Pumpkins aren’t simply eye candy. In fact, when prepared accordingly, this delightful squash can work its way seamlessly into many a delicious seasonal treat. And you don’t even have to feel bad about indulging on said treats.
Not only are pumpkins delicious, they’re nutritious. Pumpkin seeds have been attributed to promoting heart health and can boost levels of serotonin, keeping you jolly through the season. When it comes to the bright orange flesh of the pumpkin, this fibrous food is high in potassium and can even act as a substantial immune booster thanks to packing Vitamin C, iron and zinc. On top of that, pumpkins have carotenoids that are said to keep cancer at bay while keeping your skin healthy.
In the spirit of the mighty pumpkin, we’ve compiled a mix of local menu items and DIY recipes we encourage you to indulge upon this season.
Hot Coffee & Cold Gelato: Yes, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are all the rage, but Starbucks isn’t the only way to get your seasonal pumpkin spice fix. You can easily doll up your cup of coffee, espresso or chai crafted at home with the help of some pumpkin spice seasoning, which you can purchase in the spice aisle. Or, you can simply mix up your own seasoning, using a combination of spices you have currently available in your cabinet—primarily cinnamon and nutmeg.
Still, there’s something about sipping on a hand-crafted beverage made by someone other than yourself that makes it feel like more of a well-deserved treat. The espresso bar at Dolce allows you to warm up with a pumpkin spice latte, or even a pumpkin spice chai combination for an added spicy kick. Dolce uses Monin syrup, which adds a light yet rich, flavorful taste to your beverage, without being overwhelming. For those with dairy aversions, Dolce offers both soy and almond milk as alternatives.
For a colder sweet treat, Dolce’s hand-made gelato offerings change with the season. The dynamic lineup currently includes Pumpkin Spice.
221 E. Zaragoza St.
Seasonal Brews: With the return of every fall comes seasonal beers and ciders. Sure there are the big names on the market, but our very own brewery, Pensacola Bay Brewery, has its own seasonal offerings for you to sip on. Although it will only be available for a short time longer (meaning get it before it’s gone) Pensacola Bay Brewery is currently offering their Pumpkin Vanilla Porter for a third season. The taste changes slightly every year as they continue to experiment with the recipe to adjust the flavor and fine-tune the taste. Fans of their Lighthouse Porter will enjoy the additional subtle hints of pumpkin and vanilla in this seasonal variety. This year the brewery crafted 15 barrels and used a whopping 180 pounds of pumpkin.
Pensacola Bay Brewery
225 E. Zaragoza St.
Signature Cocktails: Many bars enjoy taking cocktails to all new levels with the changing of the seasons. Recently, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar rolled out a pumpkin cocktail that is far too fancy and flavorful to pass up. They were nice enough to share the recipe, but you can also just stop in and order one from the bar.
The Smashing Pumpkin
Kyle Wagner-Lau, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar
1 oz Crop Spiced Pumpkin Vodka
1/2 oz Art in the Age SNAP
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Shrub and Co. Wildflower Honey Shrub
1 Egg White
Shake in cocktail with no ice vigorously. Once egg white is frothy, add ice and shake again. Poor in footed Collins glass and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
Old Hickory Whiskey Bar
123 S. Palafox
Bake Up, Bite Down
From the quick and easy roasting of pumpkin seeds to more involved dishes, a little baking can result in delicious pumpkin delicacies in no time. For more involved recipes, we reached out to area chefs who thrive on using local and seasonal ingredients in their restaurants on the regular, and were generous enough to share some of their favorite pumpkin recipes with us, so that we in turn could share with you.
Baked Pumpkin Bread: Each year parents of students at Sacred Heart Cathedral School make pumpkin loaf in bulk for the masses to munch on after completing the Great Pumpkin Run. If you don’t get to indulge this weekend at the 29th Annual Great Pumpkin Run, or even if you do and simply want more, they’ve passed along their signature recipe so that you can make your own at home.
Sacred Heart Cathedral School: Pumpkin Bread
(This recipe makes two loaves of bread)
3 cups flour
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Set it aside.
In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs and water.
Combine the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Mix just until moistened.
Fold in the nuts.
Pour into two greased 9 inch x 5 inch x 3 inch loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until you can see the edges pulling away from the pan. Do not bake in the microwave. Remove from the pan and cool completely.
Canned pumpkin equivalents:
15 ounce can = 1 3/4 cups pumpkin
29 ounce can = 3 1/2 cups pumpkin
Pumpkin Orange Muffins: If you are looking for a sweet and savory treat with a local touch, look no further than Pumpkin Orange Muffins. The best part about these muffins is that two key ingredients can be purchased from The Bodacious Olive. Their Pumpkin Spice Balsamic Vinegar can be combined with their Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) to make for these seasonally infused muffins.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon Bodacious Olive Blood Orange EVOO
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup low fat milk
2 1/2 teaspoons Bodacious Olive Pumpkin Spice Balsamic
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pecans, broken into pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda, salt and the four spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger).
Pour the 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon of blood orange EVOO into a measuring cup. Instead of greasing your pans with butter, dip a brush into the oil and coat the insides of your muffin pans. Save the rest of the EVOO for the recipe.
Make your “pumpkin buttermilk” by adding 2 1/2 teaspoons of the pumpkin spice balsamic into the 3/4 cup of milk. Set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the remaining EVOO, sugar, molasses, and one of the eggs. Whisk together well. Add the second egg and whisk again. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix all ingredients well.
In two batches, stir in the flour mixture alternating with the “pumpkin buttermilk,” just until combined.
Pour the batter into the EVOO-oiled muffin cups to about 3/4 full. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to set the batter and remove any air bubbles. Sprinkle the pecan pieces on the top of each muffin.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the insides of each muffin cup and remove them carefully.
Enjoy them warm or at room temperature. If kept in an airtight container they will keep in the fridge for about 3 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Makes 12 Muffins.
The Bodacious Olive
407-D S. Palafox
Pumpkin-Ginger Pepper Jelly
MariCarmen Josephs, Carmen’s Lunch Bar
“My pepper jelly recipe was inspired by a pumpkin jelly that I picked up at a market in Italy a few years back. It is sweet and spicy and pairs wonderfully with goat cheese and crackers.”
3 cups grated sugar pie pumpkin
1 1/4 cups white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Cointreau Liquor or other orange liquor
5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup chopped fresh jalapeno or Serrano peppers
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 package liquid Certo gelatin
Combine all ingredients except the Certo gelatin in a large stockpot. (Make sure to use a large pot as it will bubble up high very quickly.) Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Remove from heat and stir in liquid Certo. Bring back to a boil and cook for just 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour mixture evenly into 4 sterilized 12-ounce jars. Let the jelly cool completely, then close and refrigerate. (I simply refrigerate the jelly and use it within a month. If you want to keep it longer or make it for a gift, you will need to properly sterilize and seal the jars according to jarring methods.)
Carmen’s Lunch Bar
407-B S. Palafox
Maple-Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Kiley Bolster, The Magnolia
8 cups day-old French bread, cut into small cubes (if you don’t have day old bread, simply chop the fresh bread into cubes then toss in the oven at 200 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until the bread feels dried out and a little crispy- not toasted)
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup Bourbon (Kiley prefers Maker’s Mark. You could ask her brother, Patrick, at 5 1/2 for his recommendation)
1/3 cup Shipyard Pumpkinhead Beer
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup Bourbon
Butter a 13 inch x 9 inch baking dish. Spread bread cubes evenly into baking dish, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add half-and-half, bourbon, beer, pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and spices. Whisk everything together. Pour custard over bread cubes into baking dish. Press bread cubes into the custard mixture. Let stand 30 minutes to let the custard really soak into the bread.
While bread is soaking up custard, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bread pudding 45 minutes or until top is golden brown
While bread pudding bakes, drink the leftover Shipyard Pumpkinhead Beer while you start the Bourbon Sauce. In a 2 quart saucepan, stir together milk and whipping cream. Add vanilla. Heat until just simmering over low heat. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks, maple syrup and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with a whisk. Slowly pour warm milk mixture into egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until sauce begins to thicken. Strain sauce with a fine mesh strainer into a small heatproof container or bowl. Stir in bourbon. Refrigerate until serving.
To serve: Cut desired piece of bread pudding, pour Bourbon Sauce generously over top. Enjoy (with a glass of Bourbon!)
Commence food and booze coma.
2907 E. Cervantes St.