Be Pumpkin ready12:32 PM
Many regions of the Northern emisphere are seeing a change of season, and are falling into my favourite of all : Fall. The season I actually feel robbed off here in India and miss a lot. It is that time of the year that sees less long days but not yet too short, cooler yet not cold temperatures, and an amazing display of colours as the trees start changing.
Fall is something I always associated with hiking, cycling through the countryside and sunny afternoons sipping tea and eating Fall fruits. It was also that time of the year we would gradually fall back into a diet of steamed and oven roasted goodies having had our share of barbecue and salads over the Summer. And while Switzerland doesn't have Halloween and Thanksgiving, pumpkins are no less part of fall for us. With many sweet and savoury dishes made with vegetables from the squash family.
This is the thing that fortunately hasn't changed much over here, pumpkins are at their ripest, and tastiest around that time of the year in India too. And while I can't soak my eyes with golden and crimson hued nature sights, I can still please my taste buds with the familiar taste of pumpkin, apples and warm spices.
You won't find whole pumpkin easily in the market in India. Not that it matters to me, since as I said, I don't celebrate Halloween and have little need for one. You find a nice orange fleshed coloured one year round, it is sweet in taste and goes really well for soups, pies and cakes, and as I said, they are at their best right now. They are sold in slices in most supermarket and by most sabzi wallahs.
What you won't find ready made in India however, is pumpkin spice. Which, is a mix of different spices that are all easily found and sold across India. So much so, you are good to make your own and use at will in all these warm Fall and Winter dishes.
The recipe isn't of my own invention, I found it a few years ago here. I buy all the spices already ground in the market, since I often use them in their separate forms in other dishes. All you need to do, is mix all the ingredients above, and store them in an airtight container (I have a tiny Tupperware one that is conveniently the right size to store the quantity in question).
This spice mix can be used in every recipe that calls for pumpkin spice as well as "All spice". It can flavour your chai or coffee as well.
During pumpkin season, I also tend to make batches of pumpkin purée for the freezer, this is a quick and easy way to ensure you'll always have some to bake a pie or a batch of cupcakes at hand. Simply dice your raw pumpkin, boil it in a little water and mash with a potato masher once the cubes are soft enough and boil a few minutes more to have a thick yet not all dry purée. Let it cool and store it in the freezer in ziplock bags or freezer proof containers.
Do not drain the water, it will flush the flavour away, if the purée is too liquid, boil it a bit longer so the liquid can reduce on its own.
Needless to say I already made my first batch of pumpkin cupcake for the season. But that is the topic of an other blog post to come...