The Great Pumpkin
October 26, 2004 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Looking at pumpkin receipes, they all seem to be mostly sugar and gunk with a little pumpkin thrown in to make sure it lives up to its name. Am I looking at the wrong receipes?
posted by twine42 to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No. Pumpkin is a pretty miserable ingredient for recipes. Particularly the kind of pumpkin you might get to carve. Even the best pumpkin pies are made of squash and other stuff.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:41 AM on October 26, 2004

You may be looking at the wrong recipes. Pumpkin pie is definitely more sugar and gunk based than other pumpkin recipes. However, there are many delicious ways to prepare pumpkin where the pumpkin is the center of the recipe. I usually go to to get an overview of an ingredient and then go someplace else, often cookbooks, with more recipe quality control to find a more vetted recipe for a similar dish. In this case here's a short list of pumpkin dishes that aren't all pies.
posted by jessamyn at 7:47 AM on October 26, 2004

I can offer this pumpkin pie recipe, which has a high pumpkin content.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:47 AM on October 26, 2004

The other day I happened to be present when some of my Italian colleagues were discussing pumpkin with French colleagues. The French maintained that pumpkin is a useless ingrediant - bland and boring beyond redemption. The Italians disagreed. They use it to make pasta.
posted by hazyjane at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2004

it depends on the pumpkin recipe. pies will have lots of "gunk" in them--especially custard ones; it's the nature of custard. but other pumpkin recipes won't. alton brown has a good pumpkin bread and sara moulton does a good non-cream-based pumpkin soup (personally, i prefer the cream-based ones). there are several yummy pumpkin ravioli recipes out there, but i don't have any of my cookbooks handy.

carving pumpkins are not good for cooking; you need normal squash-sized pumpkins for cooking. carving pumpkins tend to have too much water and to big significant;y less flavorful. smaller ("sugar pumpkins") have a nice nuanced flavor, but is is milder than most winter squashes (such as acorn, butternut, or hubbard).
posted by crush-onastick at 8:02 AM on October 26, 2004

Man, oh man ... do you miss a great "Iron Chef" last night. Guess what the challenge ingredient was.
posted by RavinDave at 8:26 AM on October 26, 2004

There are lots of great Afghan recipes for pumpkin.
My favorite is Kadu Bouranee, it is the best dish at the Helmand here in Cambridge, and is really easy to make. The pumpkin is the key here - the two sauces that are served with it are not meant to overwhelm the pumpkin flavor.
posted by whatzit at 8:43 AM on October 26, 2004

Look, recipes from the Internet Shrine and Library for Pumpkins. Some are sugary and gunky, but the Moroccan soup sounds pretty good. Here's another soup recipe that I haven't tried but that seems to have sound principles.

Pumpkin is such a cute curvy little word.
posted by melissa may at 9:03 AM on October 26, 2004

Ever had pumpkin muffins?

I use my banana bread recipe and substitute pumpkin for the banana. I also add chopped dried apricots. So far everyone I've fed them to has thought they were kickass.
posted by orange swan at 9:05 AM on October 26, 2004

Boiled pumpkin (the smaller, green kind called kabocha) is a staple dish (o-banzai in kyoto dialect) in Japan. Recipe. You can substitute chicken stock for dashi and delete mirin if you don't have those.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:21 AM on October 26, 2004

Pumpkindoodles only have a 1/2 cup of pumpkin and have sugar. But, they are really, really good. And you can't really have a cookie without sugar. Pumpkin chili is a good no sugar pumpkin food to make. You really don't want to use jack o'lantern pumpkins to eat (except for the seeds.) They aren't bred for taste, and therefore taste horrible. There are varieties of pumpkin that you can use for cooking, but they are hard to find. You can get canned pumpkin puree about anywhere (in the US, anyway), and it's a heck of a lot easier than cooking your own pumpkin.
posted by Shoeburyness at 11:41 AM on October 26, 2004 [1 favorite]

Pumpkin curry soup isn't bad, despite being cream-less.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:04 PM on October 26, 2004

Response by poster: my appologies - I meant pumpkin pie, but had a brain freeze. Ther's some promising looking recipes in there though. thanks guys...
posted by twine42 at 4:11 PM on October 26, 2004

There's so much more to pumpkin than pie and soup.

Pumpkin is a very popular savoury ingredient in Australia - it's not Sunday lunch without a couple of wedges of roasted pumpkin on the side, slightly charred at the edges, glistening with butter and fresh thyme. We don't tend to use it in desserts at all. I also like to:

- roast a few wedges, dice them, then toss the pumpkin through papardelle with ricotta, parmesan and pinenuts before topping the lot with sage-infused brown butter;

- dice it then slice it thinly, throw it in a pan with some slice chicken, shake over a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce, some palm sugar, some red curry paste and plenty of Thai basil, put the lid on and let it all steam for ten minutes, toss occasionally, serve with plain rice;

- roast a few wedges, dice them, then toss the pumpkin through warm couscous with plenty of fresh mint, coriander, preserved lemon and toasted flaked almonds to go with a tagine;

- dice it and throw it in with coconut-milk based curries - it holds its shape but becomes meltingly tender and the sweetness plays off against the salty/sour/spicy flavours;

- layer thin slices in a vegetable lasagne with courgette, bell pepper, aubergine and red onion.

Mashed, it's a great alternative to potatoes with a very low GI load.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:59 PM on October 26, 2004 [3 favorites]

cooking your own pumpkin isn't that much work (cut in half, cook upside down @ 350 or so for half hour to an hour) and fresh pumpkin tastes soooo much better than the canned mush. more flavor, more texture, no fillers. plus i can be sure it was made from sweeter cooking pumpkins and squash and not the larger flavorless carving kind.

ps lots of canned pumpkin might not actually be pumpkin. they can legally use any kind of squash they want, and still call it pumpkin, as long as there's some pumpkin in there.

i know i found that somewhere, but can't seem to come up with the link, so instead here is a guide to grading canned pumpkin and squash.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:30 PM on October 26, 2004

A year ago I had my ass handed to me on a pie plate for daring to post the Best Evah Pumpkin Pie Recipe Evah to MeFi. If you seek, ye shall find.

It used squash, but it started out several years ago as pumpkin-only. Just I found more and more that other squashes were preferable in flavour.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 PM on October 26, 2004

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