|So many pumpkins, just one season|
Ah, mid-autumn. The time of year best marked by your level of annoyance with people who are still talking about how great it is that pumpkin lattes are back. But savvy foodies know there are so many more interesting uses for this in-season squash than as a syrupy synthetic shot in your morning coffee.
Yesterday we started our list with favorites from Bars Bakery, Mojo Monkey Donuts, and pumpkin curry from Amazing Thailand. Today we're continuing the roundup of some of our favorite seasonal dishes where pumpkin is the star.
Pumpkin ice cream
Sebastian Joe's makes a very respectable pumpkin ice cream, but Pumphouse's pumpkin ice cream will make a convert out of even the most loyal SJ's fan. We think it has something to do with the particular pumpkin Pumphouse uses, which is the Long Island Cheese variety -- a squash loved by pie bakers for its extra-creamy consistency. The flavor that comes through is pure and remarkably fresh since Pumphouse makes relatively small batches.
After making its first appearance on Haute Dish's fall/winter menu, this rich, traditional Thai-style curry quickly became a local favorite. Served in a small, hollowed-out pumpkin, the heady scent of lemongrass, chiles, garlic, and lime hits you before you even realize how chock full of stuff this soupy curry is. Big ol' shrimp, cubes of tofu, and tender-crisp veggies float in the coconut-milk-thickened broth, and the result is just a knockout.
Pumpkin porter cheesecake
Made with light pumpkin pie spices, a lightly whipped blend of cream cheese and pumpkin puree, and Northbound's own smoky, medium-bodied porter, this seasonal cheesecake is a unique take on a now ubiquitous dessert offering. The crust is a little spare, but the flavor and texture of the filling are spot-on.
Spiced pumpkin seed brittle
Pumpkin doughnuts, cheesecake, and ice cream are all very well and good, but sometimes you just need a light finish to a hearty fall meal. First Course employs the seasonal ingredient in a less overt way by creating a sweet and sticky pumpkin seed brittle. They serve shards of it with seared melon, a little vanilla ice cream, and a tart port reduction that's sophisticated and delicious.
Lucia's wins the award for best tip-to-tail -- or in this case, stem-to-seed -- use of an ingredient. This is a dish that sticks to your ribs, but it doesn't make you feel too stuffed thanks to all the vegetable ingredients and varying textures that get packed into the creamy risotto. Caramelized Brussels sprouts, pumpkin oil, and toasted pepitas (the de rigueur way to refer to pumpkin seeds) finish this outrageously autumnal dish.
Solveig Tofte strikes again with her perfect puff pastry and not-so-sweet filling. It's the best possible way to have an individual Thanksgiving-like treat without the temptation to eat a whole pie by yourself.
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