Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Butter -low sugar

I am so excited about this! I'm excited about Autumn in Missouri, leaves on the ground, the drop in temperature aaaand local fall produce. The garden has been turned down, the house decorated, pantry stocked, we're ready for winter. My mind has been racing with the flavor possibilities this season has to offer.

I first tried pumpkin butter a few years ago while working at the Root Cellar in Columbia, MO. It drove me wild. I needed another jar almost immediately. At the time I was eating dairy, and spread it on cream cheese. It was near perfection. Now, as a lactose-intolerant vegan food enthusiast I am looking forward to more creative ways to delight in my beloved pumpkin spread.

Makes 5 cups

2 pie pumpkins (also called sugar pumpkins)
2T pumpkin pie spice (blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice & ginger)
1/2 c apple juice or water
1/2 c coconut sugar (or what have you)
1 t stevia
2T maple syrup

Start by roasting 2 pie pumpkins. You can follow my simple instructions by clicking here.
Take all the flesh from the pumpkin and puree it. For this step you can use a high-speed blender, food processor, immersion blender or food mill. Any of these will work fine.

Transfer the pureed pumpkin to a pot and stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low, with a lid tilted so that steam can escape, for 2 hours.Stir the pot about every 10 minutes or so.

Look forward to upcoming posts about different ways to use the pumpkin butter! I'm thinking I'll use this in a smoothie with almond milk, spread on toast or a tortilla with banana, stirred into my morning oatmeal, and as a dip for pears. You could also spread it onto baked goods like a bagel or muffin, it'd be delicious on pancakes or waffles.. use your imagination! I'm sure once its in your fridge you'll find all kinds of excuses to eat it. Enjoy

These are the sweeteners I used: Coconut Sugar, Maple syrup and Stevia.

This is my first time using Stevia. I am very interested in cutting back on sugar in my diet, especially since I eat so much fruit & have no interest in cutting back on that! I decided not to use Stevia as my ONLY sweetener in this recipe because I am new to it and I understand that it can result in a bitter flavor.

Coconut Palm Sugar is a minimally processed, highly nutritious and sustainabily harvested sweetener. What more could you want?? Maybe some maple syrup...? yeah. me too.

How To: Roasting Pumpkins

The pumpkins I'm using are called pie pumkins or sugar pumpkins. They're really the best for any recipe, rather than using big pumpkins. These guys have a much more bold pumpkin flavor. These are'nt the tiny guys that sit in the palm of your hand.. or the big honkers that you carve into jack-o-lanterns.. sugar pumpkins are somewhere in the middle. Quite simply, they're adorable.

 Yes! This is sooo much funnn. I neglected to take before pictures. So imagine this... two perfectly firm, ripe, bright orange pumpkins sitting on the kitchen counter just WAITING to be roasted.

 Turn the oven on to 400degrees. Stab the pumpkins a couple times with a very sharp knife. Be careful! And you reaaally got to stab it. Theres no messing around with these guys, they're tough. So stand back, take aim and swing. Then place them on a baking sheet and into the oven for an hour. By that time they'll become very soft & start to deflate. Now they're roasted.

 Cool them off! I roasted my pumpkins this morning while I was getting ready for work. Then I transfered them to another tray, covered with foil and stuck em in the fridge. By the time I got home they were so cool and soft I could easily poke my finger right through the skin.

 This is the best part. They peel so easily! The skin literally separates from the flesh and peels right off.

Chop em in half. Scoop out them seeds.
I pureed the flesh in my high-speed Vita-Mix blender. You could also puree it in a food processor, a food mill or with an immersion blender. NOW.. you can make pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin butter, bread, muffins, pasta, rissotto, oatmeal, soup, pie, bars, smoothies, ice cream...... YES!