The Great Pumpkin

The Great Pumpkin

Originally posted in 406 Woman Magazine

Summer is over and it’s time to embrace fall! This is a great time of year to bring the family together and eat great food prepared with love. I know you may think of turkey, stuffing, and family favorites, but how about the Great Pumpkin. I remember literally reading that story and how much it meant to me. This year, I decided to really investigate and provide some fun recipes for you to incorporate into your family traditions.

Did you know that pumpkins were originally thought to cure snake bites and take away freckles? Just a bit of trivia I learned in my research. As a child, I remember picking out the perfect pumpkin with my mom and being able to use a knife for the first time to carve the face that I envisioned as soon as I spotted the pumpkin.
Now, as an adult, I have turned my focus to food. Pumpkins are a wonderful food source with endless uses. Little did I know as a child that they were not just for carving and roasting the seeds.
A small hint on seasoning the seeds…make sure to spray them with butter cooking spray and only use sea salt. For extra flavor, use cayenne or a seasoning salt for steak and you will be amazed.

For a family feast celebrating the pumpkin, let’s start with a cocktail that makes the pumpkin a star. You can simply omit the alcohol for your little pumpkins.

Isaiah’s Pumpkin Drink Recipe:
1oz pumpkin puree
.5oz apple cider
.5oz agave sweetener (70% agave 30% water mix)
2oz Maker’s mark bourbon
Rub rim of glass with lemon, dip into ground pecan, cinnamon, nutmeg and Chinese 5 spice mixture
Shake and strain cocktail over ice. Garnish with a fresh apple slice and enjoy!

By – Isaiah Garefino, Executive Mixologist

Hint…Store your pumpkins (like your potatoes) in a pantry (room temperature spot with not much light) – like a panty.
Let’s have fun with an entrée that will wow your guests. Go ahead and bring out your themed fall dishes to show off your creations. I inherited many pumpkin shaped dishes that only get to be used this time of year. Using these special dishes brings back very fond memories of hot apple cider, fresh baked bread, and apple butter made from our own trees.

Kristen’s Pumpkin & Crab Delight

Small pumpkin (they are the most flavorful) – 1 half for each person
Jumbo lump crab
Regular or light mayo
Lemon pepper to taste
Favorite hot sauce
Real butter
Cinnamon
Non-flavored breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degree’s
Slice pumpkin into two and clean out the seeds. Save them for roasting as a tasty treat.

Cook the pumpkins on a baking sheet with a butter pat in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until tender but still keeping shape. Set aside to cool down to just above room temperature.

In a bowl; mix drained ump crab, mayonnaise, lemon pepper and a dash of hot sauce to taste. (Use a spoon so you do not break up the crab).

Place the mixture in each half of the pumpkin and top with breadcrumbs and cinnamon. Place under broiler until tops brown.

Serve immediately in your favorite seasonal bowls. Enjoy making this your own family tradition.

With such an amazing entrée, it has to be followed with a show stopping dessert. This had me really thinking as that is not my specialty, so I looked to my pastry Chef. Her creation was delicious and I was stunned at how easy this recipe is to make perfectly.

Pumpkin Mousse with Ginger Whipped Cream
Serves 8 – Cook time: 15 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes

For Mousse:
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream – whipped to soft peaks

For Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1tbsp grated ginger (fresh)
½ cup white sugar

For Mousse:
In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1 tbsp cold water and set aside. In another small bowl, stir pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla until completely mixed. Bring a double boiler with approx. 2 inches of water to a simmer. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in top of double boiler until mixture reads 160 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and whisk until cold and increased in volume (approx. 5 minutes). Heat gelatin mixture in microwave in 5-second intervals until dissolved. Let cool slightly, then add to yolk mixture. Fold pumpkin mixture into yolk mixture. Fold in whipped cream and pour into serving glasses. Chill until set (approx. 4 hours).

For Ginger Whipped Topping:
Place a bowl and whisk or beaters in freezer to chill. Meanwhile grate your fresh ginger. Add cream to bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually adding sugar and grated ginger. Top pumpkin mousse with whipped cream.
*You can also add crushed graham crackers or ginger snap cookie for garnish.

Who knew that the simple pumpkin was not just for carving and leaving on your front door step for all to enjoy? Not that I am going to stop carving pumpkins, but my appreciation for them has truly grown. Have a wonderful fall and we will see you in the beautiful winter that Montana is so known for. Snow ghosts are coming!

Kristen Ledyard
John’s Angels Catering LLC

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