Pumpkin Recipes

When I dream of fall, all I can think of is pumpkin! The moment I see these big orange squashes popping up in the fields in San Luis Obispo, I go pumpkin crazy.  I make everything from pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to pumpkin cheesecake, and could never make it through the fall without that good old pumpkin pie. The smell of pumpkin baking in the oven puts me in the holiday spirit!

The recipes I am sharing with you today are my favorite holiday treats. In September I put my chocolate chip pumpkin muffins on the breakfast buffet in the restaurant. These muffins are topped with a rolled oat and brown sugar mixture. These muffins are melt-in-your-mouth velvety and in combination with the crunchy topping they are smooth with the perfect chew.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 1/3 c flour
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • ¾ T baking powder
  • 2/3 T cinnamon
  • ½ t ginger
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/3 c cold cubed butter
  • 1 ½ c pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 c evaporated milk
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 2/3 T vanilla
  • ¾ c chocolate chips

Sift all of the dry ingredients together and piece the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a mixer. Let the butter mix in for a few minutes and then stop the mixer. Add the pumpkin, milk, eggs, and vanilla in all at the same time. Turn the mixer on low until everything is incorporated, then add the chocolate chips. Scoop the muffins out into muffin tins lined with baking cups.

Topping

  • ½ c oats
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ c flour
  • ¼ c cold cubed butter

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse about ten times or until it starts to combine.

Sprinkle over the top of the unbaked muffins generously J

Bake the muffins at 350° for 15 minutes then rotate the pan to bake for an additional five minutes before checking with a toothpick.  Once it comes out clean they are done!

Pumpkin Muffins

My biggest weakness in confection is cheesecake. My favorite way to enjoy cheesecake is to freeze it completely and then leave it out at room temperature for a half hour. My staff knows about my cheesecake infatuation and will prep an extra one knowing that I have trouble not taking a slice for myself. Pumpkin is the seasonal cheesecake we feature at Marisol from October through January.  The combination of cheesecake and pumpkin makes my desire to indulge skyrocket. I use a gingersnap crust that makes the seasonal spices pop. This cheesecake is perfect to bring to a holiday gathering or just freeze and enjoy one slice at a time.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs + 2 yolks
  • ¼ c sour cream
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t cloves
  • 1/8 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 t vanilla

Soften the cream cheese for about thirty seconds in the microwave and mix with the pumpkin puree in a stand mixer. Add the eggs and sour cream and let mix for a few minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, and flour at the same time. Add the vanilla and let mix until it is one smooth mixture.

Crust

  • ¼ c butter
  • ¼ c sugar
  • ¼ c molasses
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 c flour
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t baking powder
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • ½ t cloves
  • ½ t ginger
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • 2 c pecans
  • ½ c butter

In a mixer let the butter and sugar combine. Add the molasses and egg yolk and let combine. Sift the dry ingredients and add at once. Let mix until combined. Spread the dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and roll until it is at an even half inch width. Place in oven 350° for 10 minutes. Take out and crumble up with your hands to dime-sized pieces. Process pecans and add to the dough, then place back in the oven for five more minutes. Crumble in hands one more time and add that last ½ cup butter to the mixture. You may need less you just want it to hold in a ball in your hand when you squeeze it.

Assembly

Prepare a 6” cheesecake pan with oil and parchment paper, then press the crust into the bottom of the pan evenly. It should be about an inch thick. Then pour the cheesecake batter in until it is two thirds full. Place in oven at 325° for twenty minutes, then turn the oven down to 300° and continue to cook for an additional fifteen minutes. When the center is only slightly jiggly pull out and cover the cheesecake with a sheet pan to cool for an hour.

I don’t feel like I could do an entry on pumpkin without the traditional pumpkin pie. No memory stands out more from the holidays then warm pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream. I use a butter crust versus a shortening crust because I feel like it complements the pumpkin nicely. Not much more to say about pumpkin pie, it’s so good that it needs no introduction!

Pumpkin Pie Crust

  • 2 ½ c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 c cold cubed butter
  • 6 to 8 t ice water

Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse three times, then add the butter and pulse five times. Add the ice water slowly while pulsing at the same time. When the mixture comes together, stop.  Roll out onto a floured surface and work together with your hands. Once in a ball wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Pull from fridge and roll out into two separate balls. Roll each ball into one fourth inch thick dough and press into a pie pans pinching the edges. Set aside.

Filling

  • 2 c pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 T pumpkin pie spice

Add one ingredient at a time until it is all incorporated. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crusts and bake at 425° for fifteen minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake another thirty to forty minutes. Remove from oven when the center is not jiggly. Cool for four hours but do not refrigerate.

Pumpkin Cheesecake