Pumpkin desserts start to
enter my thoughts as soon as the heat of summer fades. Pumpkin has a sweet earthy
flavor and a dense fibrous texture that is well suited for the baked goods we make
during the Fall and Winter months. When you add pumpkin
puree to a batter it turns
it a lovely
golden brown color and it also provides a moist dense texture. Sweet pumpkin
desserts are usually flavored with some combination of ground
spices. Normally the spices used have an aroma that is warm and fragrant.
My favorites are ground cinnamon which Jill Norman in her excellent book
"Herbs & Spices" describes as "a warm, agreeably sweet, woody aroma that
is delicate yet intense; the taste is fragrant and warm with hints of
clove and citrus". Other spices that I like are ground ginger (peppery
with subtle lemon flavor) and ground cloves (rich and spicy).
A combination that has become
quite popular is
pumpkin and cream cheese. I like the richness and
tanginess that the cream cheese provides in a pumpkin dessert. Whether
it's these delicious Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, or a Pumpkin Roll, a
Pumpkin Spice Cake, a Pumpkin Cheesecake, or even Pumpkin Cupcakes frosted
with a Cream Cheese Frosting.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins look pretty cool. They are
similar to the Black Bottom Cupcakes only instead of a chocolate batter we
use a pumpkin batter. The Pumpkin Muffin batter is
really easy to make. You just 'dump' and stir
all the ingredients together.
Once the batter is placed in your muffin cups then you simply make a well
in the center and insert a dollop of the cream cheese filling. You can
even sprinkle some miniature chocolate chips or pumpkin seeds on top of
the cheesecake filling if you like.
To make our lives easier instead of making our own pumpkin puree
we can buy canned pure pumpkin. Just make sure you do not buy the
pumpkin which already has the spices added to it. However, if you
want to make your own puree start by using the smaller pumpkin
varieties like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately
5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 kg.). Then first cut the pumpkin in half
lengthwise, remove all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place
cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177
degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on
size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and
puree in a food processor until smooth. You do need to extract all
the liquid, so strain the pumpkin through a cheesecloth lined
strainer and then cool the puree before using.
to the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins recipe page.......
Let's get baking!