It’s been a pumpkin bonanza at the Berkeley Bowl for last few weeks. The entire front entrance has been crowded with huge boxes of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. They even have a few giant pumpkins on display. I’ve been LOVING it, there is something really festive about that many pumpkins in one place. It puts me in an perfect autumn-y mood.
Every time I walk by the pumpkin display, I can’t help but pick up one of the baby pumpkins. I go to the Berkeley Bowl at least four times a week (I live around the corner) so quite a few pumpkins have come home with me lately. Some of them are busy being adorable on my kitchen table but I’ve tried to cook the majority of the pumpkins that I’ve bought. Pumpkins are awesome because they easily lend themselves to either sweet or savory dishes. This is my second pumpkin recipe post, after writing about pumpkin pie a few weeks ago. This time around I would like to share my recipe for savory pumpkin quiche.
This recipe for pumpkin quiche is my own rendition of a dish served by Gregoire Restaurant that I picked up while I worked there. It is basically an egg quiche inside the hollow of a small pumpkin. When you eat it, you get a little scoop of the egg and a little scoop of the squash. Sounds delicious, right?
Step One: Preheat the oven to 350°F and clean the pumpkins. Slice each baby pumpkin in half, through it’s equator, and scoop out the seeds. Cut the stem off the top half of the pumpkin so that it can lay flat.
Step Two: Fill the bottom of a cookie sheet or baking dish with water. You don’t need much, just enough to cover the entire bottom. Place the pumpkins upside down in the dish and steam them in the oven for 15 minutes.
Step Three: While the pumpkins are steaming in the oven, sauté the mushrooms and onions in one tablespoon of olive oil for about five minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Step Four: After you remove the pumpkins from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Flip the pumpkins over and place the sautéed mushrooms and onions in the bottom of the the pumpkin cavity. Slice the day old bread into small cubes and place them into the cavity along with the mushrooms and onions.
Step Five: Whisk the eggs and cream together along with the salt and pepper. Use 2 teaspoons of cream for every egg. You’ll have to use your judgement for how much custard you’ll need. If your pumpkins have a larger cavity, you’ll need more. If you’re using smaller pumpkins, you’ll need less. Pour enough custard into the pumpkin cavity to cover the bread, mushrooms, and onions.
Step Six: Brush the edges of the pumpkin flesh with olive oil and bake for 20-30 minutes. When the egg is set, the quiche is done!
This is one of my favorite fall dishes, I hope you have a chance to give it a try. Pumpkin quiche makes an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving, as well. In the past, I’ve made it with larger pumpkins that get passed around the table and you just take a scoop out for your plate. If mushrooms and onions aren’t your thing, you can use any filling that you want. I’ve made sweet pumpkin quiche with cranberries and walnuts and a little brown sugar in the custard, and it turned out well. This is a good dish to improvise and experiment with and really make it your own.
Before I go, I just wanted to share with you the finished product of the cover for the Mauitime I mentioned in my Pumpkin Pie post. You can check it out on my website heatherdiane.com. It was a fun and successful collaboration with Justin “Scrappers” Morrison. I hope you have the chance to check it out! Have a great week, everyone!
As much as I hate to admit it, autumn is here. I realize that for most of the country, this summer was a particularly hot one and the cool weather is a relief. But here in the Bay Area, we hardly got a taste of summer. It’s not that I dislike fall, but I really miss the warm weather of the south. The weather here was foggy and cool June through September and the promised indian summer never came. Now, the rains have returned, which ends any hope of warm weather.
Since there’s no use fighting it, I decided to embrace the autumn weather by making my favorite seasonal dessert, pumpkin pie. If anything is going to get me exited about the fall, it’s pumpkin dishes. There’s something about the earthy sweetness of pumpkin that is just so comforting.
Before I get to the pie recipe, I wanted to share a few other things I’ve been working on and some ideas for the blog. I’ve been quite busy lately with sign painting, screen printing, and illustrating. I recently finished up my end an exciting project with Justin “Scrappers” Morrison for the Maui Time. I’ll share more when the project is finished and in print but for now, here’s a little peek:
Also, as some of you may know, I work as a sign painter in San Francisco at New Bohemia Signs. I’ve wanted to incorporate more sign painting into Illustrated Bites for a long time. My new and exciting plan for doing that is to create food-related signs and do occasional give-aways here on the blog. In conjunction with that I’ll also be selling some signs online. This new project was inspired by a sign I recently painted for my lovely friend, Emily.
So, yeah…I made a pumpkin pie AND it was awesome. I will admit that this pie was pretty labor intensive because I made it completely from scratch but it’s TOTALLY worth it. The good news is that this recipe made enough filling for a second pie, so it’s sort of a two for one deal. My sweetie’s folks were in town and his mom helped me though the process, which made a world of difference in the workload (Thanks Nancy!) I highly recommend getting someone to lend a hand when you make this.
Step one: Pick up a pumpkin. I used a sweet pie pumpkin I bought at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. Slice the pumpkin into wedges and scrape out the guts. Use a paring knife to cut the flesh away from the rind. Don’t worry if you leave some flesh on the rind, it’s pretty hard to get it all.
Step two: Steam the pumpkin. Put all the pumpkin flesh in a pot with about a half a cup of water. Turn the heat to medium and cover.
Step three: While the pumpkin is steaming, make the pie crust. It’s easiest if you have a food processor.
Step four: While the dough is in the freezer, puree the the steamed pumpkin. The pumpkin should be steamed until it’s soft, and easily punctured with a fork. Puree throughly, until there are no lumps. It will be easiest to do this in small batches.
Step five: Take the dough out of the freezer and sprinkle the countertop with flour. Unwrap the dough and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough with light pressure from the center out. Add flour as needed.
Step six: When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter transfer it to your pie plate. Press into the plate and tuck the excess edges into itself and pinch for the crust. Return to the freezer while the oven preheats.
Step seven: Preheat to 425 Degrees F. Find something to weigh down the crust while it bakes. I used a cast iron skillet but you could use tinfoil and a pile of dried beans or rice. Anything that will lie flat. Just make sure to butter the side that will be in contact with the pie crust.
Step eight: Puncture the bottom of the crust with the fork and put the weight on the crust. Bake for 12 minutes. Then take it out of the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees F then carefully remove the weight and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Step nine: Beat the eggs with the sugar, then add the spices and salt. Mix in the pumpkin and the milk. Warm this mixture in a sauce pan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Get it hot but not boiling.
Step ten: Pour the mixture into the the crust and bake for 30-40 minutes until mixture shakes but is still moist. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.
Extra credit: Homemade Whipped Cream
I told you this was an intense recipe!
Whip the cream with a whisk until peaks form. Again, this is much easier with a partner to take turns with. When the cream is stiff, fold in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Viola! Whipped cream.
Phew, that’s a monster. Anyways, you’ll feel great once it’s done and it’s so delicious you’ll forget it took like, three hours. If you’re like me, as it cools down and the winter rains start, you’ll look for any excuse to spend an afternoon in a warm kitchen. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know if you tackle this beast, I want to hear all about it!