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Pumpkin Eaters: An All-Pumpkin Feast

My family has many birthdays in October and November. Luckily these involve pumpkin pie. Inspired by the pumpkin pies gobbled up by ten-year-olds at my twin girls’ birthday party, my stepmother Linda Corso (creator of Delilah’s Farm Report cooking blog) suggested a pumpkin dinner to celebrate the collective birthdays. The menu:

Pumpkin Ravioli
Braised Pork Loin with roasted fennel and carrots
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin ice cream

Making pumpkin ravioli from scratch.

Making pumpkin ravioli from scratch.

Linda had already roasted the sugar pie pumpkins face down at 375 and scooped out the flesh when it cooled. She mixed this with Parmesan cheese, egg, nutmeg and salt and pepper for the filling. Instead of making pasta sheets from scratch, to save time, we bought ready-made pasta sheets. She floured up a counter space and put the kids to work. After trying the ravioli mold a few times, they gave it up in favor of teaspoons, a pastry brush, a fork, and a pizza cutter. The kids made lines in the pasta to outline the ravioli and tiny dents where the filling should go, then set a dollop in the middle; next a pastry brush wet with water painted off the ravioli squares. Then the second sheet of pasta was laid on top. A fork sealed the ravioli edges and then a dusted pizza cutter separated the ravioli.  Thrown into a big pot of boiling salted water, they floated to the surface when done. Linda served them with a simple sauce of browned butter and sage topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Ravioli Filling
1 cup pumpkin puree
About 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
About 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Adjust salt/pepper to taste.

If you’ve never tried your hand at homemade ravioli, buying the pre-made pasta sheets is your ticket. The filling is quite easy to put together and after the first dozen ravioli, you will be as seasoned as any chef in this imperfect but delicious art.

Linda had already baked two pumpkin pies that were ready for dessert but had the kids make the filling for two more once they were done with the ravioli. The pie recipe comes from her Aunt Minn, Linda’s grandmother’s sister, who made all the holiday pies when she was growing up in Pennsylvania.

Aunt Minn’s Pumpkin Pie
1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (use your favorite recipe or buy premade)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Brush crust with melted butter and place in refrigerator while you make the filling.

Filling:
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter

Heat together to melt butter and set aside to cool slightly.

1 1/2 cups Roasted Pumpkin (See Below)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix together all main ingredients, add milk/butter mixture, and stir to combine thoroughly.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Reduce to 350 and bake an additional 30 – 40 minutes, until filling is just set (a knife inserted about 2 inches from the center will come out clean).  Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Basset Hounds love pumpkin pie too.

Basset Hounds love pumpkin pie too.

Again, even a novice baker can pull off this recipe, especially if you go the pre-bought pastry route. Top with homemade whipped cream (or good quality store-bought) and you have a dessert worthy of birthdays, holidays, and rainy weekends. My kids had a piece for breakfast the next two mornings.

For the Pumpkin Ice Cream, Linda found a recipe she liked from Williams-Sonoma. For many years she had used a Cuisinart ice cream maker but when that one finally died, she bought an ice cream making attachment for her Kitchen Aid mixer. The ice cream came out perfect!

- Pia Hinckle

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