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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 23, 2002

They're good for more than just pie

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

If you're up for some pumpkin experimentation in the kitchen, here are some guidelines:

When recipes call for raw pumpkin, cut pumpkin into quarters, scoop out seeds and strings, pare away skin with vegetable peeler and cut into slices, chunks, sticks or small dice. Depending on the size of the cut, pumpkin will take 15 to 30 minutes to cook and should be cooked by a moist heat method (braising, stewing, baking with oil or butter and a foil cover).

To make pureed pumpkin, cut pumpkin in halves or quarters, scoop out seeds and strings and place, cut side down, on a foil-covered baking pan that's been lightly oiled. Lightly oil the skin to prevent scorching. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on size of pumpkin. Scoop out flesh or peel away skin and puree the pumpkin in a food processor or mash it well with a potato masher or potato ricer.

A 2-pound pumpkin will yield a little more than 1 pound (about 3 cups) of puree or pieces.

Here's a sweet alternative to pumpkin pie based on a recipe from Mollie Katzen's new "Sunlight Cafe Cookbook" (Hyperion, hardback, $29.95).

Pumpkin Coconut Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup packed granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons more sugar

Lightly spray 6 (6-ounce) ramekins or baking cups with nonstick spray.

Place a 9-by-13-inch baking pan in a cold oven and pour in enough water to half-fill it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-size bowl, mix the pumpkin with salt, sugar and spices and mash until very smooth. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs and mix until completely blended. Pour in milk and vanilla extract and mix until everything is uniformly combined.

Spoon pudding into prepared ramekins, sprinkle with coconut and additional sugar, and place in panful of hot water in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted all the way into the pudding about halfway between the edge and the center of the ramekin comes out clean.

Carefully remove pan from oven and use tongs to remove ramekins from water to rack to cool. Chill before serving. Tastes best at room temperature or cold.

Serves 6.

This recipe from Good Morning America correspondent Sara Moulton employs a garnish of roasted pumpkin seeds that take a long time, so should be made in advance.

• • •

Pumpkin Soup in the Shell

  • 8 mini pumpkins (each about the size of very large tomato)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup water or 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Cut the top quarter off four of the pumpkins, reserving the lids and discarding the seeds.

Cut the remaining four pumpkins in half, reserving the seeds from two of the pumpkins.

Toss the reserved, cleaned seeds with oil and salt to taste and roast in a 250-degree oven, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until golden and crisp.

Bake pumpkins, cut side down, on lightly oiled, foil-lined baking sheets at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. Cool, scrape pulp from the four halved pumpkins and scrape most but not all pulp from remaining four pumpkins, leaving just enough so that the pumpkins retain their shape.

In a skillet, melt the butter and sweat the onions and ginger root together over low heat until the onions are translucent and softened and the ginger releases its fragrance. Add pumpkin pulp, stock, water and wine (if using) and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree in blender and return to saucepan; add salt and pepper as needed and heat through.

Serve the soup in the hollowed-out pumpkin shells sprinkled with a few pumpkin seeds.

Serves 4.

This recipe is representative of spicy West Indian treatments for squash. It's a moderately hot, slightly sweet melange that can be served over rice or other steamed grains.

• • •

Colombo de Giraumon (Spicy Pumpkin)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 small, hot red chili, finely chopped and seeded
  • 1 pound raw pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy Dutch oven or other large pan and saute onion over low heat until transparent. Add garlic and cook gently. Stir in curry powder, cloves, chili, pumpkin, tomatoes, raisins and sugar. Sprinkle lemon juice over. Cover and cook very gently for 30 to 40 minutes, until pumpkin is tender. Stir frequently and add a little water or wine as needed to prevent sticking. Serve as a side dish or vegetarian main dish over rice.