Each year I carve a pumpkin. And each year I forget how much work it really is. Though, in the end it’s always worth it.
Tag Archives: pumpkin
Each year I carve a pumpkin. Not necessarily the standard jack-o-lantern, but we do roast the seeds and light it up for as long as the poor thing will last in the elements. I had a hard time choosing a design this year and had to go with the Text Poll Your a Friends method. In the end Gilligan won hands down. (And this was definitely a faster project than that 3 hour cruise…).
First one needs to poke some holes into the pumpkin around the pertinent areas in the pattern and slowly begin to remove the sections.
A little direction from the Skipper and Ginger and we’re ready to give it a go!
These are just a few of my favorites from over the years. Definitely a lot of fun. And my parents are so proud – think of all that money they spent on art school for me to carve pumpkins!! (though I did win a $20 gift card to a Thai restaurant in a carving contest though…..)
When I was back in NY my mother was in a frenzy of bake sale baking and one of the creations which my father and I were able to sample, were pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these bars in the last few weeks and decided that today I absolutely had to make them. I had to.
- Beat 4 eggs, 1 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup applesauce (or oil if that’s your thing) and 2 cups pumpkin (or shredded zucchini) together
- Stir in 2 cups flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda
- Bake in a jelly roll pan, or lasagna pan if you’re like me for 25 -30 minutes for the former, and 40 – 50 minutes for the latter or until a toothpick comes clean from the middle
Cream cheese icing:
- Beat 3 ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup soft butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 cups confectioner’s sugar until smooth
- Stuff face
Every few years I take some time to carve a fun pumpkin. 2 years ago it was the pope, and in years past Bill Cosby as well as Hillary Clinton have been featured. It’s a bit of work, and a lot of fun, and of course my parents are super impressed with all the money they spent on “art school” for me to carve pumpkins. I won a $20 gift card to a Thai restaurant in a contest once (totally helps with those student loans!)
I was torn between RuPaul, the Last Supper and Napoleon…but we obviously know who won.
These kinds of pumpkins always look pretty terrible when not lit in the almost complete dark (as you can see), but the seeds are amazing when roasted no matter what’s happening with daylight savings time.
- Rinse and separate seeds from guts
- Spread on a lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with salt & pepper, drizzle a bit more oil
- Bake @ 350* for 30-45 minutes, pushing them around every 10 minutes or so to toast equally
- Stuff face
We had friends in town from Japan (!!) and despite all of us having already eaten dinner when we finally got a chance to kick back and chat, I felt I needed to make something to nibble on. Lately I’ve been a little homesick for that amazing New England foliage, which of course means an intense craving for all things pumpkin and cider related, so pumpkin donuts and hard cider won. I poked through Pinterest and the interwebs in general, and came across this recipe which I used as a base.
- Place 2TB butter and 1/3 cup milk into a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds until warmed through and butter starts to melt. Whisk for about 45 seconds.
- Sprinkle 1 TB yeast over the warm milk. Sprinkle 2 TB sugar over the yeast. Make sure they both sink – proof until foamy.
- Add 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 TB pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp salt, & 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the yeasty liquid, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, and 1 egg into the dry ingredients and mix with the bread hook attachment.
- Rise until doubled on a heating pad, about 1 hour.
- Once risen, punch down the dough and roll out to about 1 inch on a well floured surface.
- Use 2 random pieces of glassware (or a donut cutter if you’re cool) to cut out donuts. *Cover loosely with a cloth and let rise while heating the oil for frying. (* I was so excited I cut this step short – it’s rather important)
- Fry 1-2 minutes per side in hot oil and set on a paper towel to collect excess grease.
- We dusted them with powdered sugar and happily shoved them in our faces. So. Good.
We only had a few leftover from a batch of about a dozen donuts (as well as the holes) and found they were just as good zapped in the microwave with some cinnamon sugar and vanilla ice cream. Sometimes life is hard indeed.
You can of course bake these guys instead of frying them (for the health conscious out there) but I am not in possession of a donut pan, and honestly feel if you’re going to make a donut, do it the right way. But it’s totally up to you.
I’ve always had fun over the years carving funky pumpkins – makes me feel like I’m putting that art degree to good use. The first was a great rendition of Bill Cosby, and the second Hillary Clinton (I was visiting my parents and knowing my father loathes Hillary, it was obviously the perfect luminary). This year’s pumpkin was a tough call….Sarah Palin? Ed McMahon? Bea Arthur? My obsession with the Golden Girls is well known, and Bea being the obvious choice, meant it obviously could not be chosen. So, drawing on my torturous Catholic upbringing, I thought the Pope would be a hoot. (It’s sort of a theme in our house – there’s a picture of JP the Deuce that hangs in our bathroom and is lovingly referred to as The Poopin’ Pontiff).
The first step is mapping out the areas which will be white, or actually cut out.
Next, poke small holes with a pin around the areas which you will flesh out, or just remove the heavier pumpkin “skin.”
After you’re done taking the top layer off, set a candle or light source inside, light, and allow your parents to be proud of all that money they spent on art school….so you could learn how to carve pumpkins….