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Feed Me Friday: Pumpkin Puree & Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes

by Alison Landolt

Volunteerism runs in the family. My mom is a member of the Pasadena Bay Area Junior Forum, a non-profit women’s volunteer organization committed to providing charitable service to children, youth, senior adults, and people with disabilities. Every year they hold the Pasabilities Festival — a resource fair and pumpkin patch — as their largest fundraising event.

EFHou has been fortunate to attend and connect with the Pasadena community in the last two years. However, the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the event this year. Always creative and persevering, PBAJF set up an outdoor pumpkin patch in October. Ever the dutiful daughter, I bought myself a pumpkin...which then sat on my counter for a month. 

Finally, inspiration hit, and I decided we were making pumpkin puree! I firmly believe that pumpkin season is not over until Thanksgiving is over (and maybe then some). 

Things you will 100 percent need for this recipe: a sharp, heavy-duty knife and a food processor. I started with my blender. It did not work out so well.

Here’s how to make pumpkin puree! Pumpkin cupcake recipe to follow. (I will never know if you decide to use canned.) 

Get a 4-6 pound pumpkin. Wash the outside so it’s nice and clean. Dry it.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Using a sharp knife, carefully carve out the stem like you would if making a jack-o-lantern. Discard.

Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. If it is a larger pumpkin, cut those halves in half again (so you now have quarters).

Scoop out seeds, membranes, and stringy bits using a metal spoon. 

Sprinkle a little sea salt over the flesh.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Grease lightly.

Place pumpkin quarters on baking sheet flesh-side down. 

Roast for 35-45 minutes until fork tender. I would err on the side of softer. It’s easier to puree. 

Allow to cool for 1 hour. (Naptime?!)

Once cooled, peel skin away from the pumpkin flesh. I did this with my fingers. It’s easier than you think. 

Working in batches, puree in a food processor until smooth. Be patient. If very thick and not processing, add one tablespoon of water at a time to help get it moving. 

For reference, my 4.5-pound pumpkin, which I quartered, cooked in about 35 minutes. I worked in 3 batches and ended up with 4 ¼ cups of pumpkin puree. 

Store in the fridge for a week or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

These cupcakes are easy as pie and are perfect for your Thanksgiving celebration! For best results, make one day ahead and store them in the fridge. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Mix the following ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside:

 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking flour

 1 cup white sugar

 1 cup brown sugar

 2 tsp. baking soda

 1 tsp. baking powder

 1 tsp. salt

 2 tsp. Pumpkin spice

Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:

 4 eggs

 ¾ cup of vegetable oil

 ¾ cup milk of choice

 2 tsp. vanilla

 2 cups pumpkin puree

Gradually combine dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix. Pour ¼ cup of batter into lined cupcake tins. Bake for 16-19 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cupcakes. 

Icing, optional

1 (one) 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (softened)

½ cup butter (softened)

1 tsp. Vanilla

¼ cup pure maple syrup (optional)

4 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until combined. Add vanilla and maple syrup. Mix to fully incorporate. Slowly beat in powdered sugar. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.  The cake should be refrigerated.

Alison Landolt is an EFHou cofounder.

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