This time of year I experience rapid onset gourd obsession, which makes for significantly more cumbersome market-trip wise than my summertime berry obsession. However, although gourds are significantly heavier and more awkward to amble home with, their redeeming quality is that they are happy to sit on the counter for weeks while you mull over what to do with them.
Pumpkins baked in cheesecakes, spaghetti squash shredded under a hearty marinara sauce, those lovely acorn squashes hollowed out and filled with butter and brown sugar to roast, butternut squash in soup or in ravioli with brown butter and sage – the possibilities, both sweet and savoury, are delightful and seemingly endless.
One of my most favourite applications for pumpkin is to bake it up in a batch of hearty pumpkin muffins. I often do a pumpkin-pineapple combination, but today I was looking for more of a nod to pumpkin pie – lots of spices, a crunch of walnut, and some raisins for texture. The pureed pumpkin makes for an amazingly moist and tender muffin, one that freezes beautifully for a fresh-baked treat any day with about 30 seconds in the microwave.
I sprinkled mine with some coarse sugar (turbinado), but you could make a tasty crumble topping or even whip some cream cheese, icing sugar and a splash of lemon juice together to dollop in the middle or in an indent made on top before baking.
- Pumpkin Pie Muffins
- Makes 12 large muffins, but you may use 2-12 cup tins filled 3/4 full for smaller muffins. If making smaller muffins, reduce baking time to about 25 minutes.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups pumpkin puree (homemade, or 1 large can of 100% pure pumpkin)
Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt in a large bowl. Stir in raisins and walnuts.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil and vanilla. Add pumpkin puree, stirring to thoroughly combine. Add to dry ingredients, stirring gently until just incorporated. Spoon evenly into muffin cups. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, until top springs back when lightly touched.