Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Butter

1 medium-large pumpkin
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or fresh!)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash the pumpkin with water; don’t use soap. Cut the pumpkin in half, leaving the rind on, and scrape out the stringy pulp and seeds with the spoon. Save the seeds to roast!

2. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, in 2 large baking dishes. Add about 2 inches of water to each dish to keep the pumpkin from drying out. Cover the pumpkin with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until it is very tender when poked with a fork.

3. Let the pumpkin cool and then scoop the pulp out of the rind with a spoon. Puree the pumpkin pulp in the blender or food processor to make it smooth or just mash it with a fork.

4. Combine pumpkin puree and the rest of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed stainless-steel or other nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; lower the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring it very often with a wooden spatula, until it has become very thick, 15-20 minutes. Sample the butter and add a little more of any or all of the spices, if you like (remember, the flavors will blossom in storage). Add more sweetening if your tastebuds request it.

5. Remove from heat and ladle into jars with lids (I used tupperware). Store in refrigerator 2-3 weeks. Serve with warm, fresh bread or scones.

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