Few of us bother with the smaller sugar pumpkins that are great for eating. We take advantage of the good people at Libby's and make pies the way our moms and grandmothers did, because there's no improving on a classic. But there ARE other great foods to make with pumpkin, and it is an actual vegetable that can actually be good for us, if we choose to go that route. Pumpkin soup is marvelous and unexpected. Roasted vegetables including pumpkin chunks can be presented in a pumpkin bowl for dramatic effect. I did that and served in mini pumpkins on each plate, but was a little concerned when one guest ate the veggies inside and the entire pumpkin as well. Heck, the skin probably has lots of fiber, and he seemed OK.
We'll be selling mini pumpkin pies at the Cider Festival on Oct. 18th. (Locals, please stop by and support us! Park at Cedar Mill Bible Church.) But the recipe we're most excited about is our pumpkin bars -- a very moist cake with a light lemon glaze. I made these to sell at last week's farmers' market, but they didn't make it that far. I'll have to do double or triple the amount to get them to market this week.
Do try this recipe. It's easy, freezes well, and the spicy aroma fills the house with nostalgia and warm smiles.
Pumpkin Bars with Lemon Glaze
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. salt
1 lb. pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
Stir together dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs slightly, then stir in pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Combine with dry ingredients. Spread in greased 9x13x2" cake pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until center springs back when touched.
Stir lemon juice into a cup of powdered sugar until a thick glaze forms. Drizzle over cake. (If freezing or wrapping cake, wait until serving time to add the glaze.) Cut into bars or squares.