‘Tis the season of pumpkin spice
I love, love, love working with fresh local produce and fall means pumpkins, squash, and apples. One of the local farms produces the heritage rouge vif d’etampes variety of pumpkins, which are excellent cooking specimens but no good for carving unless you like humungous, asymmetrical jack o’lanterns. Once a year I bake and freeze a pumpkin or two, and these monsters are big enough to keep me supplied until the next October rolls around. It’s not all that much work and the result is far more economical than buying canned pumpkin. This is a very good thing, since I am a serious addict.
My latest discovery is Pumpkin & Apple Spice Muffins. These are fat-free, with the fruit providing a moist texture. This recipe makes 2 dozen. I tend to cook in bulk and freeze, but these are also excellent for bake sale/thank you/bribery purposes.
3 cups of flour (plus a bit if the fruit is watery–see below
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ginger
3/4 tsp of nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
In a large bowl, mix:
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
2.5 cups pumpkin (puree in a blender if you’ve baked this from a whole pumpkin to ensure a smooth texture)
Fold in the dry ingredients until all is blended. If you have a very watery batch of pumpkin/apple, add a handful or two of flour. It’s a moist batter but it shouldn’t be runny. Divide into well-greased muffin pans and
bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes. The muffins are done when the tops are firm or a cake tester comes out clean. These are delicious with a sharp cheddar cheese.