With the arrival of autumn, a very special vegetable starts to reappear in our kitchens. Yes, I'm talking about PUMPKINS!
After having been a little forgotten (in Europe, at least) for a while because it was considered to be not worth any kind of attention since it is so humble and synonymous of another time (the one of our grandparents). But now, the pumpkin has gained a new popularity and people are discovering it's incredible manifoldness. It is now a trendy item that gets put under the spotlights and much talked about.
There are so many different varieties of pumpkins that offer endless possibilities when it comes to preparing them. It is such a great vegetable! No one can affirm that pumpkins are boring, because whether you are cooking or baking it, it will always surprise you. Pumpkins have many faces and are a bit like chameleons or shapeshifters; they can take the form you want them to have and have several uses...
So, as I want to pay a tribute to this wonder of nature, I decided to propose you a very common, yet wonderful recipe that comes from Mollie Katzen's "Sunlight Café" cookbook.
Her muffins are veeeery smooth, moist and super tasty. Rarely have I eaten something so delightful! And it was a great idea of hers to combine the delicate flavor of the orange with the more chestnutty one of the pumpkin; the marriage is sensational! All spices are well-balanced and not overpowering, but just present enough to produce that pleasant tinge that wakes up our tastebuds...
I really love those "Pumpkin Muffins" and would definitely bake such goodies again, therefore I can only emphasize on the fact that you should immediately try this superb recipe!!!
Yields 8 to 10 muffins (I made 12).
2 Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1-1/2 Tsp Baking powder
1-1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground ginger
1/4 Tsp Ground allspice
3 to 4 Tsp Castor sugar
1 Tsp Orange zest, chopped (or Dr.Oetker)
1/3 Cup Packed dark brown sugar
1 Cup Mashed pumpkin
1 Egg (~50g)
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Tbs Vanilla extract
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) Unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F). Lightly spray 8 or 12 standard (2-1/2-inch-diameter) muffin cups with nonstick spray.
2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, spices, granulated sugar and orange zest in a medium-sized bowl. Crumble in the brown sugar and mix with a fork or your fingers until thoroughly blended.
3. Measure the pumpkin into a second medium-sized bowl. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat with a fork or a whisk until smooth.
4. Slowly pour this mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don't overmix; a few lumps are okay.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. For smaller muffins, fill the cups about four-fifths full. For larger muffins, fill them up to the top. If you have extra batter, spray one or two additional muffin cups with non-stick spray and fill with the remaining batter.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving
The range of sugar allows you to make these sweeter or not, according to your taste.
Cooked sweet potato or winter squash can be substituted for the pumpkin.
Canola oil or any other neutral oil can be substituted for some or all of the butter.
Those muffins keep 2-3 days maximum, so it's better if you eat them straight away, otherwise they tend to get moldy because they are quite moist...
Eat with butter (optional) for breakfast, tea time or whenever you like.
(Pumpkin -Pic by www.hoornashby.com)