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Pumpkin Harvest

One of my favorite fall foods is pumpkin. I love to cook with fresh pumpkin whenever
I have the time and a pumpkin dish of some sort always adorns my holiday table.
Pumpkin is a variety of squash and it can be cooked in a variety of ways. I offer
you several of my favorites this month.

Try a bowl of my pumpkin soup on a chilly November night with a loaf of crusty
bread and a green salad. It’s hearty, nutritious, and a snap to make. Pumpkin
also makes a delicious mousse for an elegant holiday dessert.

Whether you use fresh or the canned variety—pull out the pumpkin and enjoy
fall cooking to the fullest.

PUMPKIN POUND CAKE

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups sugar

6 eggs, room temperature

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 cups canned or cooked pumpkin, mashed

1/3 cup rum (can substitute water)

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream butter and sugar until creamy and very light in color. Add eggs, one at
a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
Combine pumpkin and rum in another bowl. Alternate adding flour mixture to egg
mixture with pumpkin and rum mixture. Mix only until blended after each addition.
Pour cake batter into tube pan and bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes on wire
rack. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely. Makes 16 servings.

PUMPKIN SOUP

2 cups canned pumpkin

1-1/2 quarts chicken stock

1/4 cup chopped green onions

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon steak sauce (such as A-1)

Unsweetened whipped cream for garnish 

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, snipped for garnish

In a heavy saucepan combine all ingredients except cream
and parsley; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Warm cream in small saucepan.
When ready to serve, stir warm cream into soup and garnish with fresh parsley.
Serves 6 to 8.

PUMPKIN RUM MOUSSE

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup unsalted butter

4 eggs, separated

1-1/2 cups pumpkin pie filling

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup rum

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Sweetened whipped cream for garnish

Grated orange zest, for garnish

Rum, to drizzle for garnish

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine sugar, 1/2 cup cream,
butter, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat and bring to a slow rolling boil,
stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn or scorch. Continue with slow boil
for 2 minutes. Strain mixture into a large bowl over ice. (Set bowl in large
pan filled with ice to chill mixture.) When cool, whisk in pumpkin pie filling,
vanilla, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup rum. Whip egg whites in a separate bowl until
stiff. In another bowl whip 1/2 cup whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Gently
fold egg whites and whipped cream into cooked, cooled mixture. Fill champagne
or wine glasses with the mousse and cover with plastic film. Chill for 6 hours
or overnight. When ready to serve add a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream,
a little orange zest, and a splash of rum to each glass. Serves 8.

PERFECT PUMPKIN PIE

3 eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 cups pureed pumpkin (you may use canned)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Pecan halves for garnish

Preheat oven to 450°. Beat together eggs and both sugars
until light. Stir in pumpkin, spices, and salt; mix thoroughly. Stir in cream
and half-and-half. Fill pastry shell with mixture. Bake the pie for 8 minutes
then reduce heat to 325° and bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes or until filling
is set. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Press pecan halves
decoratively on top of warm filling. Allow pie to cool completely before cutting.
Serves 8.

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