The Pumpkin Cheat Sheet

hero image
14 Oct 2013
.Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

Ripe Pumpkins in a FieldFall means orange leaves, sweaters and of course, pumpkins. Pumpkin pie is the recipe that most often comes to mind and quite frankly I’m not the biggest fan of the pumpkin pie. If this makes me a pumpkin heretic, so be it. Don’t misunderstand; I like the taste of pumpkin just fine, I just don’t like pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin is a really great vegetable. It has no cholesterol, its low in fat and sodium and rich in vitamins, particular beta carotene and vitamin A. While some cooks swear by the canned stuff, I prefer baking the fresh stuff and making my own pumpkin puree. I think that the taste is, fresher, sweeter, subtler and the seed or two that shows up in what ever you’re making is just another way of adding fiber to your diet.

If you have ever used fresh butternut, acorn, Hubbard or any other kind of squash, you can make your own pumpkin puree. Choose a ripe and firm medium pumpkin. (larger pumpkins can take on a grainy texture). Cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and fibrous strings and cut the pumpkin into four to eight pieces. Line a large baking pan aluminum foil (this really helps with the clean up). Place the pumpkin pieces onto the baking pan. Bake at 375 for one to 1 to 1½ hours, or until pulp is soft (could be as little as 45 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin.  Cool and remove the pulp from the rind with a spoon and discard the rind. Using a blender or food processor blend the pulp until smooth. To create a really thick puree strain the pulp through a cheesecloth or in a strainer and squeeze out the excess water. Any leftover puree can be frozen for several months.

The following recipes are all easy, fun and they go a long way to proving that pumpkin is for more than just pies!

Note: you can use the fresh or canned pumpkin interchangeably in the following recipes and I offered some non dairy suggestions for the pareve/lactose intolerant versions

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (dairy)

I ripped this recipe out of a magazine while I was at a doctor’s office (don’t judge me) and have made it several time and EVERYONE loves it!!!






  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 2 Tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream, butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the chocolate wafers with the sugar and a pinch of salt until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and process until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
  5. Using your fingers, press the crumbs into the prepared baking pan in an even layer.
  6. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until set. Let cool completely.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar at medium speed until blended. Beat in the pumpkin puree, sour cream and vanilla, then beat in the eggs until just incorporated.
  8. Transfer 1/3 cup of the cheesecake batter to a small bowl and stir in the caramel sauce.
  9. Set the pan with the crust in a large, deep roasting pan. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake filling over the cookie crust and carefully drizzle the caramel mixture over the top. Using a toothpick, decoratively swirl the caramel sauce.
  10. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and carefully pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the baking pan.
  11. Bake the cheesecake for about 55 minutes, until the filling is barely jiggly in the center.
  12. Transfer the roasting pan to a rack and let the cheesecake cool completely. Remove the baking pan from the water bath and refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.
  13. Cut into bars and serve.


Pumpkin Bread Pudding (dairy or pareve)

8 servings



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, combine the bread with the half-and-half. Mix to combine and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugars, pumpkin, raisins, pecans, melted butter, spices, and vanilla; blend well.
  4. Pour pumpkin mixture over soaked bread and mix to blend. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar.
  5. Bake, uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set.

My files, source unknown

Pumpkin Bisque (dairy or pareve)

4 servings

This recipe works equally well with vegetable stock and non dairy creamer as it does with chicken stock.



  1. In a stock pot slowly saute onion and garlic in the oil until they are transparent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree and chicken stock, bay leaf, sugar, curry, nutmeg and mix well. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cook 20 to 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Add half-and-half and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Blend in batches in blender. Strain through a fine strainer.
  5. Reheat gently, and serve with toasted coconut.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled

My files source unknown

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake (dairy)

12 to 14 servings



  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a bowl combine the cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press the mixture firmly onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese, ¾ cup of the sugar and the vanilla. Process or blend until well blended.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Remove 1½ cups of the batter; place in small bowl.
  5. Stir remaining ¼ cup sugar, the pumpkin and spices in to remaining batter.
  6. Spoon half of the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half of the reserved plain batter. Repeat layers. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect.
  7. Bake for 55 min. or until center is almost set.
  8. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Modified from

Curried Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (pareve or meat)

6 servings



  1. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, and saute over medium high heat until tender.
  2. Add curry powder, cumin, and salt. Saute for an additional minute or so. Whisk in flour, and whisking constantly, cook for an additional minute. Slowly whisk in the milk. Allow to simmer for a minute before adding remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Blend until smooth, either using a stick blender, or pouring into a blender in batches.
  4. Return to pan and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


Spicy Pumpkin Pound Cake (dairy or pareve)

10 to 12 servings



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Position rack in lower third of oven. Spray a 12-cup bundt cake pan with vegetable spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. Set aside.
  3. Separate eggs. Place yolks in a small bowl and whites in a large mixing bowl.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar a half-cup at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in Bourbon whiskey or vanilla and continue beating for about 3 minutes.
  5. Beat the yolks with a fork then add to sugar mixture, one-third at a time. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down sides of bowl as you mix. Add pumpkin puree and beat until smooth.
  6. With a wooden spoon, stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Continue adding remaining flour in two batches. Set aside.
  7. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold whites into pumpkin batter.
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Gently spread batter evenly around pan.
  9. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate.
  10. Allow to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

EZ Pumpkin Crumb Cake (dairy or pareve)





  1. Measure 1 cup of cake mix; set aside for topping.
  2. In a bowl combine the remaining cake mix, melted margarine and egg. Press mixture into greased 9 x 13 inch cake pan (press hard). Combine the above and pour over cake mixture in pan.
  3. Combine all ingredients for crumb topping. Sprinkle over filling.
  4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350°F.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream, whipped topping or ice cream.

Modified/Submitted by Amy Roncheck Oak Park IL

Apricot Pumpkin Muffins (dairy)

Yields 18 muffins



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 12-muffin tins (you’ll only be able to make 18), set them aside.
  2. In a bowl combine the pumpkin, sugar and oil, mix to blend. Beat in the eggs.
  3. In another bowl combine the flour, soda, baking powder and spices. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Fold in the pudding mix, apricots and nuts. Mix to combine. Pour into prepared muffin pans.
  5. Bake 20 minutes, test and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes if need be to make sure they’re done.
  6. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely.


© Eileen Goltz pumpkin13

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.