Pumpkin Pecan Butter (From Scratch)
This recipe should be called “Misadventures in Pumpkinry.” I’m bitter right now… I don’t mean to dissuade anyone from attempting to cook with pumpkins. They are a beautiful, healthful, awesome vegetable (fruit?) and I ended up with a fabulous finished product.
Just be warned that I had to try a few different tactics in order to get the pulp of this pumpkin to a use-able state. What can I say? It was trial-and-error. And in the end… the canned pumpkin you buy at the grocery store imparts just as much flavor in .0000006% of the time!
Let’s get started shall we?
Grab a small pie pumpkin. The one I’m using is a less-common variety called a Cinderella pumpkin. I was told it was also a good choice for baking. Jury’s still out on that. I guess I’d have to try it with a pie pumpkin to actually know.
You’ll also need a handfull of pecans, some softened butter (one stick is enough), pure maple syrup, 1/4 C brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
Preheat your oven to 375.
Then just plop that pumpkin onto a baking sheet and let it sit in the oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
That’s a long time.
Long enough for your butter to soften. So go ahead and get that process started.
Then grab a chopper or a mini-food processor and scoop in most of the pecans. (If you’re making Pumpkin Pecan Butter Bars… reserve a few pecans to chop roughly for the topping.)
Grind these pretty finely… like so.
And in a separate bowl… combine the ground nuts, the cinnamon, the brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. (If this doesn’t look like a whole 1/4 cup of brown sugar, that’s because it isn’t. I added more later and it totaled around 1/4 cup when all was said and done. So that’s how I wrote the recipe for ya!)
After you’ve taken a nice break and the pumpkin is ready to come out of the oven… get it out!
It may look inconspicuous… but it has been steaming from within!
Grab a huge knife and cut into the pumpkin, making large wedges.
Now, depending on how large your pumpkin is… it may or may not be totally soft at this point. Mine was not 🙂
So I moved on to Plan B.
Scoop out the seeds and strings…
Then brush the wedges with melted butter and stick the pumpkin back into the oven for another 20-25 minutes!
Here’s what it looked like after Plan B.
So I moved on to Plan C.
Cut the wedges into more wedges.
Cut away the rind, making sure to remove all the tough parts.
Then cut the wedges into cubes!
Throw the pumpkin cubes into a microwave-safe dish and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
And microwave on high for 5-7 minutes!
Whew!! All this work just to get it to a mash-able state. But I think we’re finally there.
Pulse in a food-processor (in as many batches as necessary) until you have a nice puree of pumpkin. Just like the kind you buy in the can! Except exponentially more trouble.
Yep! Looks good!
Transfer it to a mixing bowl and pour in 1/4 C. maple syrup!
Then add in all those other delicious things! Ground pecans, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar…
You can adjust the brown sugar level to your taste. I started off with only a few tablespoons and decided I needed much MUCH more. 🙂
And lastly… the Crowning Glory.
Mash in the softened butter. Anywhere from 6 tablespoons to 1 stick and a half, depending on your preference and the size of your pumpkin. This is about 6 tablespoons.
Scoop it into a tupperware container or Mason jar. This spread is delicious on rolls, on toast, on biscuits… anything you’d consider putting apple butter on would probably be delicious with pumpkin butter!
Moral of the story for me?
Cooking a pumpkin from scratch is possible.
It’s probably the way Laura Ingalls Wilder did it. Heck, its probably the way Noah did it. But does it taste better? I’m going with, “Nah.”
Is it cheaper? Nah? More time-efficient? Nah.
More interesting? Definitely.