23 Nov Pumpkin Apple Mocktail
I was gifted the most beautiful looking Cinderella pumpkin by a friend, recently. It was my very first attempt at cooking a pumpkin so big and of this variety. I’ve carved enough halloween pumpkins in my day to know that you can cut through them pretty easily. This Cinderella pumpkin however, true to her character, was tough on the surface, with a hard skin. I couldn’t imagine how I could cut through the enormous Cucurbita (fancy Latin term for gourd). After scratching my head for a while wondering how I’d roast this beauty, the efficient part of my brain (insert lazy or smart) took over and I decided to pop the entire thing straight in the oven. GASP!!! After wrestling to get the whole pumpkin on to a baking sheet and in to my oven, I realized just how enormous it was so I decided to weigh her just for fun…. 29 lbs!!!
After I had 29lbs of cooked pumpkin, I began to learn a little about it… The proper name for a Cinderella pumpkin is Musquee de Provence. It’s the best pumpkin to bake with because of its rich sweet flavour and creamy texture that is never watery. While the skin is hard, the flesh is dense and considered a superior pumpkin in the culinary world. It’s a rich orange colour with lots of usable delicious flesh. And just like the character of Cinderella, inside she is beautiful, rich and colourful. And I never knew about it. What a gift!
If you’re wondering how I cooked the whole pumpkin, I just placed the entire pumpkin on baking sheet and put in to bake at 350º for about 2 hours. The length of time you need to roast one, will obviously depend on the size of your pumpkin. You’ll easily know when it’s done when it feels a little soft-ish to touch or when you can easily cut through it.
I personally think one of the best parts of roasting pumpkins and squash, are the seeds. I never discard them and always roast mine with avocado oil and Himalayan salt. In this instance, when I cut through the cooked pumpkin and it was cool enough to handle, I removed the seeds, washed and dried them, then roasted them on a baking sheet. Lucky for me, there were a lot! Jackpot!!!!
You might imagine that 29lbs of pumpkin is a LOT to eat. In the days that followed, I got creative and used pumpkin in a variety of dishes. It sparked my creative juices and led to a culinary exploration that I’ve never before ventured to. You can find some of my creations on Instagram and the ones that didn’t work quite so well (like the pumpkin fries) will stay in the vault until I can try them again with better results.
The following mocktail recipe stemmed from having this vast supply about of freshly cooked pumpkin and hosting a cooking class during the same week. I thought serving a welcome drink with fresh local harvest would be a brilliant way to showcase how easy it is to use whole foods that are in season in Niagara. I also like sharing ways to use fruit instead of liquid sweaters when possible, hence the apple in this recipe. It really serves two purposes – local and in season plus a natural sweetener.
What you need
1 Tbsp pumpkin purée (I used my cooked Cinderella pumpkin)
1/2 small apple or 1/4 of large apple, peeled and cored
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c soda water or sparkling water (or Prosecco if that’s your thing)
What you do
- Purée pumpkin, apple and spices in magic bullet or blender until smooth consistency is achieved
- Add pumpkin/apple purée to chilled soda water
- Serve chilled, in a cocktail glass or a chilled martini glass
- Garnish with cinnamon stick, optional
I used this nice and healthy creation as a welcome mocktail for a cooking class that I was hosting. You can easily add Prosecco instead of sparkling water. Or add an ounce of rum, vodka or any spirit of your choice to this recipe, if you like.
You can find some more pumpkin inspiration here with my Pumpkin Cashew Pie or Pumpkin Coconut Latte.