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Cooking with pumpkins
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Forsyth County News

Pumpkins are everywhere. Grocery stores, farm stands, farmers markets and even at home improvement stores.
While those big pumpkins are perfect for carving a masterful Jack O’Lantern, when it comes to cooking, choose the smaller pumpkins, also known as “pie pumpkins.”
Roasting the pumpkin is the easiest way to prepare it for use in all sorts of recipes.
Simply cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the “guts,” place the halves cut-side down on an oiled baking sheet, and bake.
When completely soft and cooked through, remove and scoop out the pumpkin flesh.
Of course, you can use canned pumpkin, but the flavor of fresh, roasted pumpkin is truly fantastic and worth the efforts.
Here are some delicious pumpkin recipes to help you celebrate all things October.

pumpkin soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped    
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, roasted
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Fried sage leaves for garnish (optional)
Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

To roast pumpkin, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds. Place pumpkin pieces on oiled baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until pumpkin is tender, about an hour.
Cool and scoop out pumpkin flesh. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Saute onion, carrot, apple, roasted pumpkin and sage about 10 minutes, until tender. Cool slightly and then carefully transfer mixture to food processor and blend until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan and add the chicken stock.
Simmer for 15 minutes and then add heavy cream. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Heat just until soup is about to boil and then serve. Top with fried sage leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds.
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Pumpkin bars
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cup pumpkin (roasted or canned)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream cheese frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For pumpkin bars, preheat oven to 350  degrees. Butter a 13- by 10-inch pan. Using a mixer, beat together eggs, sugar, canola oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
Pour into buttered pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. For frosting, using mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter.
Add sifted sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. When pumpkin bars are completely cool, top with frosting and cut into bars.
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This is a spectacular way to end Thanksgiving Day dinner celebration. Just make sure to make it the day before so it can thoroughly chill.

8 sheets graham crackers
1/3 plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 3/4 cup roasted pumpkin (or canned)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a nonstick springform pan with nonstick cooking oil. In a food processor, whirl together graham crackers and sugar until finely ground.
Add melted butter and 2 tablespoons water and pulse until combined. Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. On the lower oven rack, place a pan filled halfway with hot water. Place the springform pan on the middle rack and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
Add yogurt, eggs, egg whites and beat until combined. Add pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and beat until combined.
Pour into crust and bake until just set, about an hour.
Turn off oven and crack oven door open a little. Let cheesecake sit in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, remove cheesecake from refrigerator for a half an hour or so.
Remove the sides of the pan and place on serving plate. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.