Sunday, December 10, 2006

Same Time Next Year - WHB

It’s because we sort of missed it at Thanksgiving. And, like white after Labor Day, once the season’s oven, it’s over. So time was running out fast.

Which is too bad.

Because a lot of traditionally seasonal foods are very healthy, as well as tasty.

Fresh cranberries, for instance. Wonderful flavor. Lots of health benefits. But, traditionally, only available for purchase for a few weeks of the year.

And fresh pumpkins. Same thing. Lots of health benefits. Lots of flavor. Versatile, too.

It's not that you couldn't cook with these things in June if the notion struck you. It's not so much that it is against the law, or prohibited by the food police. It's just that things like fresh cranberries and pumpkins are simply not offered for sale except a few weeks of the year. So you gotta make while the makins' good!

Soups, ravioli, brulee, pancakes, bread, all made from pumpkin. Today’s brunch treat as well.

When we saw this latest foodie fad start popping up at our Farmer’s Market, having already blogged on both pumpkin soup and pumpkin ravioli, and having missed out on the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (too much dark meat turkey), the thought of turning these interestingly shaped things into muffins with that familiar cinnamon / nutmeg / clove / allspice aroma was just waiting for a chilly day to happen.

I suppose the reason these pumpkins, or squashes, or whatever they are, have begin popping up is their unusual shape. The one shameless stand at the Farmer’s Market wanted $10 for one. And they sold some, mainly due to the novelty.

But we eventually found them at our bulk vegetable store. Maybe not quite as picture perfect as the $10 version, but just as flavorful inside.

Well, being the first rainy day since last year, pretty much, this was the day. I was thinking for just a moment about pumpkin pancakes, but the thought of the oven warming up the kitchen was too much to resist. So today, we get Roasted Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins for breakfast. For , sponsored this week by Pookah of .

I’ve blogged previously about pumpkins, mentioning that the anti-oxidant content of these bright orange bulbs is especially high. Plus an abundance of vitamin A. Both of which are now thought to provide some protection against some types of cancer and heart disease. Plus potassium, very good for the men! Health, beauty and flavor!

To convert this to a muffin, I first cut it into sections, cleaned it, peeled it, and roasted it. 20 minutes later, we were ready to start.

When I looked at pumpkin muffin and pancake recipes, most warned against overloading the batter with too much pumpkin, for fear the result would be too heavy. Also, although many recipes call for oil, this seems to be a culprit in heavy muffins as well, so we opted for butter. Hey – an occasionally butter binge can’t be sooo bad, we rationalized as our arteries silently hardened.

We countered the butter with whole wheat flour, raisins, and the anti-oxydent pumpkin.

We actually doubled the recipe below, making 24 muffins, with some extra batter left for another 6 or so.

And achieved the desired result. The kitchen heated up, both from the roasting of the pumpkin as well as the baking of the muffins. Everything toasty warm for a late breakfast. House full of that spice aroma. And very nice, light muffins, more than we could possibly eat in one setting, still giving off a little steam as they were savored, one after the other.

After trying one plain, no butter or jam, just to get the full taste of the pumpkin and spice, I opted to go naked on the rest of my share of the bounty. The muffins were moist and light, perfect with a very strong cup of coffee. Some fruit on the side, maybe a little yogurt, and breakfast was perfect!

Print Recipe

Roasted Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins
Recipe by surfindaave
Makes 12 muffins

1 small pumpkin (3 pounds or less), cut into sections, peeled, cleaned, and cut into 1 inch cubes
olive oil
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
¾ cup fresh roasted pumpkin, pureed
¼ cup milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup white whole-wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
good pinch of allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup seedless raisins
12 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 450° F. and butter twelve 1/2-cup muffin cups.

Place pumpkin pieces in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender and lightly browned in places. Remove from oven and let cool somewhat. Puree in food processor. You will have more than is necessary for this recipe, reserve extra for soup, pancakes, etc.

Melt butter and cool slightly. In a bowl whisk together butter, pumpkin, milk, eggs, molasses, and vanilla. Into a large bowl sift together flours, baking powder, spices, salt, and baking soda and whisk in brown sugar. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add pumpkin mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in dates and divide batter among cups. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over batter in each cup and bake muffins in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until puffed and a tester comes out clean. Cool muffins in cups 5 minutes and turn out onto a rack. Serve. Enjoy!

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Blogger gattina said...

so beautifully your muffins!

3:12 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Very lovely and so tasty looking. I'm a bit of a pumpkin convert, didn't used to like it but now I do!

5:19 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Gattina, Kalyn, thanks! There are so many things you can do with pumpkins! They are a favorite here!

8:03 AM  
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