To make pumpkin puree at home, remove the stem of a baking pumpkin and cut squash in half. Remove seeds and fiber. Drizzle flesh with extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange the halves face down in a deep baking dish and add 2 cups water. Roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. Let pumpkin cool. Peel and discard skin. Chop pumpkin and puree in a food processor.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce
"Baking the bread pudding in ramekins produces a firm, crisp brown top, yet preserves the moistness in the middle. The salted bourbon caramel gives the dessert a nice punch. It all comes together and melts in your mouth." — Laura Williams, owner of LaBella Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, incorporate 2 cups fresh pureed pumpkin, 2 cups half-and-half, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and 2 large slightly beaten eggs. Then add 2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon each of ginger, cloves and salt, and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Whisk until combined. Fold in 10 cups of 3/4-inch challah or brioche bread cubes. Coat 8 ramekins with a nonstick cooking spray and place them on a cookie sheet. Scoop bread pudding mixture in the ramekins. Let them sit for 15 minutes. Bake for about 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. To make the sauce, melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter over low heat. Whisk in 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar. Add 3 tablespoons bourbon and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream until the mixture is smooth. Remove from burner. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Top bread pudding with whipped cream and drizzle with sauce.
Crock-pot Pumpkin Butter with Seared Pork Chop
"The pumpkin butter will have a marmalade, jamlike texture when it cools. Swoop the cooled pumpkin butter across your plate, and set your pork chop on top. If you have any left over, smear it over a bagel for breakfast." — Jeff Jarrett, executive chef at Hub 55
Add 4 cups fresh pumpkin puree into a Crock-Pot. Add 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup apple cider. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine. Cook on low, stirring periodically, for approximately 6 hours until thick. Meanwhile, season pork chops liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Sear in cast-iron pan on medium-high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the chops and place the pan in a 375-degree oven. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes.
"The subtle herbs offset the flavor of the pumpkin, so you have this mildly sweet creamy hummus." — Nick Lanzo, executive chef at Merwin's Wharf
Place fresh puree from one pie pumpkin into a food processor. Add 24 ounces rinsed and drained cannellini beans, 1 1/2 tablespoons roasted garlic puree, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 tablespoon herbs de Provence, 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Chill for 30 minutes before serving with chips, toast points or vegetables.
"We love Old-Fashioneds and Manhattans, and this is a great meeting of the two. The Averna adds sweetness and bitterness to the pumpkin puree, while the local applejack gives an autumnal quality to the drink." — Ritesh Singh, bartender at Flying Fig