Pumpkin recipes that add pizazz to the fall season

Shannon Watridge

Shannon Watridge

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The best feeling during autumn is leaving the crisp cool air and billowing trees behind as you step into the warmth of home. Spiced aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg fill the air, as the scents overtake your entire brain and, with your mouth watering, you walk straight to the source of this intoxicating fragrance. Sitting on the counter, hot steam escaping in swirling patterns, is a pumpkin-based culinary creation, a seasonal favorite. According to a Redwood survey, 76 percent of Redwood students consume pumpkin baked goods throughout the fall season. With this in mind, here is a review of four pumpkin recipes: pumpkin soup, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin crème brûlée, and, of course, pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Soup (Vegan)!:

Shannon Watridge
Cayenne pepper and pumpkin seeds decorate a warm bowl of pumpkin soup.

https://cookieandkate.com/creamy-vegan-pumpkin-soup/

★★★★★

Initially looking at this recipe, the fact that it called for a sweet pie pumpkin was concerning because I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to find it at a local grocery store. Surprisingly, Safeway sells them in the produce section, but I underestimated this pumpkin’s strength and, as I was cutting it into quarters, could barely chop through the outer layer. After struggling for several minutes, I managed to successfully slice the beast and the cooking moved on without hesitation. The resulting masterpiece: FLAWLESS. Although the soup did not have the most appetizing color, the flavor made up for it. Each spoonful was like a ray of sunshine, creamy in texture as it warmed me up from the inside. The pumpkin flavors emerged through the blissful sweetness of the cinnamon and tangy spice of the cayenne pepper. The flavor rolled to the tip of my tongue as the cayenne tingled throughout my mouth, a true sign of a well-made recipe. This recipe brings out the best in fall seasonal flavors and is a perfect solution for feeding even the hungriest of guests during the holiday season. PRO TIP: Garnish with Crème Fraiche (warning: not vegan) and cayenne pepper to add a little pizzazz to the bowl and cook the leftover pumpkin seeds with a little salt and butter to create the perfect snack for the next day.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Shannon Watridge
A steamy hot pumpkin spice latte cools near fall decorations.

 https://www.inspiredtaste.net/8419/pumpkin-spice-latte-at-home-recipe/

★★☆☆☆

This was the recipe I was most looking forward to and, to say the least, was an enormous let-down. Though very simple and quick, the latte was mostly milk and did not have enough pumpkin paste to express its unique flavor through the very limited amount of added coffee. Instead of the harmonious mixture of spices I was used to, the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice clumped together at the bottom of the mug, waiting to ambush my tongue with dryness that left me coughing. Take it from me, this seasonal favorite is best bought at a local coffee shop where professional baristas can easily froth milk and combine tried and tested ingredients to create the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.

 

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Shannon Watridge
A glittery sheen of crème brûlée waits to be cracked open with a spoon.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pumpkin-creme-brulee-recipe-1937981

★★★★☆

At first glance, the recipe for this homemade masterpiece appeared difficult with many steps and tricks along the way. While the prep work was fairly simple, the process for perfectly executing the boiling water bath while maintaining composure and not spilling it into the small ramekins was frightening, to say the least. At the end of the process, the burning of the sugar was extremely satisfying as bubbles popped up along the surface and promptly hardened into a golden sheen that cracked with perfection. Although a blowtorch was used to achieve this effect (yes, I have a blowtorch for the sole purpose of making crème brûlée) this burning process can easily be recreated with a broiler in the oven. The silky sweetness of the pumpkin interior contrasted the outer layer of burnt sugar and created a swirl of intricate flavors of spices and homemade pumpkin pie. This dessert gushed with holiday spirit, but the original vanilla crème brûlée will always be a winner.

 

Pumpkin Bread 

Shannon Watridge
A sliced loaf of pumpkin bread perches atop a table, waiting to be eaten.

https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/spiced-pumpkin-bread.html

★★★★★

Finally, the best of them all: the famous, warm, delicious pumpkin bread. This simple recipe did not disappoint. I will admit that in my anticipation for this treat, I opened the oven and peeked several times which may have caused the bread to become slightly flatter than normal. Nevertheless, within the first bite, the strong pumpkin flavor was apparent yet not overwhelming, the cloves and cinnamon flawlessly combining to invoke an immaculate representation of fall in one mouthful. I will say that I ate quite a few mouthfuls, perhaps even eating the entire half loaf in one sitting. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it, except for the fact that I had almost none left. Coming right out of the oven, the bread was crispy around the edges, contrasting the fluffy, steamy interior that warmed my mouth and soul. This was, as expected, my favorite recipe.