The origination of the word pumpkin is from the Greek for ‘large melon’; something large and round. The French later adapted it to pompon; the British changed it to pumpion and finally the American colonists changed it to pumpkin. Pumpkin, a winter squash, is thought to have originated in North America with pumpkin seeds found in Mexico dating to 7000 and 5500 BC. This vegetable is nutritionally dense and rich in antioxidant vitamins (A, C,E), minerals and B-complex.
Pumpkin’s popularity is not confined to culinary delights as it is the emblem of Halloween not to mention folklore and the supernatural (turning people into pumpkins by witches and the jack-o-lantern warding off evil spirits). Cinderella – we must not forget about how the fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage and back again at midnight!
Typically in the fall, I start getting obsessed with everything pumpkin. Perhaps I have a Vitamin A deficiency and this is my way of satiating it. I start searching my data base for pumpkin recipes ranging from curry, chili, pancakes, ravioli, soup, pie to a myriad of baked goods!
Another rainy day and I am about to bake my final (sigh) recipes of the pumpkin season: Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Bread. What do they say about muffins – that they are cupcakes without frosting – I love the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction; it is the perfect muffin and not too sweet, but it has those yummy and tiny chocolate chips which makes everything so wonderful. She includes a chocolate frosting recipe on her blog if you want cupcakes instead.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 and 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup (100 grams) packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (227 grams) pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (90 grams) mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray two 12-count muffin pans with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Add the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT overmix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
I’ve made many tea cakes and especially like the pumpkin ones and finally I found a delicious and easy recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It has the best crispy cinnamon topping! Do believe the recipe and be assured that there is not too much sugar in it; it IS a large loaf. I have always gotten a few pockets of uncooked batter. I simply turn off the oven and leave the bread in for a few extra minutes which seems to solve the problem. And, yes, it is good at tea time and great for breakfast, too! Try it toasted with cream cheese, jam, crème fraiche or butter.
1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral cooking oil or melted butter (115 grams)
3 large eggs
1 2/3 (330 grams) cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Two pinches of ground cloves
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray.In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinanmon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small dish, or empty measuring cup, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter.
Bake bread for 65 to 75 minutes until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring.
You can cool it in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it, or cool it completely in there. The latter provides the advantage of letting more of the loose cinnamon sugar on top adhere before being knocked off.
Cake keeps at room temperature as long as you can hide it. I like to keep mine in the tin with a piece of foil or plastic just over the cut end and the top exposed to best keep the lid crisp as long as possible.
I do hope that you try the recipes and enjoy them as much as I have. Let me know some of your favorite pumpkin recipes!