By Barbara Lauterbach
Pumpkin mania!! It happens every year about this time, and we are inundated with every form the pumpkin can take; this week I have seen Pumpkin Latte, Pumpkin cakes, cookies, breads, pancakes, and of course the perennial favorite Pumpkin Pie. There is a trend to put pumpkin filling in Ravioli, and even Lasagna. My most surprising find was Pumpkin Goat Cheese at my local Hannaford! I served it to my French Conversation group and it was proclaimed “delicieuex” by the women. Perhaps it is just a New Hampshire thing, because the pumpkin is New Hampshire’s official “fruit”. Yes, because of the seed content and other fine botanical points, the pumpkin was declared our “First” or Official Fruit in 2006.
The Pumpkin Fest will be happening in Laconia this week; a celebration of the State Fruit, and promises to be great fun. There will be events for all, 50-plus food and craft vendors, live bands and performers, a beer garden, over 20,000 jack-o’-lanterns and of course the gigantic pumpkin tower!
The pumpkin was here when the colonists arrived, and was put to use by the new Americans immediately, the pulp morphing into the beloved pumpkin pie, the signature dessert of Thanksgiving in this country. The seeds, called “pepitas” are edible and used primarily in Mexican cuisine. Salted, roasted or raw they are delicious. Although John Ayto, author of “The Glutton’s Glossary,” describes the pumpkin as not having “a very exciting flavor and texture,” it works well as a background to create pies, mousse, and soufflé, to which Autumn spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice are added. This recipe was given to me by my friend Sally Downs, she also loaned me the antique pottery bowl you see in the picture.
Vegetable spray for dish, small amount sugar for coating of dish.
Prepare a 1 ½ quart soufflé or Pyrex baking bowl. Spray with vegetable spray, and then dust lightly with sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin (not pie filling)
3 TB. butter, melted
½ cup honey (spray measuring cup with vegetable oil and honey will come out of cup easily!)
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature, separated
In a bowl, mix the ingredients together, except the eggs. In a separate bowl whisk the yolks and add to the mix, then rinse the bowl and then in same bowl whisk the whites with a whisk until frothy, and fold into the pumpkin mixture. Pour all into prepared dish, and bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until the top starts to “crack”.
Spoon directly from dish, and accompany with a generous dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8 pumpkin lovers!
If you have a nutmeg grater, buy the cloves of nutmeg and grate your own – the flavor is stronger and delicious! Bon Appetit!