Food for Thought
October Recipes 2012: Pumpkin

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Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup

Beautiful—and delicious—pumpkin soup.


Serves 6.

4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 quart chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups puréed pumpkin
2 cups cooked wild rice
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onions and mushrooms until the onions start to look translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

2. Add chicken broth, crushed red pepper, wine, and pumpkin, and stir well. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

3. Add cooked wild rice, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Stir well and bring back to a low simmer. Stir in the yogurt, and season to taste. Serve.


Pumpkin Doughnut Drops

These doughnut drops are tender and tasty.


Makes 4 dozen small doughnut drops.

2 eggs
1 cup puréed pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons oil (peanut or canola is best)
3 cups sifted flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Peanut oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon (to coat the warm doughnuts)

1. In a deep pan, begin heating at least 3 inches of oil to 350 F.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy.

3. Add pumpkin, milk, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons oil. Mix well.

4. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until completely mixed.

5. Using a small (teaspoon-size; #100) cookie scoop or rounded teaspoon, drop scoops of dough into hot oil. They may turn themselves over, but if not, flip them after a minute or so . . . when the outside of the dough is a rich brown.

6. Remove to a bowl lined with paper towels to drain.

7. Coat the warm doughnuts with the sugar cinnamon mixture either by rolling them in it or putting the sugar mixture into a paper sack and shaking the doughnuts in it.

Note: To avoid being burned if you're using a teaspoon instead of a cookie scoop, use two spoons–one to scoop with and one to push the dough off the other spoon into the hot oil.

A "spider" makes it easy to scoop doughnuts out of hot oil.



Raisin-Rum Pumpkin Bagels

Fresh pumpkin bagels ready to eat.


Makes 1 dozen.

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup rum, or water (I used dark rum, but you could try spicy)
1 package active-dry yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use kosher)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon baking soda (for boiling the bagels)

1. In a small pan on the stove, bring the rum and the raisins to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to warm, cover the pan, and allow the raisins to soak for 15 minutes. Remove from the burner and remove the lid so the mixture can cool.

2. In a large bowl, gently stir together the yeast, granulated sugar, and warm water. Let sit until frothy (about 4–5 minutes.)

3. Stir in the pumpkin, molasses, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and raisins (rum and all) until combined. Add 2 cups of the bread flour. Mix well. If you're using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook. Add the remaining bread flour slowly, mixing well. This will be a very stiff dough, but you don't want it too dry OR too sticky, so feel free to adjust the amount of flour or add a little more water if necessary to get a nice, elastic dough.

4. If you are working by hand, put the dough on a floured board and knead for 7–8 minutes. If you are using your mixer to knead, allow it to knead for 5–6 minutes.

5. Place the dough in a well-oiled large bowl, turn the dough to coat with oil, cover with a dishtowel, and allow the dough to rise for approximately an hour–or until doubled. This dough is a little slow to rise, so depending on the temperature of your kitchen it could take a bit longer than an hour.

6. After the rise time, punch the dough down and separate it into 12 equal pieces. Take each piece and make it into a ball. It's hard to explain, but I keep tucking the messy parts under, and kind of "scooch" the ball across the surface of the counter, to make it as smooth as possible on the top. You can roll it around like clay, too . . . whatever works for you. The goal is to get 12 smooth balls that are at least close to the same size! Don't worry if it takes a while and the first few balls look like they might be growing . . . it won't hurt a thing.

7. Lightly oil or grease two cookie sheets. Sprinkle one of the sheets with a little cornmeal. (Keep the cornmeal handy; you'll need it again.)

8. Now flour your thumbs. Poke one thumb right through the middle of a dough ball, put your other thumb through the hole from the other side, and . . . twiddle your thumbs so they're going around each other, stretching out the bagel hole. Stretch the bagel gently to make the dough as even as possible all the way around. Make the hole big–maybe an inch and a half across–because when the bagel bakes it will puff up and most of the hole will disappear.

Stretch the bagel gently.

9. Place all of the bagels on the cookie sheet without the cornmeal.* Cover with a dishtowel and allow the bagels to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile:

10. Heat the oven to 450 F.

11. When the 30 minutes are almost up, fill a large stockpot more than halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the baking soda.

12. Drop a few bagels in at a time, making sure they have plenty of room to bob around. I can comfortably cook 3 at a time in my stockpot. Let them cook for about a minute and a half on one side, then flip them over to cook on the other side for another minute and a half.

Water and steam help make bagels distinctly chewy.

13. Using a slotted spoon or a "spider" (see doughnut photo above), place each bagel gently on the cornmeal-covered cookie sheet, 6 bagels to a sheet. If you would like a shiny appearance to your bagels, brush them with an egg wash (one egg and a teaspoon of water, mixed well) at this time.

14. Place your first sheet of bagels into the oven and bake for 12–15 minutes, turning the pan once halfway through the bake time. They should be a nice rich brown color when ready. Move them directly from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

15. Boil the last 6 bagels. Sprinkle cornmeal on the cookie sheet as the bagels disappear into the pot of boiling water and space becomes available. Bake as described above.

These taste best if they're allowed to cool before eating. Good luck with that!

* At this point you can cover the bagels with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning, 90 minutes before you plan to bake them, take out the bagels and let them rest on a counter while you preheat oven and fill stockpot with water.


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