Fall's iconic orange gourd has a place beyond October 31: as pumpkin butter, a fiber-filled spread packed with beta-carotene. Chef Mary Dumont of Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, shares her take on this seasonal spread.
Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, creators of the seasonal recipe series "Canal House Cooking," developed this side dish in order to showcase a beautiful hollowed-out pumpkin. "We thought it would be great to use one as a centerpiece, an edible tureen for the soup. It provides that ta-da factor. There's some olive oil in there, but it's really just a wholesome recipe, deliciously prepared. We love the combination of the preserved lemon and the pimenton -- it adds that richness of flavor without bringing in extra fat."
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.
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.
Decorating this crust with pastry leaves is as easy as, well, pie, but it's also beautiful with a simple crimped edge. You can make two undecorated bruleed pumpkin pies that way, if you double the filling.