’tis the season for the humble pumpkin. It can be utilized endlessly in sweet or savory dishes, but sadly most Americans only know it in two forms: carved for Halloween or in a can for pie.
Pumpkins are fantastic! There is a bit of prep when using a whole pumpkin, but I hope you will give it a try.
- 4 cups pumpkin puree (see note)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2-3 whole star anise
- Hunk of fresh ginger; peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces
- 1+ tbsp cinnamon
- 2+ tsp ground cloves
- 2+ tsp ground nutmeg
A note about pumpkin puree: If using fresh pumpkin, I recommend using pie (sometimes called a “sugar”) or Cinderella pumpkins. Scoop out seeds, cut into large chunks and steam the pumpkin until the flesh easily scoops away from the skin. Use a food processor to make very smooth. If this seems too daunting, feel free to use canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!).
- Put all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium-low heat until pumpkin has darkened and has taken on a nice sheen; about 15-20 minutes. Taste and add more spices as you see fit. If you want more sweetness, add 1/4 cup of brown sugar.
- That’s it! Remove star anise and ginger pieces and ladle pumpkin butter into storage containers. If using glass, allow the pumpkin butter to cool before putting into glass.
- Store it in the fridge and consume in a week or so.
DO NOT CAN PUMPKIN BUTTER!
Even in a pressure cooker. It is too dense to be safely canned, but it does freeze well.
What to do with pumpkin butter? Smother it on toast, muffins or biscuits. I personally like to mix it with cream cheese on bagels. It makes a great filling for tarts or have a little with vanilla ice cream.