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LET’S DISH! Let’s talk about pumpkins

Sep 23, 2022

LET’S DISH! Let’s talk about pumpkins

By MaryAnn Miano

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween decoration, though their bright orange color blends well and is just as eye-catching as the changing leaves of the season. We love them as pumpkins or framing the sides of our front door, but let’s talk about how pumpkins are a versatile food for our healthy eating purposes.

Pumpkins include many varieties and shapes, sizes and colors. They are characterized by a rounded shape and a yellow to orange color (and some are even white!). Most of us are familiar with the popular carving pumpkin that is ubiquitous on Halloween. It is called the C Pepo and can weigh up to 100 pounds.

Pumpkins have a long history dating back centuries. It is estimated to date as far back as 7000 BC, possibly with its beginnings originating in Mexico and Central America. Pumpkins are a fruit that grows on vines spread across the ground. After about 90 to 120 days, the easy-to-grow pumpkins reach full size and are harvested in October.

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These orange fruits have wonderful versatility and tasty nutritional value. Pumpkin’s uses extend to soups, pies, muffins, breads, and even risotto and pasta. Its flesh is cholesterol-free, low in fat and sodium, and rich in vitamins, especially beta-carotene and vitamin A. The seeds are also wonderful if removed and roasted in the oven.

Pumpkin is often underestimated as a useful ingredient. It will surprise you with its diversity as a main course or dessert and even for breakfast. Awaken your family to the aroma of fall with the following pumpkin pancake recipe:

PUMPKIN PANCAKES WITH MAPLE SYRUP AND NUTMEG WHIPPED CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup) sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ teaspoon ground cloves

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

2 cups of milk

3 large eggs

A 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree

1 cup heavy cream, cold

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds

Maple syrup to serve

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with two tea towels stacked on top of each other and place in the oven. This will keep your baked pancakes warm.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves, ginger and allspice in a large bowl. Whisk milk, eggs and pumpkin puree in another bowl. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the ingredients are just incorporated and the batter is thick (it’s okay if there are lumps). Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream and nutmeg until stiff peaks form. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour a good ½ cup of batter into the skillet, spreading it into a 6-inch round. Bake until pancakes are golden brown on bottom and bubbly on top, about 1 minute 30 seconds. Flip pancakes and cook until second side is golden brown and pancake is cooked through, about 1 minute 30 seconds longer. The first few pancakes may seem sticky and difficult to flip, but the pancakes will become easier to flip as you cook more.

5. Transfer the crepe to the baking sheet in the oven, wedging it between the two tea towels. Repeat with remaining batter to make more pancakes.

6. Place 3 pancakes on each plate and garnish with nutmeg whipped cream and pumpkin seeds. Serve with maple syrup.

REMARK: Measure the flour by pouring it into a dry measuring cup (not scooping it directly from the flour bag) and leveling off the excess.

Recipe from The Food Network Kitchen, 2016

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