Friday, November 16, 2012

Pumpkin Butter

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 I have pumpkin for days over here. We bought 5 pumpkins when they were on sale for Halloween and then the kids brought home one each from school, that was donated by a local farmer. At first I was excited by all the pumpkin baking and cooking possibilities. I cut up 3 of the pumpkins, roasted the seeds as well as the flesh and then pureed the pumpkin to use in my recipes. I used some for Carla Hall's Pumpkin Chocolate Cake (which was amazing!). Then I used 2 cups for some pumpkin whoopie pies that I brought to this month's PTO meeting (recipe to be posted soon) but still had 3 1/2 cups left over. What to do, what to do?
   I had recently heard about pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and they really peaked my interest. But if you don't know by now, I really enjoy a chewy cookie. And baked goods made with pumpkin always end up more cakey than chewy. So, I was on a hunt. I found a few recipes that looked promising, but there was one that really stood out. The only catch was that they didn't call for just pumpkin puree. No, they called for pumpkin butter.
   That was all it took. My remaining pumpkin puree (that I have made already - remember I still have 4 pumpkins left) was destined for pumpkin butter. I did a little research online and found that all pumpkin butter consists of is sugar, pumpkin, spices and liquid. Easy peasy. 

Here's what I did.
3 1/2 cups of homemade pumpkin puree went into a pot with 1/2 cup of white sugar,

and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar.

Then I added 1 cup of 100% apple juice,

1 Tbsp of pumpkin pie spice (which is something that I never used to have on hand, but the pumpkin cake I made called for it in both the cake and the filling, so I went out and bought a jar.)

It all got stirred together and cooked over medium heat.

It was at this point that I tasted the mixture and decided it could benefit from a dash of salt. (Maybe 1/4 tsp?)

When the mixture came up to a boil I turned down the heat to low and put a splatter screen on top. This mixture is thick, and it can really spit at you when it's bubbling. Be careful! 

Stir it frequently, and cook for about 30 minutes and this is what you end up with. It's dark in color and thick enough that you can easily push it aside to see the bottom of the pot.

I put two cups of the pumpkin butter into jars. (I read that pumpkin butter is not safe for canning - although I can't imagine why - so keep it in the fridge.) 

 I took this shot because I wanted you to see the pretty and twisted stem on the pumpkin on the left. (I wanted to say "pretty twisted" but I didn't think that would convey the same meaning I was shooting for.) Isn't nature beautiful? OK tangent over.

It really sets up nice and thick. (This is the nearly 2 cups I had left over after I jarred the first 2 cups.)

This is what you really want to see. It spreads so nicely onto toast, muffins or any bread product. I'm sure it would also be a good topping for cheesecake and ice cream. It tastes like pumpkin pie, so you could put it on almost anything and my son would eat it. ;) Me - I'm going to make those cookies. (Blog post soon to follow.)
Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Butter

3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 cup 100% apple juice
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pot and cook over medium heat until boiling. Turn down the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 30 minutes. It will darken in color and become more jam-like. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Makes about 5 cups.

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