Pumpkin Muffins with Pepita Streusel Topping

Pumpkin Muffins

It’s almost Halloween, therefore it’s time to make Pumpkin muffins! I just served these to my adult ed computer class for our graduation party and they gave me their enthusiastic approval. The muffins are filled with nuts and chocolate chips for an extra treat. The first time I made these I put the pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) in the dough, but they came out a bit dry. I got the idea for the streusel from Aida Mollenkamp‘s recipe at http://saltandwind.com/recipes/407-apple-cinnamon-pumpkin-muffins-pepita-streusel-recipe although I added pumpkin pie spice to mine. Thanks Aida! The streusel made a good muffin great! These muffins are low in fat, using just 1 TB olive oil in the dough, and also fairly low in sugar. There is a nice taste of honey in it. I used the same method as my banana nut muffins recipe.

Ingredients

¼ cup 1% milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup unbleached white flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

¼ cup ground flax seed

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tb olive oil

¼ cup honey

14 ounce can pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (I use the little packets that come in a package of 4)

1/3 semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

½ cup walnut and/or pecan pieces

For the streusel: 

3 TB  brown sugar

2 TB white flour

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

a couple shakes sea salt

1/3 cup pepitas

2 TB  softened butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F

Add vinegar to milk in a small cup. Let it sit while you are mixing the other ingredients. The milk should curdle.

Make the streusel:

Sift together the dry ingredients and whisk well in a small bowl. Mix in pepitas. Add softened butter and mix with your fingers until it comes together when squeezed. Cover it and freeze until ready to use.

Make the dough:

Sift both flours, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice into a medium bowl. Add flax seed and whisk ingredients well.

Whip eggs in mixer until well combined. Add sugar and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy. This is called making a ribbon. Pour 1 TB oil into a ¼ cup measure and coat it well, then add the oil to the egg mixture. Now pour the honey into the same measuring cup and it will slide right out into the mixer! Add the vanilla, applesauce and  pumpkin puree and mix well.

With the mixer on low, add 1/3 the milk and 1/3 the flour mixture, and then repeat twice. Mix only until ingredients are almost combined. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips until they are just combined.

Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Because of the low fat content of the ingredients, you should spray them with non-stick spray so they won’t stick to the muffins. Otherwise, spray the muffin tins directly. If you choose to make a pumpkin bread loaf, line it with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick spray.

Putting the streusel on:

Remove the streusel mix from the freezer. crumble it up with your fingers. Sprinkle a little bit on each muffin top so it comes out evenly. Press it down just a tap onto the muffin.

Place on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Bake loaf 45 minutes, muffins for 35 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool on a rack a few minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Pumpkin – Kabocha Pie with Maple Syrup and Garam Masala

pie with fluted edgeI added kabocha squash to fresh pumpkin and sweetened this pie with maple syrup. A bit of the Punjabi spice blend garam masala adds an exotic highlight to this Thanksgiving favorite.
I make the pie on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day. I like to roast and puree the pumpkin and Kabocha squash on Tuesday night so it will be all ready on Wednesday.

Prepare a pie crust ahead of time and freeze it
DSC03214I use a Sugar Pie pumpkin. Just the name gets me singing Sugar Pie Honey! These are available at farmer’s markets and produce markets such as Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market in Berkeley. They are slightly smaller than a basketball. They have more flesh and are less fibrous than a Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkin. You will need about 1 3/4  pounds per pie.

???????????????????????????????

I add kabocha squash, which is sweeter  than the pumpkin. Its texture and flavor resemble chestnuts.

You can do this part ahead of time. Pierce pumpkin and kabocha several times and place on oiled roasting pan. Roast at 450◦ for 45 minutes until soft. Place it on a large plate and cut off the stem. Use a knife to coax the peel off; it should easily come off.

Let the pumpkin and kabocha cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and stringy pulp.

???????????????????????????????Put the flesh of the pumpkin in the food processor. Process until smooth.

??????????????????????????????? Since the puree is too watery for pie, pour it into a fine sieve over a bowl. Place a bowl on top of the puree and several heavy cans on top of the bowl. Let it drain for an hour.

Measure 1 1/4 cups of drained puree. Reserve the liquid  to add to squash soup such as Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup or butternut squash soup. You can put extra puree in those soups or save it for Fresh Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Puree about 1/2 cup of the kabocha squash and measure the pureed squash to be sure you have 1/2 cup. You can put extra Kabocha in Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup .

Blind bake foil or parchment covered pie crust with pie weights or beans for 15 minutes at 425◦ While crust is baking, prepare filling

Ingredients: Have all ingredients at room temperature. (You can warm the eggs in a bowl of warm water.)

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree, drained and 1/2 cup kabocha puree. (You can substitute a 15-oz can of pumpkin for both squashes, but it won’t be as good.)
2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups (one 12-oz can) evaporated milk,
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp salt

1 egg to brush on crust

Put pumpkin-kabocha puree in large bowl under a mixer.
Add rest of ingredients and beat well.

brush egg on bottom of crustRemove crust from oven, remove pie weights and foil or parchment, and brush the bottom and lower part of the sides of the crust with a beaten egg. This will prevent the crust from getting too soggy. Place the crust back in the oven for 5  minutes until sides are light brown.

Remove crust from the oven and lower oven temperature to 375◦

As soon as oven is ready, pour pumpkin pie filling into the crust. Place a circular crust protector over it so it won’t burn. Bake  for 40 minutes until the center just quivers when you wiggle the pan.

???????????????????????????????
Cool thoroughly on a rack and then refrigerate until Thanksgiving dinner is over and everyone is ready for dessert..

???????????????????????????????Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream sweetened with pure maple syrup.

Squash or Pumpkin Gingerbread

My neighbor Shauna gave me these beautiful acorn squash that she grew. I roasted them and used them to make squash gingerbread.

I made the bread again, this time with pumpkin. It’s a bit more gingerbread than pumpkin bread; the squash taste is overwhelmed  by the gingerbread spices. You can roast and /or purée the squash ahead of time.

I used whole wheat pastry flour for a healthier bread.

Ingredients:

1 cup pureed roasted squash or pumpkin

½ cup mild molasses

1 tsp baking soda

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

Roast squash or pumpkin at 450′ for an hour or until soft. Slice in half when cool enough to handle. Remove seeds and fibers, then scoop out flesh and purée in food processor. (You could also used canned pumpkin puree if you’re looking for a shortcut.)

If it has cooled down, heat with molasses in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Stir in baking soda. The soda should cause it to foam. Let cool.

Set oven to 325’ Spray a 8×8 inch pan with nonstick spray, and line the bottom of it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the paper and the pan sides. I’ve also made this in a loaf pan, but it took 15 minutes longer to cook.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices into a bowl.

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs, applesauce and sugar on high speed 3-4 minutes until thick and the color is lighter.

Fold in 1/3 flour mixture, then alternate with ½ the squash mixture, mixing gently by hand. Pour into pan and shake pan to even out the batter to all sides. Bake it until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

It’s especially good spread with cream cheese or lower fat Neufchâtel (nuf-shuh-TEL) cheese and topped with walnuts.


“Daddy Cereal” Oatmeal

When I was a little kid, my daddy made us oatmeal for breakfast so often that we called oatmeal “Daddy Cereal.”  I’m posting this on Father’s Day  in his memory.

These days I make oatmeal for my family. We only like the regular kind, not the quick oats, which taste mushy. (We really dislike the flavored packaged stuff, which is overly sweet and tastes artificial.) Oatmeal really does lower cholesterol, so if you need to keep yours down, it is a delicious choice.

Serves 2

ingredients

2 cups water

1 cup oatmeal

¼  cup raisins

½ tsp cinnamon

shake or two of salt

a handful of walnut pieces

I mix the cinnamon and raisins with the water and oats, which adds a natural sweetness. 1/8 cup raisins per person is 70 calories.

ingredients in pot

Boil,  then cook for 5 minutes on medium flame, stirring often. When it’s done,  add maybe a teaspoon of maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter. Serve with milk  (or soy milk for a vegan version.) I like to add walnuts to the oatmeal. It adds a delicious crunch as well as extra protein for making it through the morning.

.