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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Holidays & Occasions

RECIPE: Pear Cème Fraîche Ice Cream

Pear is a popular fall flavor. Pear sorbet is one of our favorite seasonal treats.

But you can also churn pears into ice cream, as we discovered in this recipe by Samantha Seeley, who blogs on food from her home in that great food mecca, Hudson Valley, New York. She contributed the recipe to the delicious recipe files on VermontCreamery.com.

Make a double batch, because the single quart doesn’t last very long!

Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes. With freezing, total time is 6 hours, 45 minutes. You can see the recipe with full photos at Sweet-Remedy.com.

RECIPE: PEAR CRÈME FRAÎCHE ICE CREAM

Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 3 ripe pears
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 container (8 ounce) Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche*
  • 1 cup maple glazed pecans
  •  
    *You can add vanilla extract to regular crème fraîche.

       

    pear-creme-fraiche-ice-cream-sweetremedy-vtcreamery-230

    Calling all ice cream gourmets: Make Pear Crème Fraîche Ice Cream. Photo courtesy Sweet Remedy | Vermont Creamery.

     

     

    madagascar-vanilla-creme-fraiche-vtcreamery-230

    Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche: We love it! Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    Preparation

    1. WASH, peel and chop the pears. Combine the pears and the arrowroot or cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the water and place over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, while stirring. The mixture will thicken up. Refrigerate until you are ready to churn the ice cream mixture.

    2. BEAT the milk and eggs together in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger and cook over medium-low heat. Constantly stir with a wooden spoon until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat. Once cooled, add the heavy cream and place plastic wrap directly on the top of the mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours or longer.

    3. CHURN the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churning is complete, add the crème fraîche to the ice cream, it will resemble soft serve. Mix in the pear mixture and maple glazed pecans recipe. Transfer to a container with a lid that is suitable for freezing. Freeze until frozen through, usually about 3-4 hours.

     

    HOW TO PICK A PEAR

    Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears are varieties that can be eaten raw or cooked. Other varieties, such as Forelle and Seckel, are better eaten raw.

    Pears are one of the few fruits that are much better when they’re picked before they ripen. Pears ripen from the inside out, so as soon as the stem end has a slight give to it when gently pressed, the fruit is ripe. Don’t wait for the midsection to be soft.

    Buy firm pears and place them in a paper bag to ripen if you need them in a day or so. Placing a banana or an apple in the bag speed up ripening (here’s why).

     
    WHAT IS CRÈME FRAÎCHE?

    Crème fraîche (pronounced crem fresh, French for “fresh cream”) is a thickened cream. It’s not as thick as sour cream, but more of the consistency of yogurt, which is an appropriate analogy because it is slightly soured with bacterial culture. Originally from Normandy, the dairy heartland of France, today it is used extensively in Continental and American fine cuisine.

    Sour cream, which is more accessible and less expensive, can be substituted in most recipes; but crème fraîche has advantages: it can be whipped, and it will not curdle when cooked over high heat. In addition, it is usually a bit lighter in body than commercial sour creams, more subtly sour, and overall more elegant.

    Crème fraîche is made by inoculating unpasteurized heavy cream with Lactobacillus cultures, letting the bacteria grow until the cream is both soured and thick and then pasteurizing it to stop the process. Thus, authentic crème fraîche cannot be made at home because generally, only pasteurized cream is available to consumers. To add Lactobacillus to pasteurized cream will cause it to spoil instead of sour.

    The only negative to crème fraîche is that it’s pricey. You can make your own with far less expense with this crème fraîche recipe.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Harney Tea In Holiday Flavors

    For Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts, there are seasonal flavors and boxed gift sets for the tea lover. Among the finest are these, from Harney & Sons, include:

  • Cranberry Autumn, flavored black tea is a full-bodied brew, sweet and tart with dried cranberries and orange peel.
  • Pomegranate Oolong, bright, floral. Just open the tin and the juicy aroma of pomegranate wafts up to you.
  • Pumpkin Spice, caffeine-free rooibos (red) tea, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and natural pumpkin flavor
  •  
    There’s also a Holiday Tea Blend, a black tea spiced with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. It’s available on tea bags and loose teas. A reusable gift tin of 20 silky tea sachets is $8.67 on Amazon.

    White Christmas Tea
    is a white tea with holiday aromas and flavors: nut aromas from almonds, spice from cardamom and sweet creaminess from vanilla.

    For Hanukkah, there’s a Celebration Tea gift set. The tea has traditional English flavors of fruits and nuts, and is packaged with caramels from Torn Ranch, mini Star Shortbreads from Walker’s, Chocolate Coins from Lake Champlain Chocolates and a Delphine Jacquard tea towel. All food products are certified kosher.

     

    harney-holiday-tea-kaminsky-230

    Holiday tea gift box from Harney & Sons. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Teas can be purchased in individual tins or in gift sets, with lovely packaging. Discover more holiday selections at Harney.com.
     
    BECOME A TEA GEEK

    For anyone who loves tea and wants to learn more about it, we recommend The Harney & Sons Guide To Tea. It’s informative, meant for consumers (as opposed to tea industry professionals), and is full of “Wow, I’m glad to know that” information.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Coffee

    Green-Mountain-Coffee-Pumpkin-Spice-Bags-Kcups-230

    Pick up some seasonal coffee in bags or K-Cups. Photo courtesy Green Mountain Coffee.

     

    We typically take advantage of the holiday blend coffees to switch up our caffeine consumption. In past years, it was always a bag of ground coffee, and we’d make a whole pot, whether or not others wanted to participate.

    But now, with the proliferation of Keurig single-cup brewers and other brands that use K-Cups, it’s easier to enjoy a quick cup.

    It’s time to bring on the holiday K-cups. You can find these limited edition coffees at retailers and online. Here’s a selection of coffees for the holiday season:
     
    Barrie House Pumpkin Spice K Cups

    Arabica beans are blended with the spicy flavor of holiday pumpkin pie. More information.
     
    Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Favor K Cups

    Grab a seasonal donut when you pick up a box of these! More information.

     
    Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice

    Green Mountain’s medium roast coffee is infused with flavors of cinnamon, pumpkin and nutmeg. More information.

    Get the ground coffee in bags.
     
    Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend K Cups

    Starbucks doesn’t have a pumpkin-flavored coffee, but produces a Thanksgiving Blend they describe as a “rich fall brew [that] features herbal notes with Sumatran beans and elegant soft spice from the coffee of Guatemala’s Antigua region. You’ll find it pairs well with the entire Thanksgiving meal, from savory turkey to sweet pumpkin pie.” It’s certified OU kosher. More information.
     
    Seasonal Sampler

    You can get a 30-count K-Cup assortment of holiday and winter cappuccino, chai, cider, coffee and tea from different brewers. Check out the Brewers Variety Pack Sampler with K-Cups from Brooklyn Beans, Crazy Cups, Green Mountain, Grove Square, Twinings and others.
     
    Consider holiday K-Cups as a gift for your favorite Keurig owner.
     
    FOR TEA DRINKERS

    Take a look at Harney & Sons for delicious holiday teas and gift sets.

    There are also two good candidates that are enjoyed year-round, but have notes of holiday spices:

  • Constant Comment, a very popular brand that is blended with sweet spices and orange peel
  • Masala chai, the generic term for Indian spiced tea, which is usually shortened to “chai” in the U.S.
  •  
    We think we’ll make a cup right now.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Sugar

    You can buy Christmas sugar cubes decorated with tiny candy canes, gingerbread men, reindeer and snowmen.

    Or, you can serve something more subtle in appearance and sophisticated in flavor: a bowl of spiced vanilla sugar. You can make it or buy it.

    To buy it, head over to Silk Road Spices, where handmade vanilla sugar* is blended with allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg.

    In addition to sweetening drinks, you can sprinkle it on cereal, plain yogurt or toast. Try it in whipped cream, too.

    For $7.99, give jars as stocking stuffers.

    To make your own, try the recipe below. It takes only five minutes to blend the ingredients, but you’ll need to wait 48 hours for drying.

    The sugar will keep for several weeks in an airtight container. Since the recipe makes four cups, you can share it with friends.

     

    spiced_vanilla-sugar-silkroadspices.ca-230

    Spice up your sugar for the holidays. Photo courtesy Silk Road Spices.

     
    RECIPE: SPICED VANILLA SUGAR

    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 20 whole cardamom pod
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups fine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all of the spices in a cast iron pan. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the aroma fills the air. Remove spices from pan just as they start to crackle. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind the spices roughly.

    2. PLACE the sugar in a large bowl and sprinkle the vanilla over it. Stir thoroughly; the sugar will turn a light brown color.

    3. MIX the spices with the vanilla sugar. Leave the bowl uncovered overnight to dry. The next day, break it up until it returns to granulated form (you can pulse it in a food processor or spice grinder).

    4. COVER the sugar bowl and let it rest overnight. The following day, sieve through a mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container.
     
    *You can make regular vanilla sugar by placing a vanilla bean in an airtight container of sugar. Try a turbinado sugar like Sugar In The Raw for a more aesthetic effect. Or, purchase it from premium sugar companies like Nielsen-Massey.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Turkey Shaped Whoopie Pies

    turkey-whoopie-pies-cranberryislandkitchen-230

    Seasonal whoopies in the shape of turkeys, plus pumpkins and leaves (not shown). Photo courtesy Cranberry Island Kitchen.

     

    These gourmet whoopie pies are a rich, full-bodied pumpkin cake. The selection includes both vanilla cream cheese filling and maple cream cheese filling.

    They’re also made in pumpkin shapes and maple leaf shapes; then individually shrink-wrapped to preserve freshness.

  • 12 whoopies are $43.95; $44.95 in a gift box with gift card
  • 24 whoopies are $74.95; $76.95 in a gift box with gift card
  • 36 whoopies are $109.95; $115.95 in a gift box with gift card
  •  
    They can be eaten at room temperature or straight from the fridge, and they freeze beautifully.

    Get yours at CranberryIslandKitchen.com:

  • Fall Sampler of pumpkin whoopies and leaf whoopies
  • Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
  • Thanksgiving Sampler of turkeys, pumpkins and leaves
  • Turkey Whoopie Pies
  •  
    WHOOPIE PIE HISTORY

    The whoopie pie is Maine’s Official State Dessert, but the now-defunct Berwick’s Bakery in Boston (1898-1977) may have been the origin: A retired employee said that the company first started to bake whoopie pies in 1926, earlier than any other reference.

    But Lancaster, Pennsylvania claims to be the originator, with an anecdotal story that the recipe originated with an [unknown] Amish housewife. As the story goes, when Amish husbands and children would find the baked treats in their lunch bags, they would shout “Whoopie!”

    The whoopie pie is actually a sandwich cookie: two round, mound-shaped pieces of devil’s food chocolate cake with vanilla frosting in-between. The recipe first appears in cookbooks during the Depression, in recipe collections from several states.

    As the story is variously told, Amish housewives would bake these treats and put them in their farmer husbands’ (or children’s) lunch boxes. When the lucky recipients would discover what was for dessert, they would shout “whoopie!”

    Today there are dozens of flavors of cakes and fillings. There’s nothing left to do but take a bite.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Fudge

    Here’s something special to make for work colleagues, friends, family and Thanksgiving hosts: Pumpkin Spice Fudge.

    It’s an easy recipe from Nestlé. In fact, you can let kids old enough to work with hot liquids make it as their contribution. Prep time is 10 minutes, cooking time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE FUDGE

    Ingredients For 48 Pieces (About 3 Pounds)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (5 fluid ounces can) evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)*
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice†
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) white chocolate chips
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •    

    pumpkin-spiced-fudge-nestle-230

    Pumpkin Spice Fudge. Photo and recipe courtesy Nestlé.

     
    *Pumpkin pie filling has spices blended in. Pumpkin purée is not seasoned; the appropriate spices are added separately as the recipe requires.
     
    †Pumpkin pie spice is simply a blend of the traditional spices that go into pumpkin pie. If you don’t want to buy a pre-mixed container, it’s easy to make your own. Combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

     

    carnation-evaporated-milk-230

    First marketed in 1857 as a safe milk drinking option, evaporated milk and its sibling, sweetened condensed milk, have become an asset in cooking as well. Photo and recipe courtesy Nestlé.

     

    Preparation

    1. LINE 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, letting the foil drape over two ends of the pan to serve as handles.

    2. COMBINE the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 234°F to 240°F (soft-ball stage).

    3. QUICKLY STIR in the chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until the chips are melted. Immediately pour into the prepared pan.

    4. COOL on a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate the pan, tightly covered. When ready to serve…

    5. LIFT the fudge from pan using the foil handles; remove the foil. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

     

    WHAT IS EVAPORATED MILK?

    Evaporated milk, also known as dehydrated milk, is a shelf-stable canned milk product. Approximately 60% of the water is removed from fresh milk.

    Prior to the 19th century and refrigeration, milk was highly perishable. In the summer heat, it spoiled in a matter of hours. In addition, there were sanitation problems: Milk straight from the cow was contaminated harmful with bacteria.

    Gail Borden conceived of a shelf stable canned milk product in 1852. His first condensed milk product, launched in 1854, lasted three days without souring. Borden was granted a patent for sweetened condensed milk in 1854. Commercial production began in 1857.

    In Borden’s early product, sugar was added to inhibit bacterial growth. Competitors perfected the technique of sterilizing the product to vastly improve shelf life. Today, evaporated milk has no added sugar; a separate product, sweetened condensed milk, is evaporated milk that contains sugar. [Source]

    While not a hit right out of the gate, evaporated milk soon became popular as a safe and reliable substitute for fresh milk. It could be shipped easily to locations lacking the safe dairy production and/or refrigerated storage.

    The Florida Keys were an example of a hot and remote area that had no dairying. Evaporated milk made it possible for residents to finally enjoy milk in coffee and in cooking. Key Lime Pie, initially made with evaporated milk and now with sweetened condensed milk, is a legacy of Mr. Borden’s vision.

    The shelf life of canned evaporated milk will vary from months to years, depending on the sugar content and its proportion of fat. Carnation Brand makes evaporated milk from whole milk, nonfat milk and 2% milk.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Turkey Cupcakes

    You can find lots of turkey cupcake photos in Google, but these are the combination of easiest and best looking for the home baker to whip up.

    If you have kids (or adults) who don’t like pumpkin pie—or if you want to bring a memorable house gift—bring two dozen of these! If you’re looking for a kids’ project, ditto: Give them frosted cupcakes and let them do the decorating.

    You can bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe from scratch, use a cake mix, or in a pinch, purchase plain chocolate cupcakes. You can buy frosting or make your own.

    While we enjoy the convenience of a cake mix—which is simply saves you the time of measuring and mixing the ingredients—we’re much fussier about homemade frosting. Most canned chocolate frosting tastes…canned. Here’s our recipe for homemade chocolate buttercream frrosting.

     
    RECIPE: THANKSGIVING TURKEY CUPCAKES

    Ingredients for 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  •    

    turkey-cupcakes-sixsistersstuff-230

    Gobble up this gobbler. Photo and recipe © SixSistersStuff.com.

  • 16 ounce can chocolate frosting (or your favorite homemade chocolate frosting)
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate sprinkles
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • 48 Wilton candy eyeballs (found at major grocery stores, baking supply stores or online)
  • Red frosting or strips of red fruit leather
  • Variation: 24 large malted milk balls for heads
  •  

    candy-eyes-1-8-inch-confectionaryhouseAMZ-230

    Candy eyes come in different sizes and colors. For this recipe you want the smallest size like these, which are 7/16″ in diameter. You can buy them online. Photo courtesy Confectionary House.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the cake mix according to package directions to make 24 cupcakes. Bake and let cool completely. Frost each cupcake with chocolate frosting.

    2. HOLD each cupcake upside down and dip into the chocolate sprinkles. For feathers, push five pieces of candy corn upside down into the top of the cupcake.

    3. ADD two candy eyeballs and push a candy corn into the cupcake for a beak.

    4. PIPE some red frosting next to the candy corn beak, or adhere a strip of red fruit leather.
     
    VARIATION: Use malted milk balls as the head; press into the cupcake. Affix the candy eyeballs with frosting, and pipe a small amount of yellow frosting, and a small amount of red next to it, as the beak and the wattle.
     
    Here’s the original recipe plus a video of the preparation. Find more delicious recipes at SixSistersStuff.com.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICING & FROSTING

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners’ sugar (also called icing sugar or 10x sugar), while frosting is made with granulated sugar (table sugar).

    Because most people don’t understand this difference, the two words are often used interchangeably.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cranberry Orange Margarita For Thanksgiving & Christmas

    If you crowd prefers Margaritas to other cocktails, that’s no surprise—the Margarita has been America’s favorite cocktail for some time (source: The Beverage Information Group).

    For the holiday season, Sauza Tequila tweaked the recipe to create a holiday version: Cranberry Orange Margarita. Since Margaritas already include orange liqueur, they substituted cranberry juice for the lime juice and voilà!

    Sauza made the recipe with Sauza Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila. You can use any silver (also called blanco [white] or plata [which means silver]) tequila. For reference, here are the different types of tequila).

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY ORANGE MARGARITA

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts silver tequila
  • ½ part Cointreau, triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 4 parts cranberry juice
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 large oranges
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  •  

    Cranberry Orange Margarita-sauza-230

    A Margarita for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Photo courtesy Sauza Tequila.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the garnishes: Freeze the cranberries. Using a channel knife (you can buy a combination channel knife and zester), cut a long spiral from one orange (try to do it in a single strip, all around the orange). Cut the peel strips into strips that are 6 inches long. Twist the peels around a bar spoon (or other slender spoon) and reserve for later.

    2. ZEST the other orange with a zester or spice grater to remove just the peel (none of the pith) and combine with sugar.

    3. CUT the zested orange into wedges. Rub a wedge of orange around the rim of the glass. Roll the glass through the sugared orange zest.

    4. COMBINE the rest of the sugar and orange zest mixture in a shaker with the cranberry juice, orange juice, tequila and orange liqueur. Twist the orange peel over the drink and place in the prepared glass. Top with the frozen cranberries and serve.
     
    MORE ON MARGARITAS

    Check out the history of the Margarita and more Margarita recipes.

    Find more tequila cocktail recipes at SauzaTequila.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cider Cocktails

    Cider cocktails: We don’t get enough of them. It’s our own fault, since we habitually order one of our three favorite cocktails instead of going for the seasonal specialty.

    Eating seasonally means drinking seasonally, too. So from now through the end of holiday season, we’re going to enjoy cocktails with fall and winter ingredients, returning on January 1st, National Bloody Mary Day, to our usual drink of choice.

    Thanks to ONEHOPE Wine for these two sparkling cocktails, made with regular cider and their sparkling wine (you can use any sparkler).
     
    RECIPE: PEAR & SPARKLING CIDER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 8 Cocktails

  • Rim: 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cinnamon, combinedd
  • 2 cups chilled pear nectar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling wine
  • 4 ounces Bourbon
  • Garnish: 1 pear, unpeeled and cored cut into thin slices
    lengthwise
  •    

    Pear and Sparkling Cider-svedka-230

    Pear nectar, apple cider and sparkling wine unite in a seasonal sparkler. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    Preparation

    1. RIM flutes with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

    2. COMBINE pear nectar, apple cider, sparkling wine and Bourbon in a pitcher. Serve immediately, garnished with sliced pear.

     

    Apple Cider Mimosa-svedka-230

    We’re not sure why it’s called a Mimosa (Champagne and orange juice). Think of it as
    a Mimosa for Scotch lovers. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    RECIPE: APPLE CIDER MIMOSA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 ounce Scotch
  • 2 ounces fresh apple cider
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
  • Garnish: apple slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE brown sugar, Scotch and apple cider in a flute.

    2. TOP with sparkling wine and garnish with fresh apple slices.
     

    ABOUT ONEHOPE

    ONEHOPE is a social enterprise that integrates causes into products and services to make a social impact. ONEHOPE Wine, produced in California in partnership with Rob Mondavi, Jr., donates half of its profits to partner causes. Learn more at OneHopeWine.com.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The Best Squash For Pumpkin Pie & Other Pumpkin Desserts

    pumpkin-pie-whole-230

    What’s in your pumpkin pie? Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     

    If your only experience in baking pumpkin pie is “from the can,” you have no idea what kind of pumpkin is inside. In fact, it’s probably not pumpkin, but a different type of squash.

    If you’ve ever tried to scoop the flesh from a big, orange pumpkin and turn it into pie, you probably don’t want to do it again! Wrangling the fibrous pumpkin flesh isn’t easy.

    But there is a solution, known to pumpkin pie bakers: butternut squash. It’s also the “pumpkin” you should ue in pumpkin flan and other pumpkin desserts.

    To prove the superiority, author and cookbook writer Melissa Clark, a popular food writer at The New York Times, tested different squashes to determine for once and for all what the best choice is for a pumpkin pie. She found that butternut squash tied with acorn squash for the best flavor, although butternut delivers better color.

    Butternut squash is very easy to work with; the skin slips right off with a vegetable peeler. Her tasting notes are adapted below. You can read the full article here.

     
    Why not take the easy road and use canned pumpkin? Fresh really does taste fresher and brighter, says Clark.

    She’s done all the heavy lifting (and roasting, and scooping) to prove it.

     

    Acorn Squash: Honeyed, moist, not too fibrous.

    Blue Hubbard Squash: Hard to cut through the rind, granular texture. The flavor was pleasing and delicate, but the flesh wasn’t as sweet as some of the others.

    Butternut Squash: Deep and richly flavored, sweet, with relatively smooth flesh that is easy to purée. THE WINNER!

    Carnival Squash: Neither tender nor sweet not tender.

    Cheese Pumpkin: Unwieldy and heavy to carry home, difficult to through skin, granular and watery flesh. The bright, fresh flavor works for savory dishes but not for pie.

    Delicata Squash: Mild, velvety flesh but not sweet enough for pie.

    Kabocha Squash: Dense and velvety flesh but a vegetal flavor that is terrific for savory dishes.

     

    pumpkins-rowanngilman-230

    What you don’t want to use in pumpkin pie: pumpkin! Photo by Rowann Gilman | THE NIBBLE.

    Sugar Pumpkin (the “pie pumpkin): It’s neither sugary sweet nor very tender, but fibrous and bland tasting. Save them jack-o’-lanterns. (And they have the best seeds for roasting, says Clark).

    Spaghetti Squash: Stringy, watery and not sweet enough for pie.
     

    Check out the different types of squash in our Squash Glossary.

      

    Comments

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