The Tomato

The Great Pumpkin

Recipe feature


Pumpkin lends a earthy and sweet flavour to brittle, hummus, soups and dessert. Just be sure to buy an eating pumpkin (or squash) not a carving pumpkin.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle
This is a favourite of Tam Anderson at Prairie Gardens. Recipe by Matthew Cetta.

1⅓ c sugar
¼ c light corn syrup
2½ T unsalted butter
¼ c water
¾ t salt
¼ t baking soda
½ t chipotle powder
1¾ c pumpkin seed (pepitas)

Generously grease a cookie sheet with oil. Heat a large cast iron or other heavy- bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast until lightly golden brown (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium pot, combine sugar, light corn syrup, butter, and water. Whisk briefly to combine. Over medium heat cook until the mixture caramelizes and is a nice medium brown (about 15 minutes). At this point the mixture can burn very quickly, so keep a close eye on it. Remove the pot from the burner. Whisk in the salt, baking soda, and chipotle powder. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir until they are fully coated.

Working quickly, pour the contents of the pot out into the prepared baking sheet. Using a rolling pin, spread the mixture out about ¼-½ inch thin. Allow the brittle to cool and break up into pieces.

Makes about 1½ pounds of brittle and can be stored for up to a week in an airtight tin.

Pumpkin Hummus
Adapted from taste.come/au

½ small sugar
1 (400g) light corn syrup
2 T tahini
1 T lemon juice
1 t ground cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 T fresh coriander, chopped

Place pumpkin on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle oil over and roast at 350°F until golden, about 25 minutes.

Place roast pumpkin, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, ground cumin and garlic clove in a food processor. Season. Process until smooth. Stir in fresh coriander.

Makes about 1 cup hummus.

Pumpkin Marmelata
This jam-like chunky spread is excellent with roast pork, or as part of a cheese or charcuterie board.

1 sml-med pumpkin
4 c raw sugar
1 t ground clove
1 t allspice

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix sugar and spice in a large bowl and set aside.

Peel and seed the pumpkin. Rough chop flesh, toss with sugar and spices and place in a roasting pan. Roast in the pre-heated oven for about an hour until the pumpkin is soft and browning.

Mash in a food-mill or food processor (mixture should be chunky). Check the sweetness and add more sugar if desired.

Makes about 4 cups and keeps for about two weeks in the fridge.

Chez Panisse Butternut Squash Soup
Our version of a simple, extremely satisfying soup first tasted at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse.

4 c rich chicken or vegetable stock
1 butternut squash (or similar)
1 bunch fresh sage
2 c stale rustic bread cut or torn into large chunks
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
best quality extra-virgin olive oil for croutons and drizzle

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut the squash in half, place about half the sage on the cut side and roast, cut side down, about an hour or until soft. Remove to a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Scoop out, then rough chop the flesh, leaving behind the seeds, skin and the blackened sage. About 15 minutes before the squash is done, toss the bread chunks with a good splash of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and toast until golden brown and crunchy on the outside. Reserve.

Heat stock to just under boiling in a saucepan on the stove. Place the squash and any pan juices in the hot stock and simmer for about 15 minutes to marry flavours.

To Serve: Place ¼ of the croutons in each plate or bowl. Ladle hot soup over. Garnish with a few leaves of the fresh sage and drizzle with oil. Add a crumble of bacon if desired

Serves 4-6.

Pumpkin Soup with Thai Flavours
Sweet, creamy and spicy, have it chunky or smooth.

1 red onion, chopped
2 T grated fresh ginger
1 red chili (Thai bird chili) chopped seeds removed
3 c vegetable or chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
2 T fish sauce
1 T packed brown sugar
8 c peeled and chopped pie pumpkin
8 c peeled and chopped winter squash
2 T lime juice
½ c chopped fresh cilantro

In a stockpot, sauté onion, garlic and ginger until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chili. Add stock, coconut milk and fish sauce. Add pumpkin squash and sugar and cook at a simmer until the squash is softened. Stir in lime juice. Taste to adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper or juice as needed. Leave chunky, or puree with an immersion blender. Garnish with cilantro and a bit more coconut cream if desired.

Serves 6.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Spinach, Kitskoty Pecorino and Pine Nuts
“Making gnocchi with pumpkin is fun and a little bit different. People underestimate the versatility of the pumpkin.” – Tracy Zizek, Kitchen by Brad.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

1 med pumpkin (about 2 lb)
½ t grated nutmeg
½ t salt
¼ t white pepper
2¾ c flour
The Cheesiry’s Kitskoty sheep’s cheese for garnish (or aged Italian pecorino)
toasted pine nuts, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake pumpkin whole for about 1 hour and 45 minutes until a sharp knife can be inserted with ease. Cool until the pumpkin can be handled. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Scoop out flesh and purée in robot coupe or food processor.

Place purée in a large bowl. Add seasonings and flour and mix by hand. The dough will be quite sticky still.
Flour countertops and hands. Take small parcels of dough and roll to the thickness of your index finger. With a floured sharp knife, cut dough into small, bite-sized sections. If the dough is too sticky to work with, you can add more flour, but keep in mind that the more flour added to the dough, the more dense and heavy the gnocchi will be.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and put gnocchi in. Cook for roughly 5 minutes or until al dente.

Spinach Purée

1 head fresh spinach
½ med yellow onion, diced
¼ c white wine
1 T butter
heavy cream
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Sauté onion and spinach in butter until onions are translucent. Purée mixture in blender, then season. In a separate pot, heat white wine and reduce by ¼. Add spinach purée and simmer until a sauce- like consistency is reached. Finish by whisking in cream. Take off heat.

To serve: after gnocchi has been boiled and drained, heat a large pan with olive oil. Place gnocchi in pan and fry until golden. Add spinach purée and toss to coat the gnocchi. Place in pasta bowl. Grate Cheesiry’s aged pecorino over and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Serves 6.

Spiced Pumpkin Flans
Shannon Minor, executive sous chef, el Cortez

Caramel (can be made ahead of time)

2 c granulated sugar
1 c water
3 oranges, zested and juiced

Place ovenproof 4-oz ramekins in a shallow pan. Using a stainless-steel pot with a tight-fitting lid, bring all ingredients to a boil. Leaving the lid on will prevent crystallization of the caramel.

Once mixture is boiling, lower to a medium heat and cook until amber in colour. Check often as the caramel burns easily.

Once caramel is ready, pour carefully into ramekins, one at a time. Tip ramekins to coat bottom and sides, pouring any excess caramel back into pot. If caramel starts to harden, warm over low heat. Set aside to harden.

Pumpkin Mixture

4 lb fresh sugar pumpkin, peeled and roasted, seeds set aside
¼ c butter
1 sml piece fresh ginger, grated
1 T ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
¼ t ground cloves
pinch salt

Melt butter with ginger and spices, cook until butter is browned. Mix with 2 cups of the roasted pumpkin. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Flan Mixture

1 can 400 mL, coconut milk, cream only (put can in fridge to separate water from cream)
1½ c whipping cream
½ c sugar
vanilla (preferably Mexican)
5 egg yolks
3 whole eggs

Preheat oven to 300°F, with a rack in the middle position.

Heat coconut cream, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla over medium heat, until mixture is at a gentle boil. Whisk to ensure sugar is completely dissolved. Take off heat. Whisk eggs and yolks in a bowl until frothy.

Temper egg mix by whisking in the hot cream mixture, a small ladleful at a time. When egg mix is warm to touch, mix in remaining cream and whisk thoroughly. Combine with pumpkin mixture, stirring until completely combined.

Line a medium-sized strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, and place in bowl. Carefully pour flan mixture into cheesecloth, gathering the ends and twisting them to push mixture through. Keep twisting until all liquid is forced out. Cool over an ice bath or in the fridge.

Assembly: Once flan mixture is cool, fill caramelized ramekins ¾ full. Carefully pour hot water into shallow pan, until flans are two-thirds submerged. Bake until set (the centres should be firm), 45-60 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Garnish with coconut whipping cream and candied pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Makes 6 flans.

The Right Tools


Cast iron coated with enamel is ideal for cooking and serving, and offers the best in cooking superiority and easy-to-clean performance. It’s the best of both worlds; the sturdy enamel coatings resist chipping, cracking, rust and do not need seasoning, while benefiting from cast iron’s easy-does-it cooking qualities. These pumpkin-shaped legacy pieces will be on autumn tables for decades.

The Le Crueset Pumpkin Dutch Oven Casserole (2.1 litre, $250) is a seasonal piece in the classic Flame colour. The black matte cast iron knob is positioned off centre to mimic nature.

The Staub Black Pumpkin Dutch Oven Casserole (3.2 litre, $400) comes with a decorative brass handle, which is oven-safe to 500oF. Staub also offers individual ceramic pumpkin-shaped cocottes in orange and white.

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