yeah, easy stuff. I could have just bought some, but why bother when I already have all of the required spices in my cabinet? Besides, there was a recipe for it in the book. Easily accomplished. Besides, the next recipe called for it.

Next, I set out to make Pumpkin Apple Butter—two things I love combined, and the recipe seemed pretty simple. I peeled some MacIntosh apples, which are my fave for pie, so I thought they'd work for butter.

Then I cored and grated them. If I had it to do over I'd run them through the food processor until they were like applesauce. We'll get to that part later.

Then I measured out the pumpkin (thanks to Mama-hen for finding it, since there was none to be had in Leola), apple juice,

pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar (dark).

It all went into a medium pot.
I brought it to a boil, and then turned it down to simmer and prepared to wait 1.5 hours for it to be done. As the first hour went by I started to wonder if I had done something wrong. I used my box grater to grate the apple, but I guess it was more of a shred. The apple didn't break down the way I expected. So when it looked like this after the full cooking time,

I dumped it into the food processor and blended it to a lovely velvety consistency.

I put it back on the stove to try to cook a little more liquid out of it, and once it cooled I spread some on bread and it is delicious!

The pumpkin and apple play well together, giving it a sweet, caramel-like flavor. Perfect for stirring into oatmeal, spreading on toast, or... well, that's pretty much all I can think of at the moment, but it's darn good. I plan on trying it mixed with yogurt tomorrow, as an experiment. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. You want to use fresh pumpkin. It's cheaper, and it tastes better! And it's actually not that much extra work. I made two pies (and a failed pumpkin roll) with fresh last weekend. Though I used a large-ish pumpkin and should have used sugar babies. Still, it's worth it.

  2. That's definitely on my must-do list for the fall. I'm planning to start with a sugar baby, plain ol' roasted in the oven. I'm sure I'll post about it!

  3. You are better than a cook book :)