Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake Parfait

Sometimes you need to have a recipe like this that you can whip up fast. This is a lovely fall-like twist on a pumpkin cheesecake except it’s no-cook and a lot more chiffon-like. The recipe belongs to “The Midnight Baker”

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Serves: 4

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pkg (size that serves 4) vanilla instant pudding
1/2 cup milk/cream/half and half, divided
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
8 oz (1 regular tub) whipped topping
chopped pecans for garnish
Store bought caramel sauce for drizzle

The instant pudding mix is used dry–DO NOT MAKE PER PACKAGE DIRECTIONS
Beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup of the milk/cream in a large bowl until it’s smooth and silky
Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, the remaining milk and the dry pudding mix
Beat for 1 minute
Fold in the whipped topping
Divide evenly into small dessert dishes
Garnish with chopped pecans and drizzle with caramel sauce

Roast pumpkin with cream, thyme and parmesan

It doesn’t come much better than this! Make sure you serve this as an appetizer with lots of crusty bread for dipping.

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3 1/2 lb pumpkin,like a Hubbard
11 fl oz heavy double cream
5 fl oz whole milk
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp thyme leaves
2/3 cup grated parmesan

Heat the oven to 300F.
Cut the lid off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strands. Put the pumpkin on a baking tray. Meanwhile, heat the cream, milk, garlic and most of the thyme, with plenty of seasoning. When hot, pour into the pumpkin and stir in 2oz of the Parmesan. Put on the lid.
Bake for 1½ hrs, take from the oven, then turn up the heat to 400F.
Remove the lid, sprinkle with pepper and the rest of the cheese, then bake for 15 mins more until golden.
Scatter over the remaining thyme leaves. Scoop the tender pumpkin flesh into bowls with the cheesy cream and serve with crusty bread as a starter.

Stuffed pumpkin filled with “everything good”

You can do more with a good quality pumpkin than carve it and stick a candle in it — you can also stuff it, bake it and eat it all up.

That’s what cookbook author Dorie Greenspan suggests in her new cookbook,  “Around My French Table”. Greenspan says she loves her recipe “Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good” because it has “almost no rules.”

“So you can play with it. You can change the filling a million different ways, once I used some leftover cooked rice in place of the bread. It became almost like risotto. You can put in nuts, you can put in apples … you can put in chestnuts.”

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Makes 2 very generous servings but can be augmented to serve more

1 pumpkin, like a Hubbard, about 3 lbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 lb stale bread, sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 lb cheese, such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2–4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin.
** If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot — which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky.

Using a very sturdy knife — and caution — cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween jack-o’-lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle.
You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin.

Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper — you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure — and pack the mix into the pumpkin.
The pumpkin should be well filled — you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it.
Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little — you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (But it’s hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours — check after 90 minutes — or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully — it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly — bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

When serving
You have choices: you can cut wedges of the pumpkin and filling; you can spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful; or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls or wedges, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Pumpkin banana mousse tart

This is delectable and well worth trying, especially for Thanksgiving. Thanks to Ina Garten for this gorgeous and easy recipePumpkin banana mousse tart

For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 ripe banana, finely mashed
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
For the decoration:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Orange zest, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.

Butternut squash curry with garbanzo beans (chickpeas)


I am a curry freak, but don’t always want a meat curry. This is such a fabulous vegetarian alternative that you will cook many times.

Serves 4
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste     (I buy this brand on Amazon.com and it lasts for months in the fridge. Actually, I have a red, green and yellow curry from the same brand.)  You can also use 3 tbsp of the curry paste if you like really spicy. It’s worth playing around with it.


2 onions, finely chopped
3 large stalks lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife
6 green cardamon pods
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 piece of butternut squash,peeled and cubed in 3/4″ inch pieces, weighing about 2lbs
8 fluid ounces vegetable or chicken stock
15 fl oz can coconut milk
15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 large limes
A large handful fresh mint
naan bread or steamed rice , to serve

Heat the oil in a saute pan, then gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamon pods and mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
Stir in the butternut squash and coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk.
Bring everything to a simmer, add the chick peas, then cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender.
The curry can now be cooled and frozen for up to 1 month.
Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve alongside.
Just before serving, tear the mint leaves up, then bring to the table with the lime wedges and rice or warmed naan breads.


Easy pumpkin pie fudge

This recipe is from the food blogger “tasteandtellblog.com” and I want to share it as is, no tweaking.
Such a great idea to get that  concentrated pumpkin pie blast of flavor in a small bite.

Yields 48 pieces

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
12 oz white chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 tsp really good vanilla essence

Line an 8” by 8” baking dish with non stick aluminum foil.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Heat over medium heat.
Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 12 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Stir in the vanilla.
Pour into the prepared pan and chill until set.
Cut into squares.


Pumpkin stuffed with Fontina, Italian sausage and macaroni cheese

This is a recipe from a book I purchased recently called ‘Melt” based around different macaroni and cheese recipes. It’s terrific and this is a real winner.

Serves 4

1 sugar pumpkin or other sweet variety (not a carving pumpkin), about 5 lbs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb mild Italian pork sausage, skins removed
4 oz elbow macaroni
5 oz fontina cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 oz gruyere cheese, cut into 1/4 inch  cubes
4 scallions, diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F

Cut out a circle from the top of the pumpkin – the way you would to make a jack-o’-lantern  and set aside.
Scoop out the seeds and strings as best as you can. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin, pop the top back on it, place it on a rimmed baking dish (since the pumpkin may leak or weep) and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
Crumble the sausage into small chunks and cook until lightly browned.
Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Discard the drippings or save for the gravy.
Also while the pumpkin bakes, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente.
Drain through a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
In a bowl, toss together the fontina, gruyere, sausage, pasta, scallions and herbs.
When the pumpkin is done baking, take it out of the oven and fill it with the macaroni and cheese mixture.
Pour the cream over the filling.
Place the top back on the pumpkin and bake for 1 hour, taking the top off for the last 15 minutes of cooking so the cheese on top of the filling can get properly brown.
If the top cream still seems a bit too wobbly, give it another 10 mins in the oven.
The cream may bubble over a bit, which is fine. If the pumpkin splits while baking, as occasionally happens, be thankful you set it in a rimmed baking dish and continue to bake!
Allow the pumpkin to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Be careful moving the dish, as the pumpkin may be fragile. 
You can serve this dish two ways;
Cut it into individual servings or just scoop out the insides, including some of the
pumpkin flesh for each serving. 
Season to taste and enjoy!

Thai Pumpkin soup

3 1/2 lb winter squash, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 lemongrass, bashed a bit
3 – 4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
14 or 15 oz can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
fresh lime juice and sugar for seasoning
1 red chile, sliced, to serve

Heat the oven to 400 F

Toss the winter squash  in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning, then roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass.
Gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes until softened.
Stir in the curry paste for 1 minute, followed by the roasted squash, all but 3 tbsp of coconut milk and the stock.
Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes, then fish out the lemongrass.
Cool for a few minutes, then whizz until smooth in the blender.
Return to the pan to heat through, seasoning with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar, if it needs it.

Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chile, if you like

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese!

Lovely for the Fall or Winter!

12 oz box of Macaroni pasta
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1&1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder (I use Colmans)
1 heaped tsp dried sage
6 to 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated. (I grate my own from a block of good quality cheddar, because that commercial pre-grated stuff is so full of additives that it doesn’t melt properly. Isn’t that gross!)
Pumpkin pie spice is nice sprinkled on the top

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan, salt it and put the macaroni in. Cook according to the package instructions, drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir, cooking gently for about 1 minute.
Add the milk and whisk together to avoid clumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking all the time till the sauce starts to thicken.
Add in the pumpkin, salt, pepper, mustard powder, nutmeg and sage.
Stir together.
Add in the cheese and stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce and combined.
Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir together until the macaroni is coated.
Sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice over each serving and enjoy!!

Pumpkin sausage meat muffins with cranberry glaze

These are so cute and easy!
Makes 12 muffins.

1 cup finely chopped onion
8oz mushrooms, chopped finely
3 cloves minced garlic
1lb pork sausage meat (I used Sweet Italian sausagemeat)
1 cup pumpkin puree, either canned or homemade from roasted butternut squash
1 egg
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp each minced thyme, sage and rosemary
Freshly ground pepper and salt
1 tbsp Worcester sauce

1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
grated zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a standard 12 cup muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.

In a non stick skillet over medium heat, cook the onions until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more, until vegetables are tender. Add to a bowl with the sausage meat, pumpkin, egg, oats,sage,rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper.
Toss gently to combine. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin tin. Place in the oven, bake for about 20 minutes.

Combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon onto the meatloaf muffins and bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.