October 1, my hometown farmers market makes a magical transformation: the row of farmstands becomes a pumpkin patch playground, the perimeter lined with hay bales. Little ones play bumper tractors as the moms and grandparents look on, often recording the squeals of delight. Out front is a pile -- more of an engineering feat, really -- of many-sized pumpkins, minis to mammoths. When my Lady Dog was a puppy and teaching me to heel, the farmers market water spigot was a frequent destination. During that first October, as we approached, she would warily eye the pumpkin pile, the bulbous shapes, the alarming color, sensing I always figured, the frightening faces of the pumpkins' inner jack o' lanterns. Mustering bravery, she would bark -- furiously, wildly -- pulling at the leash to attack the vicious orange creatures. Isn't October grand?
I thought about Lady's fear of pumpkins while throwing the ingredients for this easy-easy pumpkin dip into the food processor -- wishing I'd taken the time to roast a whole pumpkin. But then, tasting the dip -- it's delicious! -- I was just as happy to use the oh-so-convenient canned pumpkin.
The recipe comes from Margie, one of my OCHER-Yaya friends, who suggests serving it with Granny Smith apples and ginger cookies. Me, I'd love it schmeared onto a bagel or a slice of my forever-favorite recipe for pumpkin bread. I even stirred a spoonful into my morning oatmeal: excellent! Unlike some pumpkin spreads I've tasted, this one really tastes like pumpkin, that's a good thing!
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes 3 cups
16 ounces canned pumpkin
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Powdered sugar (or another sweetener, see NOTES) to taste
In a food processor, mix the pumpkin, cream cheese and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Add sugar to taste until desired sweetness is reached.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
Be sure to get 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix which is already spiced and sugared.
For cream cheese, I nearly always choose the lower-fat neufchatel (how to pronounce neufchatel). It's a winner, there's no telling the difference. (To my taste, the no-fat cream cheese is gummy and vile and is to be avoided at all cost!)
Pumpkin pie spice is a common spice blend but it's so easy to mix your own, there's really no reason to shell out the money. For this recipe, I used 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ginger.
The original recipe called for 2 whole cups of sugar, which would have made this sweet-sweet-sweet and almost an icing; it also explains why the original recipe also called for thinning the dip a bit with orange juice. Margie recommended using less sugar so I started with just 1/4 cup of sugar. I'd have been happy to stop here but my taste testers asked for another 1/4 cup -- this makes it slightly sweet but lets the pumpkin flavor itself come through. 2010 Update: I used sorghum as the sweetener, maple syrup would work too.
~ Pumpkin Bars ~
~ Stuffed Pumpkin with Apple & Cranberry ~
~ Whole Pumpkin Baked with Custard ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
~ more recipes for dips & spreads ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Autumn Pumpkin Bread ~
~ Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars ~
~ Pumpkin Bread Pudding ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade