Pumpkin

Pumpkin Curry

In a Dutch oven, sauté diced onions, red capsicum and carrots with minced garlic, ginger, seeded Thai chillies and madras curry powder.

Add drained canned diced tomatoes, diced pumpkin, small cauliflower florets and stock. Simmer until pumpkin and cauliflower are tender. Stir in frozen peas until heated through.

Top with chopped coriander and serve.

ROASTED PUMPKIN

& CANDIED PEPITA SALAD

Toss pepitas with oil, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bake at 180°C until lightly browned.

Whisk together apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, light brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss hearty greens with roasted diced pumpkin, dried cranberries and vinaigrette. Top with crumbled goat’s cheese, if desired, and sprinkle with candied pepitas.

PUMPKIN ICE CREAM

Make your favourite vanilla ice cream base. For every 3 cups base, whisk in 1 cup pumpkin puree, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg and 1/8 tsp ground cloves.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

Beat 4 eggwhites to stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix 4 egg yolks, 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 cups milk, 4 Tbsp melted butter and 1 tsp vanilla.

In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/4 tsp allspice. Stir in pumpkin mixture, then fold in eggwhites.

Drop 1/3 cupfuls onto a skillet, cooking each side until golden.

PUMPKIN RAVIOLI

Place chilled puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet; brush pastry with olive oil.

Sprinkle with thyme leaves, salt and pepper; top with grated Gruyère and tart apple slices.

Bake at 400°F until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

PUMPKIN-GRUYÈRE GRATIN

Cut the top off a pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the inside with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Alternate layers of toasted French bread with grated Gruyère until about 2.5 cm from the top.

Combine equal parts chicken stock and cream. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour into pumpkin until it reaches the top layer of bread. Replace top and bake at 180°C for about 2 hours.

Availability

Pumpkins are available year-round, but bumper season is autumn to early winter.

Selecting

Choose pumpkins that feel solid and heavy for their size. As they age, they dry out and become lighter. The skin should be hard, with no cracks, blemishes or soft spots. For cooking, seek out small, sweet varieties with a thick flesh and a fairly small seed cavity, such as butternut or Kent (also known as Jap).

Preparing

To cut open a pumpkin, steady it on a thick towel, very carefully insert a large, heavy knife near the stem, and cut down through the curved side. Always cut away from you. Turn the pumpkin 180 degrees and repeat on the other side. A more dramatic, messier method is simply to drop the pumpkin onto newspapers spread on a hard floor. The pumpkin will break into pieces. Once you've cracked the pumpkin, use a large metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and any fibrous strings in the seed cavity. If you like, save the seeds for roasting.

Storing

Hard shells protect pumpkins from easy spoilage. Most will keep for a month or longer if stored in a cool, dry place. Once cut, pumpkins should be wrapped tightly in plastic, refrigerated and used within 3 to 4 days.