Surprise! I’ve jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon. With countless varieties of winter squash popping up in every grocery store and farmer’s market all over the place, it’s pretty difficult not to put roasted squash in everything or make every kind of pumpkin baked good. This newfound squash fixation forced me to do something I’ve never done before: bake with freshly roasted pumpkin! Eff that canned sadness! When I learned that canned pumpkin is actually almost always squash, I started roasting squash like nobody’s business. It’s so much easier than I imagined. Glass baking dish filled with a shallow water bath, squash halves face down, then about 30 minutes in a 400°F oven. Butternut squash seems to be the easiest to slice through and has a nice smooth, sweet flavor.
Working with what’s in season isn’t always ideal when writing a cookbook because of the amount of recipes needed at odd times of the year, deadlines, etc, but I’m really taking advantage of pumpkin and apple cider season. Plus these deadlines are currently self-imposed. I’m milking (I mean “liberating the potentials of succulent winter squash”) this pumpkin abundance for all it’s worth.
The first roasted butternut experiment was the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with a fluffy cinnamon buttercream, sprinkles, and gold lustre-dusted cinnamon stick garnish. I brought them in for one of my classes a couple weeks ago.
A few months ago I made pancakes with beer. It adds a lot of fluff to the texture and a beer bread flavor throughout the pancake. With pumpkin beer in season, I got inspired and decided to make Pumpkin Beer Pumpkin Pie Pancakes. Fresh roasted pumpkin, pumpkin beer, and an array of pumpkin pie spices give these pancakes the essence of autumn. They’re not too sweet, which lets the spicy flavors shine through. The beer flavor can be overpowering if too much is used, so here it just acts as a background of flavor to the pancakes, balanced with the other flavors.
So this one isn’t pumpkin or squash, but it was inspired by the Pumpkin French Toast at Blossoming Lotus in Portland, OR. This is Sweet Potato Pie French Toast with coconut whipped cream.
This really just started with an abundance of sweet potatoes at my disposal and some thick sourdough bread in my line of sight around brunch time, then I remembered the Pumpkin French Toast I’ve been dreaming of for the past few months. I got really interested in looking up drinks made with sweet potato (which led to reading a bartender’s book and googling the distillation processes and serving customs of a bunch of different fancy liquors) and came across the Sweet Potato Potato Pie Cocktail. This french toast has all the flavors of this warm, fuzzy season: sweet potato, rum, apple cider, and fresh spices, all topped with a dollop of coconut cream.
Pumpkin beer strikes again! Living in the city where pumpkin beer (and many other kinds of beer) is made, this stuff is everywhere. I decided to go with a traditional beer bread this time, but bake pumpkin beer and pumpkin into it, then bake as pizza crust! Topped with onions, bell peppers (which almost gave me food poisoning and were swiftly removed from the pizza. Don’t use the wrinkly bell peppers!), and a sprinkle of Daiya, it was perfectly delicious. Except for the quick wave of nausea when my whole life flashed in front of me after the psychedelic bell peppers. It was indeed quick, for no one’s allowed to get sick during Vegan MoFo.