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How to Solve the “Pumpkin Problem”

Content by Jessica Bryan and Anna Maria DeFrietas Published on September 3, 2017

Autumn is a lovely time of year in the glorious Pacific Northwest! And here at the San Juan Island Inn Collection we try to appreciate every nuance. But the most obvious declaration that “Fall has arrived,” is the plethora of pumpkins scattered around the property.

What to do with Pumpkins as a Chef

As the chef for the Collection, autumn’s most familiar face quickly becomes a culinary challenge. Just like the abundance of late summer zucchini can begin to boggle one’s kitchen creativity, so too can this season’s Poster Child, along with its menagerie of gourd-ish friends and squashy relations.

Pumpkin bread? Check.
Pumpkin pie? Of course.
Pumpkin cheesecake? Delicious!
Pumpkin muffins? Similar to the sweet bread, but good idea.
Pumpkin scones? See above comment.
Pumpkin soup? Sounds good.
Pumpkin curry? Am I sensing a theme?
Pumpkin custard? Ooooo, smart. Like pie, but DIFFERENT!
Pumpkin ice cream? I’m running out of nutmeg.
Pumpkin pancakes? Hmm, how many times can I use pumpkin in the same day?
Pumpkin oatmeal? Hey, anyone got any apples? Sweet potatoes? Pears? Please?
Pumpk- Noooooooooo!

pumpkins at the san juan island inn collection Well, you get the idea. One way to get fresh inspiration is to look to the world-wide culinary scene. What do they use pumpkin for in other countries, and how does it combine with the traditional flavors used there? Play with the recipes and put your own spin on it! Maybe drop some Italian-inspired gnocchi in an Asian soup. Or you could serve Indian samosas in combination with good ol’ American mashed potatoes and gravy.

Here at the Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites, we like to keep breakfast interesting by utilizing many creative combination. When approached this way the possibilities are just as boundless as the seemingly infinite supply of pumpkins. So embrace the cheery Cucurbita (Latin). And embrace your inner chef. Together great gastronomic creations are possible!

How to Best Solve the Pumpkin Problem: Pumpkin Bread!

The most versatile way to use up as much pumpkin as possible is to turn it into bread! Of course, pumpkin bread is delicious with a little butter, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Once you have your bread made, you can transform it into so many different things. French toast, bread pudding, tiramisu, a trifle…..the list goes on and on! Anna Maria, the owner of the San Juan Island Inn Collection has a lovely pumpkin bread recipe in her cookbook. She considers it a “cake” but you can call it whatever you would like!

Anna Maria’s “Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake” Recipe

Makes 2, 9 x 5-inch loaf pans, 8-10 servings

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp finely ground sea salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ginger

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

15 oz pumpkin puree

1 cup mild olive oil

1 1/2 cup 40% brann flakes

Optional:

6 oz mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted at 325 degrees for 10 minutes

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two parchment-lined 9 x 5-inch loaf pans swith cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat eggs with flat paddle attachment of standing mixer until foamy.
  4. Add brown sugar and mix well.
  5. Add pumpkin, oil and bran flakes; mix well.
  6. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  7. If including, stir in chocolate morsels and nuts.
  8. Spread evenly between two pans.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in the pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  11. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices to serve.

Notes

My mom was given this recipe by her eldest brother, Gino Conti. She would make this cake regularly as  a snack when we were growing up. I loved the moist cake with rich spices and of course, the chocolate morsels that permeated the cake.

Gluten Free Option

Substitute gluten-free flour mix and add 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Nut free Option

Substitute cocoa nibs for walnuts.

Want to Help Solve the Pumpkin Problem?

Are you a pumpkin-o-holic? Then you are definitely going to want to head our way during Fall. When you stay with us at the Tucker House Inn during October, November, or even December, you are sure to see some form of pumpkin on your plate for breakfast! Chef Jessica is a master of spinning so many traditional breakfast dishes into a pumpkin masterpiece. So go ahead and book your stay now!

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