The Great Pumpkin

Written by Rose

I grew up in Bucks County, PA, where Fall means miles of misty horse farms, crisp mornings, corn fields, weekends of craft festivals, apple cider, corn mazes, and of course the annual excitement of homemade Halloween costumes and roaming our hilly neighborhood with a group of friends and pillow cases (which would come home half-full with candy and other treats).

But there’s one thing that is iconically “Fall” for me:  the pumpkin.

My Dad grew pumpkins in our garden for as long as I can remember (and corn too, from which I always created corn stalk bundles to decorate our front entrance).

There were competitive pumpkin-growing contests among my Dad, my brother and my grandfather; each with their “top secret method” until the day of the weigh-in and award of the “silver cup”.  And, there were the tragic years when colossal, award-winning, garden pumpkins would turn out to be foiled by mice who had eaten in from underneath!

My Mom, friends and I would carve jack-o-lanterns every year (even the really cold years) and to this day I have vivid memories of cold, slimy fingers full of “pumpkin guts”- seeds and pumpkin pulp- as we worked frantically outside trying to carve our pumpkins before losing the light of day…or freezing our hands!

Soon, we’ll continue the tradition as we do every year at our house and line our porch steps with our jack-o-lantern creations.  We’ve got some fun ideas this year that will make even Martha Stewart scream! (more on that in a future post)

In a close runner up to pumpkin picking and carving jack-o-lanterns each Fall is my anticipation of my first batch of Pumpkin Soup.  It’s perfect for chilly evenings with salad and good, crusty bread.

Rose’s Favorite Pumpkin Soup 

(*mushrooms optional;  I also use about half the recommended butter and only maple syrup to taste, top with swirl of sour cream or crème fraiche.  NOTE: Make sure you use pure canned pumpkin and not canned pumpkin pie filling.)

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?  Or, if you’re anti-pumpkin, what’s your favorite Fall recipe?  Adding to Emily’s fun post from her Halloween party food, and my favorite pumpkin soup recipe, above, let’s see how many Fourtuitously Great Recipes for Fall we can share together.

5 comments for “The Great Pumpkin

  1. Cathy
    October 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Do anti-pumpkin people really exist? Not in this household.
    Well, I know many people enjoy spicy pumpkin pie, but here is a variation you might like to try. It is light yellow -orange in color, and very mild. It is actually pumpkin custard pie. Here goes. Oh, I often use fresh pumpkin, which I purée after baking the pieces until tender. But canned pure pumpkin works just fine.
    Pumpkin Custard Pie
    1 cup pumpkin
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup milk
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 T. flour, dissolved in a small amount of water to thicken
    Cinnamon on top
    Use your favorite pie crust recipe. I have started to pre-bake my crusts, but that is not what my mother- in- law did. (This is her recipe.) Line your pie pan with the crust. Combine the custard ingredients and pour into the crust. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the pumpkin mixture. Bake at 300 degrees for 35-45 minutes. To test jiggle the pie to test for firmness. Allow to cool. I serve with whipped cream. Store pie in the refrigerator.
    Variation:
    Add about 1/2 bag shredded coconut to the bottom of the pastry shell. Then pour pumpkin mixture on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
    Rose, I cannot wait to try your soup!

    • October 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      I have to confess, this makes my mouth water. This pie is soooooo good!

    • October 19, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Yum! Sounds delicious. I’m definitely going to give this a whirl this year! Those who know me know I almost always “experiment” on them, bringing new recipes/first time recipes to family functions or serving them at our dinner gatherings! Get ready, family!…

  2. October 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    This is not a pumpkin recipe, but I LOVE soup in the fall. This is my favorite lentil soup: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/lentil-vegetable-soup-recipe/index.html
    Here are a few changes I make:
    1. I often add diced tomatoes and a leafy green (fresh or frozen).
    2. I don’t use celery because my husband doesn’t like it, and if I do not have leeks, then I use a variety of onions I have on hand.
    3. I like to top it with plain greek yogurt or sour cream.
    4. I rarely use all of the oil/butter in a recipe and this is one is no exception.

    If you like lentils or if you hate them because you think they are bland and taste like earth, you will change your mind after this recipe. It is truly yummy. Even my children eat it. Even my son, who only eats gross kid food like this soup.

  3. roseriley
    October 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Our girls love lentils so this one will definitely be on our stove one night soon! Thanks.

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