Produce great pumpkins, the pies will follow later.
Welcome to the Second Annual Pumpkin Week here at "feasting…on gluten-free pixels” !
Last year during the First Annual Pumpkin Week, I relayed a little about the history and lore of the pumpkin. I shared my recipes for Pumpkin soup and Pumpkin seed brittle. This year I will talk a bit about one of my favorite pumpkins, the sugar pumpkin and share some of the recipes that I have working on using the sugar pumpkin over the past week.
If autumn had a taste, it would taste like sugar pumpkins. Sugar pumpkins, pie-pumpkins, or sweet pumpkins are not the same as the pumpkins that we use to carve our jack-o-lanterns. Sugar pumpkins are smaller, less fibrous and much sweeter than their big brothers and belong to the winter squash family. In addition, as you will see this week, the sugar pumpkin is quite versatile in both savory and sweet recipes.
When buying your sugar pumpkins, look for those that are small, round, firm and heavy for their size. The sugar pumpkin has less defined ridges and a duller orange skin than the shiny-skinned jack-o-lanterns. Be sure to inspect the pumpkin for any cracks, bruises and that the stem is intact. These little beauties will last for a month at room temperature.
half’n’half roasted Sugar pumpkins
Since I cook just for myself or for an occasional guest, I cut a Sugar pumpkin in half and season one half as savory and the other as sweet.
one sugar pumpkin washed, dried and cut in half
ingredients for the savory half
sea salt (I used four kinds of salt: Black Kilauea, Pink Australian, Red Haleakala, and White Flake Cyprus.)
coarse-ground black pepper
ingredients for the sweet half
dark brown sugar
nutmegon whole star-anise
splash of vanilla
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat baking dish bottom with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Washed and cut the sugar pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and fibers and set aside.Poke hole in the pumpkins to allow the flavorings to infuse during roasting, but be careful not to pierce through the skin.
Apply the savory ingredients to one side and the sweet ingredients to the other.
Add 1/4 inch of water to the roasting pan and tent with aluminum foil.
Roast the pumpkin halves for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
Cool the pumpkins to room temperature.
I cube the savory roasted pumpkin and use them in a salad with my home grown French lettuces, goat cheese, drizzled with my spicy vinaigrette and topped with Smoked Paprika roasted pumpkin seeds.
The sweet roasted pumpkin, I peel and slice thin then add to my maple caramel sauce. Heat the thin slices in the sauce until warm. Serve with thick Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream. Yummy just alone, too.
(NOTE: the recipes in bold will follow through my Second Annual Pumpkin Week.)