Every fall, a pumpkin turns up in our lobby with my name on it. It’s from the seller’s agent who sold me my condo nearly eight (!) years ago.
The pumpkin usually appears bearing a recipe printed on orange paper rolled up in a scroll and rubber banded to its stem. This year Miss Pumpkin even had a little Halloween bling. Fancy, Miss Pumpkin!
I decided I wanted to try making my own Miss Pumpkin purée for this year’s recipe: Pumpkin and Raisin Muffins. (Warning: Look away if you must. Miss Pumpkin guts ahead.)
My first batch of pumpkin raisin muffins was a little underwhelming in flavor. Maybe it’s because I had softened the pumpkin in the microwave like I have done for spaghetti squash in order to purée it. I still had half of Miss Pumpkin left. So for the second batch I tried roasting the pumpkin, based on the instructions I found on The Gourmand Mom.
I also thought a nutty flavor would add an interesting secondary note to an otherwise ordinary muffin. I didn’t have quite enough walnuts so I combined toasted walnuts and hazelnuts and then grated them until fine in my mini food processor.
The end result was delicious! Plump raisins in a pumpkin-y muffin with just a hint of toasted nuts.
Making your own pumpkin purée is a cinch, and I noticed the new (controversial) Whole Foods in Hyde Square has a whole mound of sugar pumpkins just waiting to be roasted.
Pumpkin Raisin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup firmly backed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts or hazelnuts
1 cup pumpkin purée*
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a muffin tin.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl. Stir in the raisins, set aside.
Toast the walnuts and hazelnuts in a pan on the stove top stirring frequently just a few minutes. Be careful not to burn the nuts. If using hazelnuts, rub toasted nuts in a tea towel to remove skins. Blend in a food processor until fine. Whisk into flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat together the pumpkin purée, eggs, milk, and butter. Fold into flour mixture until combined.
Divide among 12 muffin cups, filling each tin about 2/3 full. You may have enough for an additional muffin or two. Or just make giant muffins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes in the center of the oven until well risen and golden, and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Leave in muffin tin for 1 to 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the pumpkin in half, remove stem, seeds and pulp. Turn the pumpkin face down in about 1/4 inch of water. Bake for 90 minutes. Scoop out the softened flesh and pass through a blender to purée.
[Editor's note: For more from this writer, follow Kendra Nordin's personal blog, Kitchen Report.]