Pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween. However, as pumpkins are in season from September through October it's a good idea to roast and freeze fresh pumpkin for wonderful recipes such as pumpkin pie, muffins, mousses, pancakes and a host of other creative recipes emanating from the kitchens of the home cook.
Following this recipe, I've given you a simple preparation for cooking and freezing fresh pumpkin. Or, if you don't have the time to do this, just use a good organic brand of canned pumpkin puree.
This Holiday Pumpkin Pecan Muffin recipe is a wonderful delight to bring to a fund raising event for the church or local school, as an addition to a brunch table or a craving snack or desert - all warmed up along with a cold cup of milk or hot cocoa. Yum!
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 cup organic pumpkin puree from a can or fresh, pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped or pulsed in a food processor
1. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine thoroughly.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Add these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix into a smooth batter. Do not over whisk. Next, gently fold in the roughly chopped pecans. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes or more.
3. Fill the muffin tins or papers with the batter three quarters of the way full. Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes or when inserting a toothpick into the center and it comes out looking clean. If not, cook for 2 minutes more and test again. The muffins should look golden brown.
And, for an extra little crunchy treat, you can sprinkle turbinado sugar (raw brown sugar - or those little packets from Starbucks,) right on top before you bake them. Yum - delicious!
This recipe makes 12 large regular sized muffins.
Preparing, Cooking and Freezing Fresh Pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
1. Use a large, sharp chef's knife for this task. Wash the pumpkin, cut it into quarters and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin pieces skin side down in a large roasting pan and add approximately 1" of water to the bottom. Cover and roast for approximately 1 hour (if large) or less if the pumpkin is small. A sharp utility knife or wooden skewer inserted into the flesh will tell you that it's done. It should be tender. Let the pumpkin cool and then, using a sharp knife, cut away the flesh.
2. The next step is great if you have a favorite recipe for a pumpkin pie, muffins or pancakes that call for 1 or 2 cups of pumpkin puree. Place the roasted pumpkin in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Place 1 to 2 cups into freezer bags and label with the date and the amount of cups for any given recipe. Alternatively, you can freeze the chunks of pumpkin the same way for your special recipes and puree at will.