Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Pumpkins: Day 1
Butcher Son went and fetched me a dozen pumpkins on Saturday from his friend Paul, who works for a Half Moon Bay farmer. All sizes and shapes just sat there staring at me in the garage. I went ahead and decorated the porch for Halloween with them, but I was pretty antsy to get something cooked with these quintessential fall hallmarks. I have had soooo many ideas rolling around. So last night, after my Spicy Cajun Shrimp came out of the oven, I popped in one of the larger pumpkins to steam. I just cut the pumpkin into large chunks, clean out the seeds, put the pieces in a turkey pan or large roaster with about an inch of water, cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Once it was cool, I peeled it easily with a knife and pureed the pieces in a food processor. And this morning, bright and early, I made a double batch of pumpkin scones. One batch with chopped pecans and one with chopped crystallized ginger. I made the scones a bit smaller, as I was sending them up to the butchers at Robert’s Market, who have become my guinea pigs (thanks, guys!). As scones usually are, these are not very sweet, but with the addition of my homemade peach jam, or some pumpkin butter (which I am making later today), they are perfect. I ate two right out of the oven and they were mighty tasty. So far the word from the market is good as well. No complaints yet (except for Butcher Son, who requested more Turbinado sugar sprinkled on top).
While the pumpkin really didn’t take me that much time, I do realize that most people are not willing to go quite this far for a batch of scones (although it made enough puree for scones, 2 batches of pumpkin butter and still have enough left over for a pie or two). So do feel free to use pumpkin from a can, just make sure it is not spiced or else you will get an overdose of aromatics that will make the scones bitter.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk with 1T vinegar added)
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chopped nuts or chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
Mix together first 9 ingredients, then cut in butter until mixture resembles small crumbs. Mix together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup and add to flour mixture. Mix until the dough comes together, being careful not to overmix. At this point you can add in the nuts or ginger. Pour all onto a lightly floured board and knead until it comes together, about 6-8 turns. You can either pat out into a round and cut into 6-8 larger scones, or cut dough in half and pat out into 2 small rounds cut into 6 pieces each.
I sprinkle these with Turbinado sugar, place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.