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Everything You Need To Know About

Pumpkins

Pumpkins begin to ripen in September. If you're looking for autumn-ready pumpkin recipes, make sure to select pumpkins intended for cooking. With dense, sweet flesh, sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are good for cooking and baking. Field pumpkins -- the common jack-o’-lantern variety -- have watery, stringy flesh and aren’t recommended for eating.

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recipe

This recipe for basic roasted pumpkin is so simple and very versatile. You can eat the sweet, fibrous flesh straight out of the shell with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, or you can get creative.Once you've roasted the pumpkin as directed below, consider making Pumpkin Wedges with Sage or Indian-Spiced Pumpkin.

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recipe

The filling for this pie is covered with a thin layer of superfine sugar, which turns into a beautiful, brittle sheet of caramel when bruleed, or burned, with a small kitchen blowtorch (available at amazon.com). That step is optional, though -- the pie is terrific without it, too. Note: the total time for this recipe includes making the dough, cooling, and chilling.

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Canned pumpkin puree allows you to use less fat in this recipe, yielding moist, tender little cakes that are better for you. These cakes were baked in cannele molds, available at baking stores. They're just as sweet made in muffin pans. You can also use a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan; bake 70 minutes.

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Pumpkin is not just for pies! Whip up a batch of these easy cupcakes with your kids for a twist on a favorite fall ingredient. They make awesome after-school sweets and are a welcome change from pumpkin pie on your holiday table. Serving them is even simpler when you make everything the day before.