This time of year we see the image of pumpkins everywhere, on most doorsteps, and as the main ingredient to many fall and holiday recipes.
Pie or sugar pumpkins are smaller than the common jack-o-lantern carving pumpkin and the best type to use when baking and cooking. With Halloween behind us, these small pumpkins will be more difficult to find, so buy them now so you can enjoy using fresh pumpkin in your holiday dishes. Canned pumpkin will always do the trick and is quite tasty, but nothing beats the flavor of fresh pumpkin!
The best way to get the “meat” out of the pumpkin is to roast it. Pre-heat the oven to 375′F, cut a sugar or pie pumpkin in half or large chunks, scoop out the guts and seeds. Save the seeds so that you can roast those for a snack or to sprinkle on a salad. Place the pumpkin halves skin side up on a foil-lined shallow baking dish, add a small amount of water, approximately 3/4 cup, and bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool completely, remove to the skin and discard, and mash the pumpkin with a potato masher. Now you have pumpkin to create all kinds of yummy dishes.
One of my favorite pumpkin recipes is pumpkin bread, which I love anytime of year, however having access to real pumpkin makes it a real treat. It results is a super moist, fluffy, flavorful and fragrant snack or dessert. I love the smell of the kitchen when the bread is ready to come out of the oven. Kids love this bread too!
As a bonus, I don’t believe this recipe tastes any different than the gluten version. I blended in a bit of buckwheat flour to give the bread a touch of whole grain fiber. If you don’t have buckwheat you can use 2 cups of your regular gluten-free flour instead of 1 1/2. Buckwheat is not wheat and is gluten-free, to learn more about buckwheat and its benefits read here.
Gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe*
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used Whole Food’s 365 brand gluten-free all-purpose baking mix)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour (I use Arrowhead Mills)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups fresh pumpkin (or canned if fresh is unavailable)
* as always, confirm all your ingredients are gluten-free
Preheat the oven to 350′F
Mix the first set of ingredients in a bowl.
Combine the sugar and the melted butter, add the eggs and pumpkin in a second bowl.
Fold the dry ingredients into the second bowl, and blend.
Pour into an 8×8 baking dish, and bake for 40 min, or a bread pan for about an hour, or until a knife comes out clean from the middle.
Author Information: Anne Steib, Chicago, IL