Just last week, in the heart of October, the temperatures here in central Pennsylvania were topping out at over 80 degrees F, which did little to engender an autumnal spirit in the locals. Today, though, fall seems to be in full swing, as gilded leaves flutter to the ground, carried by a slight breeze that still holds a memory of its summer warmth, but is fully encased in autumnal crispness. Because of this much-appreciated return of the season I love so much, I couldn’t wait to put some of last week’s pumpkin purée to use in an autumn recipe or two!
Attempting Autumn Recipes
This was my first time using fresh pumpkin, so I was a bit apprehensive (Would everything be too watery? Would I be horrified to find that I like canned pumpkin better? What if I didn’t freeze the pumpkin correctly, and it’s just an icy mess?). Thankfully, our purée did not live up to its watery reputation; it emerged from the freezer without a single ice crystal to speak of; and, the earthy, autumnal aroma that burst forth from each bag of glowing orange purée removed all doubt from my mind that canned pumpkin could ever threaten the quality of fresh.
So, with all of my fears at ease, today we’ll be digging into two very different ways to fully enjoy fall’s flavors!
Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Complete recipe yields 14 – 18 muffins
Ingredients for Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or use white whole wheat flour for a healthier kick)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin purée (equal to one can of pumpkin)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter (melted)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Ingredients for Streusel Topping (Optional)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices, nuts, and salt until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until blended.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined
- To make the streusel topping, mix the butter, sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a fork until well blended and crumbly.
- Pour the muffin batter into two greased muffin trays, filling each cup with batter until 2/3 of the way full. Top each filled cup with 1 Tablespoon of the streusel topping.
- Bake fro 15 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.
- Let cool, then enjoy this autumn recipe!
Our Second Fall Recipe
After milling our pumpkin purée from last week, I was fascinated by the pumpkin juice created via this grinding process. So, feeling particularly autumnal and adventurous, I set out to learn if pumpkin juice was actually something people drank, outside of the Harry Potter world, of course! It turns out, that not only can pumpkin juice be enjoyed alone, it can augment traditional apple cider into something even more reminiscent of the flavors of fall (and it can infuse your kitchen with an autumnal aroma that seems too perfect to be real)!
Spiced Pumpkin Cider
Yields approximately one quart of cider
- 4 cups of apple cider (1/4 gallon)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (feel free to add more, if you prefer a stronger pumpkin flavor)
- 1 cup apricot nectar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp dried cloves
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp dried or fresh orange peel (the zest of half an orange worked well for me)
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until the mixture reaches a boil.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and pour through a wire strainer.
- Let cool and store in the fridge. This blend is also fantastic when hot, perfect for the impending autumnal chill!
With these fall recipes, a batch of warm pumpkin muffins, and mug of spiced pumpkin cider, you now have all the flavors of fall close at hand and ready to enjoy! I hope you’ll stop by this Saturday for an excavation into the aged art of transforming apples into butter!
For the history lovers in the audience, if you’re looking for a more in-depth look at the history of the pumpkin, we’ll be excavating that particular tradition in a couple weeks when we look at hard-shelled gourds!
Thanks for stopping by the dig!