Remember the Acorn Squash and Apricot Pie from September? My taste buds sure do. I whipped up a new version of the unpumpkin pie, and it is a tie for which I like the best. This time around my apron squash was smaller than usual, about one and half pounds AND I had some sweet potato hanging out. Remember the sweet potato hand pie of a summer gone by – it is coming back too (but you wouldn’t know about it because it was a blog post that didn’t). Well I put the two memories together and made another delicously fall pie, creamy, spiced and perfect with vanilla ice cream.
Follow the same recipe as the Acorn Squash and Apricot Pie; omitting apricots and using 1.5 pounds acorn squash and 1.5 pounds sweet potatoes, both baked before starting the pie.
This is a play on pumpkin pie baked with what was on hand but now I am head over heals and not turning back. Besides, acorn squash are easier to find that sugar pie pumpkins and it is fun to search your taste buds for that subtle difference. The spices still resemble pumpkin pie so the untrained may not even notice. I used dried apricots but they could probably be omitted all together if you didn’t have on hand. I just happened to have a lot that needed consuming. Next time I might macerate them in bourbon before whirling into the filling. This recipe is a mishmash of Martha Stewart’s version, one from food.com and my taste buds. 🙂
Feel free to make the pie crust from scratch using your favorite recipe. I just don’t enjoy making crust and found a great premade frozen one from a local bakery.
One 3pound acorn squash
4 eggs, if super large eggs, just use 3
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup brown sugar (or granulated)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pie crust
Prep the acorn squash. You could cut in half, remove the seeds and guts in the middle and roast at 425 for 20 minutes or so until soft enough to scoop out. Or cut it up into large chunks and steam for 20 minutes and then scrape the flesh out. Either way, you need to precook it enough to be soft. If you have time, let the squash cool a bit. In a future step you add eggs and you don’t want to cook them! If you want to save the seeds , clean them and then roast them for 10 minutes so, they are a tasty treat.
Place the dried apricots in the food processor or blender with milk and blend into a paste of some sorts
Add the prepped squash into a food processor and whirl it away until smooth. Let it blend for while to make it smooth.
Add the vanilla extract, sugar, spices, salt and keep blending. It should be getting nice and smooth.
Add the eggs, blend until mixed nicely.
Pour into the pie shell. Fill the shell up almost to the top. This pie will puff up when baking (see photo) and then shrink back down.
Bake in a 425 F oven for 40 minutes. It will probably not seem all the way done but it will keep cooking while cooling.
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream if you like.
This recipe makes more than one pie shell full (go figure) but it was just enough for a 9 inch pie and two small personal pies baked in glass pyrex bowls. For the ‘crust’ in these mini pies I just buttered the dish and put a layer of thin sliced apple on the bottom. They baked about 30 minutes, so a little faster than the full pie. [yes that is my ratty old green cutting board]
We hosted a 40th 29th birthday for a dear friend, D, who is all things glittering and gold. With a fall party, creating the golden decorations started the house off nicely for holiday decorating, building up from Thanksgiving through the New Year. In a few weeks, the Christmas tree will be up and all in gold, with perhaps some orange accents, but there is still time to finalize [last year’s theme =red and gray]. All of these ideas are simple, great for beginners and would work well for weddings, anniversaries, holidays and just because. Try out other metallic colors, such as copper, themes such as Pretty in Pink or all shades of blue or yellow for a baby shower.
Craft paint and brushes
Spray paint and spray glitter
Mod Podge or glue
Random things that are crying out for a gold paint job
Mini pumpkins or decorative gourds, real or real fake
Vacuum, because you are going to have glitter all up in your house.
Great glittering gold gourd name cards!!! AKA gold and glitter painted mini pumpkins in orange and white. Paint the top, bottom or whole thing. Dress up with ribbon and simple stamped name tags.
Pinecones spray painted with two different metallic golds and also spray glitter over some white ones from last year ( I <3 pinecones). You can also just put glitter on the tips of a natural brown pinecone, using glue and a paint brush. Put them in baskets, purposefully arranged, in apothecary jars, bowls or glue on some wire and hang.
Golden birds – in expensive or thrift shop ceramic birds ( or unicorns or whatever) spray painted and/or coated in ModPodge and glitter.
Golden bird cage and candle stick holders – again, just spray painted objects on hand or from a thrift shop. I put a tea cup and air plant inside the bird cage. It was a little large for the table but is now featured in side, versus buried in garage.
Gold dipped feathers – each hand painted, one of kind, tucked in with the gold branches. You could also work this into folded napkins. Black feathers with gold paint turned out great as well. And I am sure any paint color would work. For these I used acrylic craft paint, brushes and for glitter ModPodge. Get sturdy feathers, not fluffy downy ones. For a few I dipped into paint but thenhad to brush off the excess. For most painted using various brushes and two tones of gold.
Gold initial – I scored an already gold painted D, but it would be easy to paint a letter from a craft store.
Glittering votive made from jars, tea lights and boring glass votives. Apply ModPodge where you want glitter and go for it. I applied glitter to the outside of the cheap tea lights and then put them in the votives, easy way to dress up and not permanent.
Gold Christmas ornaments, such as stars, balls etc
Gold and/or glittery twigs – watch at the holidays for premade versions on great sales, or make your own a la nature.
Action shot with plenty of things are that supposed to be in a perfectly positioned blog photo J, like me, a random coffee mug, misplaced paper napkins and messy counters. You can see just a bit of the Middle Eastern food we had catered by Project Feast though.
FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – This is what I experienced recently when right before I ordered the restaurant ran out of their famous “pot of gold”, a polenta stuffed roasted pumpkin. I had had it on the brain since my friend over at Recipes and Raised Beds posted about stuffed squash. I am not one to be a victim however, and decided to take charge of my own destiny and roast my own pumpkin. After all, I have stuffed and roasted a zucchini before. This recipe was incredibly simple, more than festive and limitless in terms of stuffing options. It is also a great way to use up odds and ends (notice my mushroom and cheese medleys).
Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin Pots
Servings will depend on size of pumpkin and amount of ingredients. Nothing is really exact, you are aiming for balanced flavors and some liquid (but not too much as a the squash will release some.). Takes about 60-90 minutes to roast.
Small baking pumpkins or squashes, such as acorn (think gourd vessels) – aim for a pumpkin person unless large
½ to 1 inch cubes of bread (use up some that random freezer baguette!), about 3 cups (I ended up pulling some out when I looked there I had more filling that I needed and I wanted to avoid “filler”.)
Sausage, about ½ pound cooked (bacon would be a-ok too, but probably use a little less) – remove from casing before cooking or just slice and dice it when done.
½ – 1 cup sliced onion
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I used Chanterelle and Cremini and a top of a Portobello)
1 – 2 cups grated cheese ( I used a white cheddar, some parmesan and a some chunks of quesa fresco I had a round)
1-2 cloves garlic
Fresh sage and thyme
1 apple chopped
1 cup cream or milk (or both)
1 tsp nutmeg
Butter or oil for sautéing (about a tablespoon)
You could easily make this vegetarian by removing the sausage, pretty darn gluten free (yes, that is an “official designation”) by removing bread and maybe substituting polenta, raisins instead of apple…… Imagine root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips), fennel, nuts, cornbread (left overs), orange, ginger….
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Clean out the pumpkin by cutting a hole in the top, save this for a lid, and using a spoon to scoop out the insides. Save the seeds for roasting!
Cook sausage and remove to a separate plate. In the same pan, sauté the onions and garlic.
In a large bowl combine the bread chunks/cubes, chopped apple, sliced mushroom, chopped sage, thyme and grated cheese. Just use your hands!
Add in sausage, onions and garlic and now the stuffing is complete!
In a liquid measuring cup, pour cream/milk and add pepper and nutmeg. Mix but don’t add yet.
Place pumpkins in a rimmed baking pan lined with foil or parchment paper. Hold on to the lid.
Pre-roast the empty pumpkin sans top for about 20-30 minutes. This step is probably optional… but it’s what I did.
Remove from oven and carefully fill the hollowed out pumpkin with stuffing, packing it in nice and tight. Pour the cream over the top, evenly dividing it by the number of pumpkins you have.
Put the pumpkin top on (be sure to sing I’m a little pumpkin pot, short and stout…..)
Bake for 45 + minutes, depending on size of pumpkin. Your goal is to cook until the pumpkin flesh on inside is soft (test with a fork) and ingredients are hot all the way through. You can use a thermometer to check this. If your pumpkin starts to burn, cover it with foil. For the last 15-20 minutes, I removed the lid so that the filling would brown up nicely.
Serve and enjoy! You can eat straight out of the pumpkin with a spoon, slice it and serve it or a something in between.
Tis my favorite season! Seattle fall foliage put on a great show this past weekend, hence inspiring me to bake this easy, pumpkin cookie recipe. The original recipe was made by the amiable University of Montana Knowles Hall Secretary Renate H. for her darling staff of young resident assistants, moi included. I have modified it a little bit but the pumpkin and maple essence ring true.
Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Frosting
1 cup shortening
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of pumpkin (note there might only be 1 1/2 cups in a can [Libbey conspiracy theory], I added ½ cup grated carrot, but I think you could use apple too)
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon (and some nutmeg if feeling adventurous)
Scoop onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool before frosting. Enjoy!
Prepare the frosting by creaming:
½ stick soften butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup (or 1 tsp maple extract, but you might need a little more milk then)
½ cup half and half or milk (or evaporated milk)
If you don’t like maple, do vanilla instead. Feel free to add raisins or nuts to the cookies too. I might top this batch with some orange zest once they cool a bit more.