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October 30, 2013 / theyellowbungalowla

pumpkin sacrifice…

pumpkin sacrifice

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d sacrifice a pumpkin.

But this is no ordinary pumpkin. This is a “Porcelain Doll,” a variety of pumpkin that is as delicious as she is beautiful. What’s awesome about “Porcelain Doll” and other exotic edible pumpkins is that you can buy them (or grow them if you’re the owner of a green thumb!) and enjoy their beauty as decor, then bake them until soft and use the flesh in a number of delicious recipes.

You might even have one of these beauties at your house right now, and not even realize the endless possibilities that await.

After you’re finished using your “Porcelain Doll” or other edible pumpkin as decor, give it a bath. Seriously. It’s wise to scrub your pumpkin with some dish soap and an abrasive sponge, being sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, and then give it a good rinse with clean water. The goal is to remove any dirt from the pumpkin patch, or even dust that’s settled on her as she’s gracced your dining room table, entryway, or front porch. Once she’s been washed and dried, she’s ready for the chopping block; except that the chopping block is last place I feel you should take your pumpkin.

The above photo, produced for dramatic effect, perfectly illustrates what could happen if you approach a giant pumpkin (or hard winter squash) with a knife. In my experience, knife + squash = not awesome. And I don’t think I’m alone in this quandary. A good friend called me a couple of years ago to ask what she should do about her prized cleaver that was stuck in the side of a large, sweet pumpkin (heck, it might have been a “Porcelain Doll” for all I know). She had given the pumpkin a nice whack, in hopes of breaking it up use in a recipe, except that the knife had gotten stuck into the tough skin. I had no idea what to tell her, as it seemed a bit dangerous to encourage her to pull it out with all her might. Another way to break down your squash is by the “throwdown method,” as discussed hilariously in the “Spilled Milk” podcast. In one of their first podcasts (the second, to be exact), Molly and Matthew discuss winter squash, including ideas on how to break open a squash by dropping it from a ladder…maybe not the safest (or cleanest) way to separate a pumpkin’s delicious flesh from the tough skin.

pumpkin in oven

Why must pumpkins be so complicated? They’re actually not, as you can just stick the whole thing in the oven. Yep, it’s that easy: use your beautiful pumpkin as fall decor, give it a good wash and quick dry, and throw (actually, place) it in the oven. That’s it. Depending on the size, a larger pumpkin can bake for over an hour but during that time, you can do other things, like read a book and enjoy the sweet smell of pumpkin baking in your oven.

porcelain doll roasted on counter

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

You know it’s done when a knife inserts easily into the flesh (and doesn’t get stuck). After it comes out of the oven, it’s best to let it rest and cool on the counter for another couple of hours. Again, this step doesn’t require much effort on your part either, aside from a little patience. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh and separate from the skin and seeds. It’s smart to give the flesh a spin in your food processor to smooth it out. However, if you’re going to use the pumpkin, say, in a soup that gets pureed, you can skip this step.

And yes, the seeds are delicious when tossed with some olive oil and spices and roasted in the oven until toasty.

Next week I’ll share some ideas of what to do with all that gorgeous pumpkin puree. I hope you have a very happy Halloween!

top of pumpkin

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