Tis this season for all-things-pumpkin! Whether carved into spooky Halloween jack-o-lanterns or used to decorate the Thanksgiving table, pumpkins are undeniably the produce of the season. Best of all, though, pumpkins (and all types of squash) can be used in your holiday recipes. If you’re looking to use pumpkin in your seasonal recipes, here are the best types of pumpkins to use:
Cinderella Pumpkin: This bears a striking resemblance to the pumpkin that transformed into Cinderella’s magic coach. It has a sweet, thick, custard-like flesh.
Jarrahdale Pumpkin: Native to New Zealand, these have a melon-like aroma with firm, bright orange, somewhat stringy flesh.
Lumina Pumpkin: It’s great for baking, carving or painting.
Peanut Pumpkin: Due to a warty exterior, this pumpkin resembles a peanut. It has sweet orange flesh, which is perfect for making soup.
Pie Pumpkin: Several varieties are grown explicitly for eating, not ornamentation.
One-Too-Many Pumpkins: Creamy white with pale red veins that darken to a deeper red. They are great for making pie or to use for carving or decorations.
No matter your choice, pumpkins can always be used to whip up something delicious. Our local chefs, bakers and foodies have graciously shared some of their favorite top-secret, pumpkin-infused recipes that you can use for holiday dinners or to give as mouth-watering gifts. (Who wouldn’t want to sink their teeth into a warm slice of pumpkin bourbon caramel bread or sip on a warm spoonful of pumpkin chestnut soup?)
Enjoy these marvelous fall pumpkin recipes from some of our favorites on the Louisville food scene.
5 Fall Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting from Atlantic No. 5
Courtesy of Rebecca Johnson
Whether you enjoy this recipe as a dessert or a breakfast treat is totally up to you — it’s perfect anytime!
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon of cream
- 1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour a 13 x 9 rectangular pan
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, pumpkin and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix just until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the cream cheese, vanilla and butter and beat until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Once incorporated, beat icing until fluffy. Ice the bars once they are cool.
3 Sisters Salad from Harvest Restaurant
Courtesy of Chef Jeff Dailey
Enjoy an array of the season’s freshest flavor in this delightful dish from Harvest Restaurant.
3 Sisters Salad
- 1 medium butternut squash pumpkin peeled and quartered with seeds removed
- 5 ounces heirloom wax beans cleaned and trimmed
- 2 ears of fresh corn husk removed
- 4 ounces fresh carrot juice
- 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce miso paste
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon freeze-dried corn powder
- Place butternut squash in a shallow roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then cover with aluminum foil. Roast in a 300 F. oven for 35 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Once done, remove from the roasting dish and let cool to room temperature. Dice the squash into bite-sized pieces. Place corn and wax beans on a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Grill the beans and corn until lightly charred. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, cut the kernels off the charred corn and place into a bowl. Cut charred wax beans into bite-size pieces and add to the corn along with the butternut square. In a blender, add carrot juice, lemon juice, miso paste, roasted garlic and salt. Turn blender on medium and slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Add arugula to the corn/bean/squash mixture and drizzled with the carrot vinaigrette. Toss to combine and plate on a large serving dish. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and corn powder and serve.
Pumpkin Risotto from 502 Bar & Bistro
Courtesy of Chef Ming Pu
Simple ingredients combine to create a savory dish that brings out the best flavors of the season.
- 2 pounds fresh pumpkin roasted and pureed
- 2 cups yellow onions diced into small pieces
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a saucepan, heat 6 cups of vegetable stock and keep it on low heat.
- In a separate medium to large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the yellow onions and toast the arborio rice for a couple of minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the onions are opaque, add 2 cups of vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaves and 5-spice and stir occasionally. When the rice absorbs most of the vegetable stock, add two more cups and repeat until all the stock absorbs into the rice. If there’s not enough liquid, you can add a touch of hot water to finish the risotto.
- Fold in the pumpkin puree after all the liquid has been absorbed. Take the bay leaves and thyme sprigs out and add the Parmesan and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Pumpkin Bourbon Caramel Bread from Baker E’s
Courtesy of owner Elisha Risher
Not only does this recipe feature the popular pumpkin flavor, but it also showcases Kentucky’s favorite liquor. Whip up a few loaves of this deliciousness for your nearest and dearest, and let the compliments pour in!
Pumpkin Bourbon Caramel Bread
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2/3 cup water
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of Maker's Mark bourbon
- 4 tablespoons of salted butter
- 1 teaspoon of Mexican Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter and flour two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
- Stir together the sugar and oil in a large bowl until well combined, then add in the eggs one at a time, then end with combining the pumpkin.
- Stir together the sifted flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Combine half the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Next, add in half of the water and stir until combined, then continue to alternate with dry ingredients and the water, ending with dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans. Bake approximately one hour until the loaves are golden brown. Test with a toothpick to see if the batter has set. Cool the bread in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool for at least an hour on the wire rack.
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Cook the sauce until it reaches a light to medium brown, about 10 minutes. Once the sauce is a light to medium brown, remove from the heat and add in cream and bourbon. Be careful as the sauce will bubble and steam, but continue to stir and add in the butter and vanilla. Pour sauce into a Mason jar or bowl and allow it to cool and thicken. Serve over freshly baked pumpkin bread. Sauce will need to be refrigerated in an air-tight container and then slowly reheated in the microwave or on low in a saucepan.
Mini Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin Bread from Fix Coffee House & Bakery
Courtesy of Owner Caryn Kovatch
Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you — the decadent flavor of dark chocolate combines with a rich pumpkin puree to create an amazing dessert you won’t soon forget!
Mini Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin Bread
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 stick 4oz butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup full-fat buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups pumpkin puree
- 10 ounces mini dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- If using a non-stick pan, spray the pan lightly with non-stick baking spray. If your pan is not non-stick, grease and flour each loaf cavity.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice to a medium-sized bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Stop now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
- In a small bowl, add buttermilk, vanilla, and pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.
- Add the pumpkin-buttermilk mixture and the dry ingredients in alternating additions, beating on low speed after each addition just long enough to combine: flour-pumpkin-flour-pumpkin-flour-pumpkin-flour.
- Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- Distribute the batter evenly among mini-loaf cavities; the batter should come almost to the top of each cavity.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in one of the loaves comes out batter-free.
- Allow the loaves to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then gently remove using a small spatula or butter knife to a wire rack to cool completely.
Pumpkin Chestnut Soup from Brasserie Provence
Courtesy of owner Guy Genoud
When a warm bowl of the soup is the only thing that will hit the spot, this recipe delivers. Bold flavors combine to create a memorable meal people will remark on for weeks to come
Pumpkin Chestnut Soup from Brasserie Provence
- 1 5-6 pound pumpkin for cooking
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ lb. fresh chestnuts
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup of liquid cream
- Grated Nutmeg
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup of crème fraîche
- ½ cup of sautéed smoked, thick hickory bacon
- Remove the flesh from the pumpkin, then cut the pumpkin meat into small chunks.
- Cut the onion into medium-thick slices.
- Shell the chestnuts before cooking. The best way to do this is to slit the chestnuts then plunge them into small amounts of boiling water for two minutes. Take them from the water, and while still hot, peel the outer shell off.
- In a Dutch oven, brown the sliced onion in the olive oil, then add the pumpkin meat, minced garlic and fresh chestnuts. Season with grated nutmeg.
- Add chicken broth and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
- At the end of cooking, check the chestnuts for tenderness. Some can be reserved for decoration.
- Mix the soup and put it back on the stove over medium heat, stirring, so it remains hot. Add some broth and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Finally, add the liquid cream then cook for three more minutes.
- Ladle soup into bowls, add a spoonful of crème fraîche, and sprinkle with pieces of chestnuts and bacon.
We hope these five fabulous fall pumpkin recipes have given you the boost you need to take those orange gourds and mix them into your menu. We always knew pumpkins were good for making more than just a spooky specter — they’re a tasty treat as well!
Find more recipes, as well as entertaining tips here!