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Smashing pumpkin recipes

Vegetables aren’t exactly the first thing people think about when they think of dessert. A lot of people hate vegetables, especially the more infamous ones like Brussels sprouts and lima beans. When faced with broccoli, my mom scrunches up her face like she just stepped barefoot in a lawn bomb left by the neighbor’s dog. An informal newsroom poll revealed other hated veggies: cabbage, canned spinach and beets.

“Just say no to bulbous root vegetables,” Donna, my co-worker, declared.

For veggies to be even remotely edible, people will deep-fry them, pour dressing on them, pile on cheese or all of the above. Is it any wonder obesity is on the rise?



But imagine, instead of Mom telling you to finish your vegetables before you can have dessert, she gives you dessert and tells you to finish it because it’s your vegetables. No, I’m not talking broccoli pie or strained pea ice cream. There is one vegetable that is perfect for satisfying the sweet tooth, and it’s part of almost everyone’s Thanksgiving feast.

Pumpkin, that orange behemoth that is so ubiquitous in October and November, is well-suited to dessert fare. Actually, pumpkin is a fruit, as is a tomato, for all you technically correct biologists out there, but most people consider it a vegetable. And what a versatile veggie it is.



What other vegetable can be carved into a Halloween decoration, used as a boat ” yes, people actually do this with giant pumpkins ” smashed on sidewalks by rebellious teenagers and used by aspiring brain surgeons for lobotomy practice (OK, maybe this last use isn’t very common). And when you’re done playing with the Emperor of the Garden, as it is called by the Chinese, you can make pie, quick bread, muffins, cheesecake, ice cream, cookies and souffle ” the possibilities are endless.

The best part about pumpkin desserts is that you can feel good about eating them. Pumpkins are full of fiber, vitamins A and C, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Baked goods using pumpkin are generally lower in fat than other sweet selections because the moistness cuts down on the amount of oil and butter needed. That’s not to say that giant slab of pumpkin pie with real whipped cream that Grandma dishes up on Thanksgiving is diet food, but it is a better choice than the calorie-loaded pecan pie.

Canned pumpkin makes whipping up desserts easier, but using fresh pumpkin does increase the flavor factor. It’s not that hard to cook a pumpkin, either. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp, then cook the halves face-down in a conventional or microwave oven until the flesh is tender (about 1 hour in a 350-degree oven or 6-7 minutes per pound in the microwave). Scoop out the cooked pulp, mash or puree it, and it’s ready to use in your muffins, cookies or cake.

So tonight, eat your veggies ” by having dessert.

Gabrielle Devenish is the food editor at the Post Independent. She has never had Brussels sprouts, nor does she ever wish to try them. Contact her at gdevenish@postindependent.com.

Pumpkin spice cake

1 package spice or carrot cake mix

1 cup pumpkin

3 large eggs

1⁄3 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 packages (3 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened

11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch-round cake pans.

Combine cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, water, vegetable oil and pumpkin pie spice in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat for 2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

For frosting: Beat cream cheese, margarine and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Spread between layers and on top and side of cake.

Serves 12.

” VeryBestBaking.com

Pumpkin chiffon mousse with Frangelico whipped cream

1 tablespoon plain gelatin, soaked in 1⁄2 cup cold water

1⁄2 cup cold water

3 egg yolks

1⁄2 cup brown sugar

21⁄2 cups canned or cooked pumpkin

1⁄2 cup plus 2 cups heavy cream

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger

3 egg whites

1⁄2 cup white sugar

Mix egg yolks, brown sugar, pumpkin, 1⁄2 cup heavy cream, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a medium-size pot. Cook over low heat and stir until the mixture starts to thicken. Let cool completely.

Whip egg whites, white sugar and 2 cups heavy cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold mixture into pumpkin mixture and combine well.

Chill completely. Serve in individual decorative glasses or pipe into chocolate candy cups. Top with Frangelico whipped cream (recipe follows).

Frangelico whipped cream

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Frangelico liquor

Whip heavy cream and sugar until thickened. Add Frangelico to flavor and mix well.

” Mike Schlicher, head chef,

Rivers Restaurant


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