I am infamous in my family for my deep, passionate dislike for pumpkin pie. In a family of pumpkin pie lovers, I stand out as the black sheep, opting instead for the apple pie, pumpkin cake, or just plain decaf. What’s my beef with pumpkin, you ask? Listen. Pumpkin is great. I love the stuff. The texture of pumpkin is what I take issue with: in a custard-based pie, there’s just not enough going on for me to get excited.
But I do love pumpkin itself. Come fall and cold weather, I stock up on cans of that beautiful orange stuff, and I cook my little heart out. You should too! Just make it into anything but a pie. I beg you.
1. Make Gnocchi
Pumpkin, in my opinion, shines when it’s placed in a savory dish. When paired with fall flavors like sage and rosemary, its subtle flavor comes through and makes any dish just that much extra delicious. The Chopping Block has an upcoming virtual class on how to make ricotta gnocchi, so go sign up now, learn how to make the good stuff, and then stir some pumpkin into your next batch. Once you get good at it, you’ll be making pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter all fall long.
2. Pumpkin Up Your Smoothie
I think sometimes that people forget that pumpkin is a fruit. It’s full of fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene. What better way to refresh your morning smoothie routine besides adding a couple of tablespoons? Grate in some turmeric, fresh ginger, and vanilla Greek yogurt. Top it with a bit of cinnamon. Did you just make a pumpkin pie smoothie? You bet you did.
3. Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
Remember that phase we all went through when we added bacon to everything? This year, we’re doing that for pumpkin. I’m guilty of whipping up a batch of macaroni and cheese every time the weather gets remotely chilly — no, really. I’ve made three pans already this fall, and it’s barely October. If there’s a little bit of pumpkin left in the can from one of my other pumpkin adventures, I’ll grab that lonely little teaspoon and stir it into the roux I make for my cheese sauce. Add a bit of nutmeg and some ground sage, and all of the sudden your macaroni and cheese will remind you of a dish at your favorite bistro.
4. Make Cookies
Once upon a time, I was doing my crazy baking experiment things, and I had an idea. What if a pumpkin spice latte escaped and had a baby with the crispiest-on-the-outside and chewiest-on-the-inside snickerdoodle cookie? Stay with me here. I grabbed the nearest can of pumpkin and got to it. The result was one of the best trays of cookies I’ve ever had. They’re requested every year, they never last more than a day on the counter, and they’re definitely better than pumpkin pie. Go give them a try!
Want more pumpkin in your life? Join us for Cupcake Boot Camp on Sunday, October 3 at 10am at Lincoln Square and make Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Icing and Candied Cranberries and more!