Northwest NEWS

October 14, 2002

Home & Garden

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Dining In: Delicious Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Tips
   Raise your pumpkin IQ with the information in these questions and answers.
   Q. What spices are in pumpkin pie spice?
   A. Pumpkin pie spice is a modern, convenient blend of traditional pumpkin pie spices. Each manufacturer's blend will vary. It's also easy to make your own. To make 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice, combine 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, and 1/8 tsp. each ground cloves and nutmeg.
   Q. Why do I bake a pumpkin pie at two different temperatures?
   A. Baking the pie at 425F for 15 minutes sets the crust. Lowering the heat to 350F will bake the pumpkin filling evenly.
   Q. What's the best way to store pumpkin after the can is opened?
   A. Scoop pumpkin from the can and place in a resealable plastic container. It will keep one week in the fridge.
   Q. Can I freeze pumpkin?
   A. Pumpkin will keep up to three months frozen. Simply scoop it from the original can and place in a resealable plastic container. Since pumpkin expands as it freezes, use a container large enough to accommodate this.
   Q. What's the difference between pure pumpkin, solid pack pumpkin and pumpkin pure?
   A. They are exactly the same: 100% pure pumpkin.
   Q. What nutritional benefits does pumpkin offer?
   A. With only 40 calories per 1/2-c. serving, pumpkin is a delicious source of natural vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A (80% beta carotene). It's also low in fat and high in dietary fiber.
  
   Harvest Pumpkin Apple Bread
   3 c. all-purpose flour
   2 tsp. ground cinnamon
   2 tsp. baking soda
   1 1/2 tsp. salt
   3 c. granulated sugar
   1 can (15 ounces) prepared pumpkin
   4 large eggs
   1 c. vegetable oil
   1/2 c. apple juice or water
   1 large baking apple, peeled, cored and diced
   Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
   Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and apple juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.
   Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
   Makes 2 loaves
  
   Quick & Easy Pumpkin Cakes
   1 package (18.25 ounces) spice cake mix
   1 can (15 ounces) prepared pumpkin
   3 large eggs
   1/3 c. vegetable oil
   1/3 c. water
   1 container (16 ounces) prepared cream cheese or vanilla frosting
   Assorted sprinkles
   Preheat oven to 350F. Paper-line or grease 24 muffin c.
   Blend cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and water in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared muffin c, filling 3/4 full.
   Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Spread c.cakes with frosting. Decorate as desired.
   Makes 24 cupcakes
  
   Sweet Pumpkin Dip
   2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
   1 can (15 ounces) prepared pumpkin
   2 c. sifted powdered sugar
   1 tsp. ground cinnamon
   1 tsp. ground ginger
   Sliced fruit, bite-size cinnamon graham crackers, toasted mini-bagels, toast slices, muffins or English muffins
   Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in large mixer bowl until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon and ginger; mix thoroughly. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve as a dip or spread.
   Makes about 5 1/2 cups
  
   Homemade Pumpkin Pie
   3/4 c. granulated sugar
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
   2 large eggs
   1 can (15 ounces) prepared pumpkin
   1 can (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
   1 unbaked 9-inch (4-c. volume) deep-dish pie shell
   Whipped cream (optional)
   Mix sugar, salt and spice in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl.
   Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
   Pour into pie shell.
   Bake in preheated 425F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
   Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
   Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream.
   Makes 8 servings
  
   Easy Pumpkin Cream Pie
   1 can (15 ounces) prepared pumpkin
   1 package (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
   1 c. milk
   1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
   2 c. (about 6 ounces) frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed, divided
   1 prepared 9-inch (9 ounces) graham cracker crust
   Fresh raspberries (optional)
   Combine pumpkin, pudding mix, milk and pumpkin pie spice in large mixer bowl; beat for 1 minute or until blended. Fold in 1 1/2 c whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Freeze for at least 4 hours or until firm. Let stand in refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and raspberries. Serve immediately.
   Makes 8 servings
   Recipes courtesy of Family Features