Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pumpkin Season

Not only does fall bring spectacular color to the trees and a nip to the air, but it brings pumpkin season, a time when my thoughts turn to pumpkins and winter squash in general. Before we get to pumpkins and apples, however, I want to let anyone reading this who knows our daughter that she has a new job (in Oakland) and a new house not far from her boyfriend's work...and only about an hour from us! Looking forward to spending more time with them once they are moved in.

 It is also the silly season, otherwise know as election time. Although I know that it is fashionable to be cynical and to not vote, maybe because it seems that it doesn't make much difference, I urge you, (if you have the right to vote in the U.S.A.) no matter what party or cause you support or dislike, to vote this time. In many ways we are at a crossroads in the United States, so it is your opportunity, right, and obligation  to participate in our political system. That is the only way that it can stumble along and the other political systems that might replaced our current one if too many of us stay home will probably not allow you a exercise that voice now before you lose it. Even if you don't particularly care about the Presidential contest, there are still important local issues being decided and they are often the ones that impact your day-to-day life the most. So vote! 'Nuff said.

Back to pumpkins! Since good quality pumpkin puree is available in cans, the quickest way for me to get a pumpkin fix is to throw something together using that instead of fresh pumpkin. I did get one small pumpkin from the garden this year...the gophers got the others when they were still small (and they nibbled on the one I have before I protected it with chicken wire), plus I have a couple of butternut squash still in the garden, encased in chicken wire while their skins harden up a bit, so there will be recipes in the future using fresh squash.

Today's recipe also uses the last of the Gravenstein apples. I roasted them with just a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle of maple syrup. The roasting intensified their flavors and softened them, too.

I love pumpkin pie but decided to just do the filling part and bake it in small ramekins in a water bath to keep the texture nice and creamy. I used non-gat evaporated milk and reduced the sugar, plus I used brown sugar. The spices were the same as usual but I used egg substitute and that canned pumpkin, so the final pudding was surprisingly healthy and quite delicious. With a good sized scoop of warm roasted apples on top of the chilled puddings it was like eating the essence of fall. Sweetie wanted some whipped cream on his but mine was without and I enjoyed it just the way it was.

This recipe goes together quickly, although you do need to allow time for the puddings to chill. You can roast the apples while the pudding chills, or you can do it the day before like I did and reheat the apples at serving time. Since the apples don't need to be peeled, they go pretty quickly, too. Imagine how delighted your family or friends will be when you serve up this delicious dessert!

Individual Pumpkin Puddings
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs or equivalent egg substitute (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (15 oz.) canned pumpkin puree', not pumpkin pie mix
1 can (12 fl. oz.) non-fat evaporated milk
cinnamon sugar
boiling water
Roasted apples (see recipe below)
Whipped cream (optional)

Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl (not necessary with egg substitute). Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in non-fat evaporated milk.

Spray 6 ramekins with baking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (optional). Pour the pumpkin mixture evenly among the ramekins, leaving at least 1/2 inch room at the top.

Place a baking pan with 3 inch high sides which is large enough to hold all the ramekins in the oven. Add boiling water to at least an inch. Carefully place the ramekins in the pan, leaving space between them. Add additional boiling water so that ramekins sides are at least half covered by the water. Bake in preheated 350° F oven for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or until completely cold.

Remove from the refrigerator and put each ramekin on a small plate. Top generously with the roasted apples. Serve. If desired, top with whipped cream before serving.

Roasted Spiced Apples with Maple Syrup
maple syrup

I didn't have measurements for this recuoe, Cut apples in half and use melon-ball tool to remove the core in each half. Use a sharp knife to remove any stem or blossom end debris. Cut each half in 4-5 wedges and lay, cut side down on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or a silicon mat. Once all the apples have been placed on the baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until apples are cooked and edges are beginning to brown. Cool on pan. Remove to a bowl and chill if not serving right away. Reheat if necessary when serving.


  1. Oh, hurray for the proximity of your daughter! That must be awfully satisfying to know she's so close now! Woot!

    Man, those APPLES! Look so tasty. We are entering the Gorge on Pumpkins season, which I will gratefully swan into after the Silly Season is over. Erg.

  2. I think one of each of those for lunch would be just perfect ... can I do that or will the food police come after me. Seriously, those look wonderful together and I would nominate them to run for main dish dessert!