It is pumpkin spice time again and it is time to enjoy one of my favorite fall flavors yet again. Although Italians do not use winter squash often in desserts, muffins surprisingly enough, are becoming more and more commonplace here in Italy and are sold in many grocery stores and local coffee bars. Zucca, or pumpkin is also now being sold both cut up into pieces as well as whole in many stores as well as outdoor markets throughout the fall and winter, though here in Italy, it is commonly used in soups, stews, pasta, risotto, or as a vegetable side dish, and not usually in desserts.
If I seem to be a tad obsessed with pumpkins lately there is a reason, I promise. Apart from the fact that they taste great and are very healthy for you as well, I had two large pumpkins I bought a month or so ago that I had to use up before we left Umbria so last week I roasted both, and had a “pumpkin day” in my kitchen. I made pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin French toast, pumpkin bread, pumpkin polenta, pumpkin mac and cheese, and pumpkin risotto. These pumpkin muffins were made that day with my big batch of pumpkin puree, and they turned out great. They are moist and tasty, with just enough pumpkin spice flavor. These muffins would be perfect for a quick breakfast on the run, a midday treat or packed into the kid’s school lunch.
I have become a big fan of oat flour recently, both for the texture it adds to baked goods as well as the flavor and added nutritional value. If you find it difficult to locate oat flour near you, simply make your own. Place regular oats in your food processor or blender, and pulse until you have a powdery texture. I buy my oat flour in the organic section of my regular grocery store back in North America, or at health food stores here in Italy.
In Italy, you cannot buy pumpkin in a can, so I roast a whole pumpkin to use in recipes. To roast a pumpkin, simply cut it into wedges, scoop out the seeds and place it on a baking sheet. Roast in a 400 degree F. oven until fork tender (the time depends entirely on the variety and freshness of the pumpkin). After it is roasted, simply use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin. I like to place the pumpkin flesh in a strainer over a bowl for a couple of hours to remove any excess liquid in the pumpkin flesh before I use it for recipes.
Some Other Great Pumpkin Recipes!
Spiced Pumpkin Scones by Inspired Taste
Simple Pumkin Cheesecake Trifles by My Baking Addiction
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies- Gluten-Free Recipe by Gluten-Free Goddess
Deborah Mele 2018
- 2 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- Dash of Salt
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Cooked or Canned Pumpkin Puree (See Above)
- 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Oil
- 2 Cups Finely Chopped Fresh Pears, Peeled & Cored First
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix together the flour, sugar, soda, spices and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, pumpkin and oil.
- Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour and with a wooden spoon gently mix together.
- Fold in the chopped pear.
- Fill 12 lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups.
- If using topping, mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle some on top of each muffin.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool and serve.