Pumpkin, it seems to me, is an overlooked fruit (or vegetable, if you aren’t too fussy about botanical classifications).
Sure, you can’t help tripping over it for a few weeks in October and November, but apart from that small window of availability, it’s pretty much off the radar.
You wouldn’t think, for example, that the US alone produces over a billion pounds of pumpkins each year.
Or that this member of the squash family is a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
Of course, having pumpkins for Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving is a well-entrenched tradition in North America, and there is nothing wrong with that.
If you have space and are looking for a new gardening challenge, you might want to try raising an Atlantic Giant – a monster of a pumpkin developed by Maritimer Howard Dill of Nova Scotia.
The record to date for Dill’s enormous cucurbita is a mind-boggling 913 kgs (2009 lbs). Dill’s family proudly carries on the tradition of championship pumpkin growing, and offers seed for sale to adventurous gardeners.
But don’t just relegate pumpkin to the category of fall novelty.
I think it deserves a place at the table year round, and not just in pie.
This pumpkin dessert offers a pie-like base topped with a cakey crumble that tastes just great in January or July. You might want to double the recipe, as people are likely to want seconds.
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 small can pumpkin (14 oz / 398 ml / 1-3/4 cup)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch pepper
- ½ cup cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup graham crumbs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon graham crumbs (for bottom of pan)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of graham crumbs.
- In large bowl, beat eggs. Add the ½ cup sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, pepper, cream and milk. Beat thoroughly until well mixed.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- In separate bowl, mix flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter and blend. Sprinkle mixture over pumpkin.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
- Let the dessert sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold.