Recipe Spotlight

Kick Off Autumn With the Taste of Pumpkin Spice

by CAROL CORLEY

You know it’s fall when you start hearing about all things pumpkin spice. It’s one harbinger of autumn that gained so much popularity that scientists have researched to find out what exactly is behind the fan following. As it turns out, the flavor evokes a feeling of nostalgia and comfort for many people. Smell is not only one of the strongest senses, but it also is intricately linked to memory. It’s the pumpkin spice smell that pulls us in. That scent reminds us of happy times and wonderful childhood memories.

Now, it’s possible to enjoy this happy fall flavor at every meal of the day. But first, how do we make our own pumpkin spice mix? Generally, it would include ground spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Recipes generally call for more cinnamon than the other spices, and with cloves the least. One such recipe, adapted from several sources, calls for 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 1-1/2 teaspoons each ground nutmeg and ginger, and 1 teaspoon each of ground allspice and cloves. The mix can be altered to suit individual tastes.

Breakfast:
Easy Pumpkin Spice Danish
(Adapted from halfbakedharvest.com)

Ingredients:
Frozen puff pastry thawed, 2 sheets
Pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup
Cream cheese softened, 6 ounces
Butter melted, 4 tablespoons
Granulated sugar, 1/3 cup
Cinnamon, 2 teaspoons
Ginger, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon each
Vanilla, 1-1/4 teaspoon

Directions:
Stir together sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Separately, stir together pumpkin puree with vanilla and add 2 tablespoons of the sugar-spice mix. Lay the puff pastry flat on a clean cutting board, spread evenly with the cream cheese, slowly spread the pumpkin mix over the cream cheese, cut each sheet lengthwise into 6 strips 1/2 inches wide each. Fold each sheet in half lengthwise then twist several times. Place each on one of two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, then brush each pastry generously with butter and sprinkle with remaining sugar-spice mix. Bake 20-25 minutes in an oven preheated to 375F.
You could have this with pumpkin scrambled eggs or frittata.

Lunch:
Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Spice Hummus
(Adapted from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:
Olive oil, 1/2 cup
Garlic, 3 cloves crushed
Garbanzo beans, 15-oz can
Pumpkin puree, 1 cup
Tahini, 2 tablespoons
Lemon juice, 2-1/4 tablespoons
Pumpkin spice mix, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
Pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup
Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:
Roast crushed garlic cloves mixed in olive oil in a small oven-proof bowl in the oven preheated to 375F until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Then take the roasted garlic plus 2 tablespoons of residual oil from the dish. Place in a food processor and add garbanzo beans, pumpkin puree, lemon juice, tahini, pumpkin spice mix, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth, place in a serving bowl and top with any remaining olive oil. Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of two hours. When ready to serve, put pumpkin seeds with a pinch of salt in a saucepan on medium-high heat and toss until fragrant.  Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over hummus, serve slightly chilled.

Dinner:
Pumpkin Spice Burger
(Adapted from burgerartist.com)

Ingredients:
Ground beef, 2 pounds lean
Bacon, 8 slices
Arugula
Hamburger buns, 4
Maple syrup, 1 tablespoon
Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Pumpkin puree, 8 tablespoons
Mayonnaise, 1-1 1/2 tablespoon
Pumpkin spice, 1/3 teaspoon

Directions:
Mix maple syrup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Fry bacon in a pan until crisp, then when done brush with maple syrup and brown sugar mix. Set aside. Form 4 patties with ground beef, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Patties should be half an inch wider than buns. Put a thumbprint in the middle of each patty, then grill on a hot grill about 4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. Mix together pumpkin puree, mayonnaise, and pumpkin spice and set aside. Place arugula on the bottom of each bun, top with hamburger patties, then pumpkin puree mix, and finally bacon.

Dessert:
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
(Adapted from tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients:
Crust:
Graham cracker crumbs (can be gluten-free), 1-1/2 cups
Yogurt, 5 tablespoons vanilla or plain
Baking cocoa, 2 tablespoons
Brown sugar, 1-1/2 tablespoons
Salt, 1/8 teaspoon
Filling:
Pumpkin puree, 15 oz can
Cream cheese, 24 oz softened
Eggs, 3 large, room temperature, lightly beaten
Egg yolk, 1 large, room temperature
Sugar, 1-1/2 cups
Sour cream, 1/4 cup
Flour, 2 tablespoons all-purpose
Vanilla, 1-1/4 teaspoon
Pumpkin spice mix, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste.


Directions:
Mix together cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cocoa, salt, yogurt in a small bowl. Press onto the bottom of the greased 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350F. Cool.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin, sour cream, flour, vanilla and spices. Add eggs and extra yolk. Beat until blended. Pour into the crust. Place springform pan with crust and filling on baking sheet, bake at 325F about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours until center is almost set. Cool one hour or longer, then refrigerate overnight.

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