Some fun things to do with pumpkin

When my kids were younger we went through the annual battle that always concluded with someone (usually me) in tears. Halloween is a Jewish child’s enemy. Every year I tried to circumnavigate the whole situation by buying candy and renting scary movies. This was sort of a good solution though the idea of running wild through neighborhoods with friends dressed as batman, an army guy, or whatever the costume du jour was that year was all most too much. My youngest son (Jonah is 13) recently confessed to having “done it” last year. The conversation went something like this. “You know Halloween is not that big a deal Mom”, “I know, I have been telling you that for years. Ummmm, how do you know?” 

 “I went with Yoni last year”. The conversation went on with Jonah owning up to sneaking out with his friend to plunder the neighborhoods of a suburb outside
Chicago and then sitting in his friend’s basement with their cache of edible loot trying to determine which items were kosher! I could hardly stop laughing long enough to get upset. My only question was if they were going to do it again. The answer was “no” and that was good enough for me. Jonah then went on to ask if I would make my pumpkin soufflés for dessert some time soon? Absolutely!  

Pumpkin soufflé(pareve) 

Preheat oven to 400 

6 baby pumpkins-tops cut off and reserved, hollowed out to create a cavity

3 T. canola oil

½ cup raw sugar 

for the custard 

2 T. canola oil

2 T. AP flour

2 cups apple cider-heated

½ cup brown sugar

4 eggs at room temperature-separated

1 vanilla bean scraped

¾ cup pumpkin puree

3 t. ground cinnamon

½ t. grated nutmeg

¼ cup granulated sugar 

  1. Place a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil. When it gets hot add the flour and whisk it together. Add the apple cider and whisk together until mixture is very thick. Add a small amount of the apple cider mixture to the egg yolks and constantly whisk the yolks. This helps temper the egg yolks and keeps them from “scrambling”. Add the remaining ingredients except the egg whites and ¼ cup of granulated sugar. Stir over low heat until the mixture is very thick. Cool completely.
  2. Whip the whites at medium high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the sugar until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold the whites in 3 additions to the pumpkin custard mixture.
  4. Brush the insides of the pumpkins with the canola oil. Coat the insides of the pumpkins with the sugar (this helps the soufflé climb up the sides and “hold on”). Gently spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared pumpkins. Place the pumpkins on a baking sheet and bake until the soufflé rises out of the top and has formed a light brown crust. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
  5. I like to place a pumpkin on each plate with the lid leaning against it.

Pumpkin Risotto 

6 baby pumpkins-tops cut off and reserved, hollowed out to create a cavity 

2 T. butter

2 T. Olive oil

1 shallot chopped

1 clove of garlic-chopped

1 ¾ cups Arborio rice

2 pints boiling vegetable stock

1 cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup of cream

3 T. Mascarpone cheese

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh herbs for garnish

Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional) 

  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over low heat until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the butter.
  2. Add stock by ladleful and stir completely until each addition has been absorbed. When the rice has become al dente (about 15 minutes) add the pumpkin, mascarpone and stir to combine. Add the cream. Taste rice for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Ladle into prepared pumpkins and serve.
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3 Responses to “Some fun things to do with pumpkin”

  1. David Says:

    Nice recipes. One assumption you make, however, is just a little annoying. Halloween is not a problem for any Jewish children I know, nor any Jewish kids I grew up with. We don’t keep kosher, thus no problem. I guess the implication of your comment, probably unintended, is that we are not Jewish. And I guess I am as tired of that assumption as I am of being asked what church I go to by Christians.

    Here is your sentence, rewritten for accuracy and politeness: “Halloween is a Kosher-keeping parent’s enemy.”

    Still seems hyperbolic, but at least it focuses the problem on the folks who have a problem with Halloween.

    The rest of us will enjoy some junk candy and still be Jewish on Wednesday.

  2. Leah Koenig Says:

    Laura – very sweet story, and amazing recipes. I made pumpkin risotto once – but this recipe looks way better than the one I used (how did I forget marscapone cheese?!)

    David – thanks for the counterpoint view. As someone who grew up Jewish and trick-or-treating, It shocked me to meet (now as an adult) Jews who didn’t grow up celebrating my favorite candy holiday. I briefly wrote about it over at Pickled: I’d love to see some dialogue either there or here on different people’s takes on Halloween.

  3. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    Halloween – wear costumes – extort candy under pains of property damage (eggs, toilet paper, shaving cream, worse)

    Purim – wera costumes – give food treats to friends and gifts to the poor.

    My money’s on Purim

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