Friday, October 28, 2011

Pass the pumpkin butter, please

I love pumpkin pie. Everyone in this house loves pumpkin pie. And it's pretty easy to make. The last one I made was dairy-free using coconut milk. It was delicious and nearly indistinguishable from the traditional recipe, give for a subtle hint of coconut... but who would mind that? (I baked a little pie pumpkin (halved, seeded, baked at 350F, cut side down on a baking sheet for 1 1/2 hours) and used all the flesh. I'm sure that was more than the 15 ounces called for in the recipe. I also used only a scant 1/2 cup of brown sugar and no white sugar.)

But really, how long does a pie stick around at your house? Here we get 2 days, tops. You eat it after dinner, then for breakfast the next morning. If it's not gone by then you might get one more slice in the afternoon.

So, my solution? A big batch of pumpkin butter to keep in the fridge (or share) and spread on any manner of delivery devices (toast, apples, cookies, pears, pancakes) or, if you're like me, just eat straight out of the jar with a spoon. Instant pumpkin pie!

I adapted a no-frills recipe with great results. It has way less sugar than was called for, and I'm sure you could substitute other sweeteners (maple syrup or honey, perhaps.) If you make some, I'd love to know what you think. What is your favorite way to eat it?

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Pumpkin Butter adapted from
Makes about 8 cups.

Make pumpkin purée:

3 small pie pumpkins - halved, seeded, baked cut-side down on a baking sheet at 350F for 1 1/2 hours

Scoop out cooked flesh. Compost skins. Place pumpkin flesh in a bowl and purée with a hand blender, (or use blender or food processor to purée.)

Make pumpkin butter:

Place pumpkin purée in a slow cooker (to within 2 inches of the top) and add the following:

Just shy of 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
Just shy of 1 teaspoon ground cloves
Just shy of 1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1 cup sugar

Cook for 8 hours, (low or medium on some slow cookers,) with the lid slightly ajar so steam can escape and the pumpkin can reduce in volume and thicken.

I think I called it good at just short of 8 hours. I was happy with the thickness and the flavor was delicious. The day was done and it was time to taste! Place the cooled pumpkin butter in jars and store in the fridge for up to 6 months. (Make certain to use sterile jars and lids if you're planning on keeping it in the fridge for that long.) You can also freeze it.

Put a dollop on top of a yummy fall muffin and enjoy! I'll share my friend Laura's recipe for these delicious "all in" muffins in the coming days.

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