October 29, 2010

Pumpkin time



It's that orange time of the year when it's almost impossible to avoid using those beautiful pumpkins and squashes in a kitchen. It's a well known fact that squashes and pumpkins have very beneficial effects to our health; from anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic to even anti-cancerogenic..
And from an artistic point of view, they are happily used for designing some extremely cool Halloween lanterns. Over the years my family discovered many tricks and tools for carving pumpkins, and developed our own designs.
And every year we got inspiration from the amazing pumpkin designs around a town.





Over the years I tested many different recipes with a squash and pumpkin and came up with many interesting designs appropriate for this time of the year.
One of the coolest was:

Scary Pumpkin bread

(Medusa)


For this recipe the taste is less important, so you can replace this bread recipe with any middle soft dough of your choice, that is easy to work with and of course get those ideas working, to make this head more appropriate for a scary party.
ingredients:

• 2 cups (500 gr) of baked pumpkin
• Approx. 3 cups (700gr) of flour
• 2 eggs
• 2 tbs baking powder
• 200ml of milk
• 1 tsp salt

• Food coloring (green mostly)
• For a head decoration: raspberry jam, berry and orange slices gummies and jelly beans

Clear the pumpkin of seeds, cut it into slices and put in the oven.Bake it on 350 F (180C), until it’s completely soft. Remove the skin and dark parts from the baked and cooled pumpkin.
Mix it with eggs, milk salt, and baking powder and knead all that with the flour.
Make not too soft dough, so you can shape a head. Add some food coloring to make it green (if you wish to look scarier). From 2/3 of dough make a shape of head, push two holes in a middle for the eyes and a cut for the mouth. For a hair take a 1/3 of a dough and shape doesn’t of small strings and attach it to the head. Put a gummies in a place of the nose and eyes and cut some in a shape of teeth for a mouth. Place orange slices around the eyes for the eyebrows. Spread some raspberry jam around a mouth to resemble a blood and bake on a same temperature like the pumpkin for about 20-30 minutes.

Other great pumpkin recipes from around a world:

French Pumpkin Jam

                                                              

Makes 2 X 250g jars                                     

500 g pumpkin                                  
15 g vanilla sugar
2.5 g of cinnamon
200 g sugar
10 g lemon zest
100 g honey
30 g rum

Cut the pumpkin in half, drain and peel them raw. Cut the flesh into pieces. Pour all into a preserving pan. Remove the zest from the lemon. In bowl, add vanilla sugar, cinnamon, granulated sugar, lemon zest, honey. Mix. Bake for about an hour. Stir regularly. Test firing of the jam by dropping a few drops boiling on a cup. If the jam gels at once, it is ready, otherwise repeat the test. As soon as the jam is ready, pour in the rum. Mix and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Pour the hot jam into sterilized jars. Wipe rims of jars, let it cool and close the jars.

Italian Pumpkin cookies
Biscotti di Zucco

600 g pumpkin                                        
1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks
300 gr flour
125g butter
1 lemon
250 g sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala wine or Brandy
1 pinch of salt


You need 1lb ½ (600 gr) of pumpkin flesh, cut into small pieces and place in a saucepan, add a bit 'of water and bring to a boil over low heat, .Continue to cook the pumpkin and when is soft, add sugar and lemon zest. Cook until water evaporates. Pass this mixture through a sieve to remove excess water, if any. Let it cool to room temperature. Sift the flour and place in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, softened butter, 150g of sugar and two egg yolks,mix with a wooden spoon and then add the egg and Marsala. Stir in the pumpkin flesh and if you find that the mixture is too liquid add some flour. Knead with your hands until you have a compact and homogeneous mixture, then make a ball and place in refrigerator for about an hour. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick. With the molds for cookies, or your template, cut-out pumpkins.Place a pumpkin shape with cut out eyes over the pumpkin with no holes. Place a cookies on a cookie sheet, well spaced between them.
Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 360 F (180 ° C) for about 15 minutes.
Let them cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Balkan style-Squash pie (Pita)

Filling                                                    

1lb (500 gr) chopped or grated fresh banana squash
½ lb (250 gr) mix of tick yogurt Balkan style and cottage cheese
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp salt                       
1 tbs oil                             

Dough:

Phyllo dough from a store or Homemade phyllo (method and recipe find on my blog).

Make a filling and prepare a dough according to the method for pita /phyllo making on my Cooking 101 Page:

Bake in the oven for about ½ an hour on 360 F (180 C). 

5 comments:

Flo said...

Whaou... Lot's of great recipes ! I will try the french jam...
I'm french and it's a lovely surprise...

Babli said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment. I appreciate for your wonderful presentation. Lovely recipe.

Zexxy's wife said...

Babli/Flo,thanks for your comments.
In my next posts, I will have more interesting recipes for jams and some Italian/Moroccan stuffed dry fruits in liquor..great for upcoming winter days. So, come back soon!

alwayswinner786 said...

Happy Halloween!
Lots of yummy recipes! I will try your French Pumpkin Jam and looking forward for your next jam recipe!

mangocheeks said...

Another rceipe bookmarked. I did not get to use my pumpkin on Halloween, so the pumpkin jam recipe is going to come in handy. You have saved it from becoming a savoury soup to a sweet delight.

And that pumpkin bread is pretty cool. Awesome in fact!