When thinking of fall, you think of pumpkins. They are everywhere the minute summer starts to fade and fall approaches. Here where I live we have a ton of pumpkin farms so I literally watch the fields become awash in orange spheres.
No matter where you turn, there is a pumpkin with a candle inside of it, piles of pumpkins at the stores, pumpkin knick-knacks, people dressed as pumpkins, and even trash bags for your leaves that look like pumpkins. But of all the pumpkin-related things out there during the fall, my favorite pumpkin is the one on the kitchen table.
Unfortunately, when pumpkin is delivered to the table in the same way over and over again, it can result in ‘pumpkin burnout.’ Just like with any food fatigue or burnout, it isn’t the fault of the food, but the way the food is delivered. When was the last time your pumpkin pie brought exclamations of delight to the family dinner table? Have your pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread been met with a less than enthusiastic welcome?
It’s time to get creative and avoid ‘pumpkin burnout’ this fall. Let’s switch things up a bit and create some sweet and savory surprises.
A plate of pumpkin cookies is a surprising sweet treat after dinner. Just looking at them, your guests may not be able to tell what exactly is on the plate. But, they will soon find out when they bite into this scrumptious flavor favorite. Pumpkin pie won’t even be missed when you serve up a variety of desserts like pumpkin dip with ginger cookies, pumpkin mousse, pumpkin torte, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cheesecake, or even a pumpkin souffle.
You can make pumpkin chips by roasting thin pieces of a sugar pumpkin, sprinkle them with cinnamon, and serve with a cream cheese dip flavored with nutmeg and allspice and cinnamon. And don’t forget pumpkin fudge. With all these surprising options to pumpkin pie, you can’t possibly suffer from pumpkin burnout!
Last week I posted a recipe for cranberry pumpkin bread, do give that a try!
When you think about serving pumpkin in something other than a dessert, a casserole comes to mind almost immediately. And when you’re thinking about casseroles, you should think about Kürbisauflauf. Yes, I know it is a mouth full, but this German pumpkin casserole is something that will definitely not contribute to any kind of pumpkin burnout. This casserole is made with potatoes, apples, breadcrumbs, and pumpkin as the main ingredients and usually served with fruit compote.
Even though this is a sweetened casserole, it is not overly sweet. You add sugar if you want, but much of the sweetness comes naturally from the apples and raisins, if added. Also, you are using pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, so the spices are not there. Pumpkin does not taste like pumpkin pie until you add the spices. In this German casserole favorite, you’ll be tasting more of the apple and enjoying the moistness of the pumpkin plus all it’s nutrients.
You are probably familiar with pumpkin muffins. But, because we’re trying to avoid pumpkin burnout here, we’re going to skip the familiar and go with something you may not have tried yet. Pumpkin is a wonderful ingredient to add to pancakes or waffles. Pumpkin offers moisture as well as lots of fiber for a nutritious and delicious breakfast. You may want to add pumpkin to your favorite yogurt and granola parfait for breakfast.
If doughnuts are your favorite breakfast treat, why not add pumpkin? It is a simple matter of combining your doughnut ingredients with pumpkin pie filling and cooking them up as you normally would. That plate of doughnuts all of a sudden is very seasonal and festive. Is a hot bowl of oatmeal your go-to breakfast? Perk it up with pumpkin! Add your favorite spices, some raisins, and you have a hot breakfast that kicks the nutrition level up a notch or two.
If sweet isn’t your thing, you may want to turn your sights on savory flavors. Remember, pumpkin puree has very little flavor on its own. For that reason, pumpkin is the perfect vehicle for other flavors. Since pumpkin is packed with nutritional fiber, it’s a great choice for healthy diets, as well. Pumpkin puree, either homemade or canned, can be mixed with other pureed root crops like rutabaga, turnips, carrots, potatoes, or parsnips, to make hearty soups. For the savory twist, fry up smokey bacon with onion, leeks, garlic, and herbs like rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.
Roast diced pumpkin with other fall vegetables, season with cumin, cayenne pepper, and other savory seasonings to create a side dish suitable for beef, pork, or chicken. Layer sliced pumpkin, onions, potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes with spicy Italian sausage to make a baked dish that’s sure to please your hungry family, and without a bit of pumpkin burnout. Once you get beyond thinking of pumpkin as only a sweet dessert, you will easily move your pumpkin from the sweet side of the pantry to the savory side.
I posted a yummy pumpkin corn chowder recipe on Monday you may want to try out.
Pumpkin drinks are an instantaneous hit anywhere they are served. Some pumpkin beverages are simply pumpkin desserts cleverly disguised as a drink. Pumpkin pie smoothies and pumpkin cheesecake shakes are two that come to mind. Whipping up these drinks is as simple as getting out your blender and making your favorite dessert with a little added milk or ice cream. Of course, pumpkin pie hot chocolate is another favorite.
You can even go the adult beverage route with many recipes that combine pumpkin puree or pumpkin liqueurs. Some drinks simply play on the flavors we associate with pumpkin pie; the spices, that is. But others do actually call for combining pumpkin pie filling with ingredients like Kaluha or rum, and whipping it all up into a frothy drink topped with whipped cream. This would be a sort of dessert drink with a pumpkin twist. Certainly, these drinks won’t lead to pumpkin burnout!
Whether you’re looking for new recipes to serve pumpkin in sweet ways, or you’re trying to steer your pumpkin away from sweet and into savory, all it takes is a bit of creativity. Experiment with a variety of flavors, both savory and sweet, to bring out the very best of everything pumpkin has to offer. Remember, pumpkin does not taste like pumpkin pie on its own. That means, you can start fresh! Surprise your family and your guests with something new this fall – serve dishes that will never contribute to pumpkin burnout.
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