Two years ago, four of us celebrated one of those 'significant' birthdays ending in zero within a couple of months. One of the husbands cooked dinner for us, a present in itself. Last year, we decided to make a joint birthday celebration an annual event and all of a sudden, we were assigning courses for a potluck supper. Georg? Appetizer. Kathy? Dessert. (I'm still drooling over that dessert, homemade vanilla ice cream with homemade dulce le leche and hot fudge and three, count 'em, three beautiful little butter cookies.) Ann was less settled but soon knew she wanted to do something, not sure what exactly, with a pumpkin from her CSA. And this is what she brought -- a pumpkin stuffed with apples and cranberries and nuts. It was gorgeous! It made for a perfect side dish with roast chicken and wild rice pilaf I added to the table.
Within a few days, I made another and served it as dessert. Both? Wonderful. The dramatic presentation makes it looks as if you've maybe slaved.
MORE STUFFED PUMPKIN RECIPES Stuffed pumpkins are showing up everywhere! There's the savory side, Fall Stew Baked in a Whole Pumpkin and then another dessert, this time with custard, it's Whole Pumpkin Baked with Custard.
"It was perfect! I made whipped cream laced with cinnamon and everyone raved - even my "foodie" guest!" ~ Lisa
"Wow, that was delicious!" ~ Hobbea
"Wow... that was delicious! ... My guests loved it!!" ~ Anonymous
STUFFED PUMPKIN with APPLE & CRANBERRY
Time to table: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
1 'pie' pumpkin (see TIPS)
2 small tart apples, cored and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/3 cup nuts (I used black walnuts)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Zest of an orange
Zest of a lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (don't skip)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat oven to 350F/175C. Cut the 'cap' off the pumpkin, large enough to stuff, not so large as to limit how much fruit will fit. Scoop out the seeds and gunk. Combine the filling ingredients and pack tightly into the pumpkin, filling to the very top. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes without the cap on (do put it in the dish so it too will cook during this stage). Put the cap onto the pumpkin and bake for another 30 - 60 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is soft. (The bottom will finish before the top edge.) To serve as a side dish, place on the table with a spoon, let people scoop out fruit along with pumpkin. To serve as a dessert, scoop out the fruit, grabbing pumpkin in each spoonful and put into bowls. Top with ice cream or whipped cream.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
A pie pumpkin is usually smaller and the flesh is better suited for eating. Jack o' lantern pumpkins aren't good to eat.
If you end up with extra fruit, drop it into ramekins and bake alongside the pumpkin. It'll likely finish during the first half hour. Drizzle with a little cream? Dreamy.
To make ahead, bake the pumpkin as directed but just for 30 minutes in the second step. Let cool and refrigerate. Warm through in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or so.
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MORE FAVORITE PUMPKIN RECIPES~ My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes ~
~ How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin ~
~ Pumpkin Corn Bread ~
~ Stuffed Pumpkin with Apple & Cranberry ~
~ Honey Pumpkin Pie ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Autumn Pumpkin Bread ~
~ Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins ~
~ Fall Stew Baked in a Whole Pumpkin ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column