I was inspired when I saw this recipe by Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends on Noshing with the Nolands. I had just been looking for a way to rescue our badly bruised and scratched pumpkin after rolling it on a steep gravel road at a local pumpkin (technically winter squash) rolling contest. We didn’t win the prize but were amazed how fast, straight and far it rolled from the shoot!
I have been collecting seeds from pumpkins I have grown over the last three years, and now some of my pumpkins have started becoming somewhat strange looking and less sweet to taste. If you have a goal to save seeds, don’t be greedy like me planting kabocha, Uchiki red kuri, Marina Di Chioggia and so on in one garden. I would recommend that you grow one cultivar or type from each species so as to prevent them from cross-pollinating, which ends up producing seeds whose traits are unknown to us. A good idea would be to pick one cultivar “Marina Di Chioggia” from Cucurbita maxima, delicata from Cucurbita pepo and butternut squash from Cucurbita moschata; that way you will be able to harvest pure seeds to grow during the next season. If you have planted mish mash this summer, then the seeds from those fruits are not suited for saving but make great snacks when roasted with spices!
Thankfully, I received inspiration in the nick of time and decided to turn my glorious leftover pumpkin (the one from the pure seed back, not from the abovementioned Frankenseeds) into doughnuts. We had these doughnuts in the darkness of evening after coming back from a long, soggy walk with our two dogs. They didn’t seem to like this much rain. Since it was Halloween night, we saw groups of poor kids out and about in costumes hidden under their raincoats. As we reached home and dried off, we were looking forward to welcoming the next morning, rain or shine, because we knew that the rest of doughnuts were awaiting us for breakfast. It would be a nice way to start another otherwise miserable rainy day.
As a side note, besides beating the autumn rain blues with the power of delicious doughnuts, I have also picked up some beautiful handspun linen from Heather Ross; I absolutely love its colour and cloud-like texture that suddenly brought some much-needed sunshine to my soul and to our table. What is your pick-me-up for your soul on wet, cold, dark, gray, rainy days?
My grandma, my twin sister and I used to make shredded carrot and parsley doughnuts together in her kitchen as part of my grandma’s effort to introduce us to vegetables at a very young age. This time, I used a homegrown pumpkin and froze the rest in a single portion for soup, lasagne, croquettes, bread, buns, dog cookies and so forth.
Yields about 2 ½ dozen with a 2.5 inch doughnut cutter
1 pumpkin or winter squash to extract ¾ cup puree
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup milk, room temperature
Grape seed or canola oil
Extra sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut a pumpkin in half, discard the seeds and roast on a baking sheet until soft, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool and spoon out the meat. Puree when the pumpkin is completely cooled.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices all together.
Cream the butter and add sugar gradually until fluffy. Add the egg and combine well. Add vanilla, milk and pumpkin and stir until incorporated. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture.
Heat the oil over medium low heat to reach 370F. The oil’s height should be around 1 ½ inches in a deep skillet. In the meantime, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thickness and cut out rings. Transfer to a floured baking sheet.
Fry the doughnuts until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Rest the doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Make sure the oil temperature stays the same before adding another batch.
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Adapted from Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends