Cook's Corner: Pumpkin can make tasty dish

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell
Halloween is over and you need to find some use for that pumpkin you carved in honor of the holiday.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now might be the perfect time to start thinking about some pumpkin pies for the holiday meal.
For my son, any meal is better if you serve a slice of pumpkin pie at the end.
For those cooks who prefer to make their pumpkin pie from scratch, I've found a recipe that is simple to prepare and comes out nice every time.
I haven't mastered the art of making homemade pie crusts yet. I'm still using frozen crusts from the grocery store. My kitchen isn't nearly as messy if I use one of those crusts that come in cellophane wrappers. If you make your own crusts, then go ahead and keep in mind I'm jealous that some cooks can do that with great success.
At any rate, here's the pumpkin pie filling recipe that's sure to be a hit at the Thanksgiving dinner.
Pumpkin Pie
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, pumpkin puree, evaporated milk and eggs; blending until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared unbaked pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes then lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake for about another 40 minutes or until pie is firm.
For those of you who prefer to bake a sugarless pie, I found a recipe that might just fit the bill.
Sugarless Pumpkin Pie
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 packets granulated artificial sweetener
Beat egg, sugar substitute and spices until fluffy. Add milk and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into unbaked 8-inch pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
I really like pumpkin and this time of year is perfect for using the vegetable most often overlooked by cooks everywhere. There is so much more that a pumpkin can be used for than just pies.
As a matter of fact, I have heard of pumpkin being used in a sauce over pasta.
If you think that pumpkin isn't versatile, look at this next recipe. I've heard of pumpkin soup and just recently gave it a try. You'll be surprised at how good this recipe really is if you just give it a chance.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
1/4 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch paprika, for garnish
1 cup seasoned croutons (optional)
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream of potato soup, water, pumpkin, butter, and cream. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ginger. Stir until blended, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour into a tureen. Sprinkle the top with paprika, and top with seasoned croutons.
This last recipe is a dip recipe that can be served with just about any cookie. It's especially good with ginger snaps, but you can use any shortbread cookie that you like.
Pumpkin Dip
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate
In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until ready to serve.
After looking through so many recipes, I'm really impressed on the dishes you can make with pumpkin.
If you have picky eaters, there are a few things you can try to add a little of the vitamin-rich vegetable to any diet.
Try stirring in a tablespoon of pumpkin puree into a dish of oatmeal. If you have the cinnamon/brown sugar oatmeal, the pumpkin would add a little something extra to the flavor and will certainly boost the dietary benefits of the dish.
Pumpkin can be purchased in pie-ready cans that only call for an egg or two and a little evaporated milk. I have used that kind of pumpkin many times.
Pumpkin also comes in cans that simply contain pureed pumpkin. This is the kind of pumpkin you can add to oatmeal or other dishes by the spoonful. When canned, pumpkin is fully cooked and is ready to consume straight from the can.
With Thanksgiving just a few short weeks away, I plan to continue next week with some recipes that would be fit for any holiday table.
If you have a special, new or unusual dish that your family will be enjoying for the Thanksgiving meal, please share it with me. I'll be glad to give you credit for any recipe I pass along in this column. You can reach me at 867-4876 or by email at
Until next week, happy cooking!