More Than Pie: Three New Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

It’s that time of year. You know you’ve noticed it — everything becomes about pumpkin. Pumpkin Spice lattes become the bane of baristas everywhere, and social media websites are flooded with pumpkiny versions of every baked good you can imagine. I’m guilty of it myself; I used to be a barista, and my favorite soothing autumn evening beverage is still steamed milk with Starbucks’ pumpkin spice syrup. I’m itching to make pumpkin snickerdoodles, whoopie pies, even a classic pumpkin pie, but first I wanted to explore some less obvious uses for fall’s favorite squash.

You can substitute canned pumpkin (not pie mix, which contains added sugar and spices) in any of these recipes, but with every farm stand and grocery store selling inexpensive pumpkins, it’s not a hardship to use fresh. Making pumpkin puree couldn’t be easier. Buy (or harvest!) smaller pie pumpkins, and cut them into quarters. Scoop the seeds and “guts” from each quarter; reserve the seeds to roast, if you like. (I like to toss mine with a little bit of melted butter and sriracha after I rinse the slimy pumpkin pulp away from them, and bake them for about 10-15 minutes at 350°F.) From there, you can roast, boil or steam your pumpkin, until it is fork tender. And then you can just put it in the food processor and puree it. It’s great for all kinds of things — baked goods, savory dishes, even flavoring your own coffee. I used some in place of sauce for a decadent lasagna, mixed some into the dough for a batch of maple cinnamon rolls, and made some healthy(ish) cookies that can be a snack, but were meant to be eaten for breakfast!

Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookies

  •  2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. maple sugar
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1/2 c. flax meal
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 c. salted pepitas (optional)

The directions for this are simple; combine all ingredients in a bowl and drop by the tablespoonful onto a greased or lined cookie sheet, and bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes. They are dense, moist, and give you a great excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

For the bread:
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 c.lukewarm water
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 4 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry milk
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. bread machine yeast
For the filling:
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. maple sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
For the glaze:
  • 1 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 c. maple sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk

Combine all bread ingredients in the bowl of a bread machine and run on dough setting. Preheat oven to 350°F. After dough cycle has completed, roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Combine filling ingredients and spread over dough in a thin layer. Roll dough up and divide first in half, then half again. Divide each remaining section into three and place slices cut-side-up in a greased baking pan. Set on stovetop and allow to rise 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size. Bake 30 minutes and allow to cool slightly. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over finished rolls.

Pumpkin Lasagna

  • 1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. light cream
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 bag Italian blend shredded cheese

Chop bacon while raw, then render in a large skillet. When crispy, remove to a dish for later, leaving rendered fat in the skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add pumpkin and sage, then cream. Combine well and add bacon back to the pan. In a bowl, combine ricotta, egg and nutmeg. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a greased baking dish, place a layer of noodles, then half of the ricotta mixture, then one third of the bacon and squash mixture. Top with another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta, then another third of the squash. Add a final layer of noodles, then the remaining squash, and top with shredded cheese. Bake 30-45 minutes or until shredded cheese is melted and starts to bubble and turn golden brown. You can also use fresh pasta — I made my own, and incorporated the dried sage into the dough, instead of adding it to the squash mixture.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.