Beyond Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is standard Thanksgiving fare, but this year, why not go beyond the usual and try something unique?
Pumpkins make sense for Thanksgiving Day – not only because they are plentiful this time of year, but because they tie in to the history of the holiday.
The Pilgrims may not have eaten actual pumpkin pie, but pumpkins were still one of the foods that kept them from starving.
As the early 17th century Pilgrim poem goes.
“We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon, If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.”
With a little pumpkin puree (either store bought or home made), you can create a memorable Thanksgiving drink: Pumpkin Cappuccino with Cardamom.
You don’t even need special coffee-making tools. A mixer and blender is all that’s required.
Pumpkin Side Dishes
Make your guests ooh and ah by serving baked pumpkin. This can be as simple as offering small, single serving pumpkins with minced pumpkin puree or soup inside, or as elaborate as a full sized pumpkin stuffed with apples, walnuts, rum, ginger, and raisins.
Risotto rice dishes make a great side for Thanksgiving, but Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary?
Now that’s a real Thanksgiving treat!
Pumpkin quick bread or muffins also make a suitable side dish.
Make muffins by mixing together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pasty flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¾ cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons molasses, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and ¾ cup buttermilk. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree F. oven.
To make pumpkin soup, sauté ½ a yellow onion (diced) in butter. Add ½ cup of thinly sliced carrots, 1 celery stalk (chopped), 2 cups pumpkin puree, 3 cups chicken broth or stock, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Puree in a blender. Place back in the pan and add 1 cup of cream. Bring to a simmer, adjust seasoning, and serve.
Pumpkin cake is easy to make using a bundt pan.
Mix together 3 eggs, 1 cup vegetable oil, 15 oz. of pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 cups sugar, 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Pour into an oiled 10 inch bundt pan and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cake.
Pumpkin cheesecake gives the feel of traditional pumpkin pie, but with a fun twist.
To make it, beat 8 oz. of room temperature cream cheese until smooth. Add 15 oz. pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk, ¼ cup sour cream, 1 ½ cups sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Pour into a prepared graham cracker crust and bake for 60 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.