Since I’m a lover of pretty much all things pumpkin, I have always wondered about pumpkin butter, but have never tried it. Until now. I have a new love. See incredibly easy recipe below and then read on for a bonus recipe in today’s Pumpkin Pie Plus … series.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
Slow-Cooked Pumpkin Butter
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)
Two 15-ounce cans pumpkin or scant 4 cups fresh pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup honey (I used raw honey from our bees; see notes for alternative sweeteners and their measurements)
Pinch of sea salt
Slow cooker method: Mix ingredients together well in a large bowl and transfer to slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or longer. If some liquid remains, leave slow cooker on for a longer period of time and leave lid off slow cooker for another 30 minutes to an hour at the end of your cooking time so that excess liquid can evaporate. Let cool and store in refrigerator.
Stovetop method: Mix ingredients together well in a heavy pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until thick (i.e., the consistency of any fruit butter, like apple butter). Let cool and store in refrigerator.
Because the raw honey acts as a natural preservative, this pumpkin butter will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator. Let me know if yours lasts long enough to test that out. I know ours won’t. I plan to use mine on bread, like the Classic Pumpkin Bread from yesterday’s post, as well as for savory dishes. Need to jazz up a chicken breast? No problem. Spread some pumpkin butter on it the last few minutes of cooking or right out of the oven or off the grill. How about a pork tenderloin made with pumpkin butter? That might make me push my Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze to the side, or perhaps I can just substitute pumpkin butter every time maple syrup is called for in the recipe. Now that’s an idea!
Adapted from recipe from celiac listserv; author unknown
Shirley’s Notes: I’m sure two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice could be used in place of this recipe in place of the individual spices if necessary. Honey should not be given to children under 1. Either maple syrup or agave nectar can be used instead of honey, but both are thinner than honey. Therefore, I recommend using 3/4 cup of maple syrup and about 7/8 cup of agave nectar (no 7/8 cup measure is needed; just use a one-cup measure and use fill it slightly less than full). I cooked my pumpkin butter for 6 hours in the slow cooker and then an additional 2 hours just because I wanted it super thick. I left the lid off for the last half hour of cooking so extra liquid could evaporate. (I’ve read that as long as you are cooking on low in a slow cooker that’s working properly, you almost can’t overcook pumpkin butter.) Note that canning pumpkin butter (or any mashed/pureed winter squash) is not considered safe. But refrigerated jars of this pumpkin butter make great fall or holiday gifts. (I’m giving a jar to one of my girlfriends today as part of her birthday present.) Giving jars of the refrigerated version as gifts means that you can happily recycle well-cleaned, appropriately sized jars. A small jar for the newspaper lady (who always puts your newspaper in a bag when it’s raining) or a large jar for Aunt Harriet (who always gets you confused with your sister), or vice versa—you decide. For the refrigerated version, remember to include instructions on the label or gift tag indicating that the pumpkin butter must be refrigerated right away. For this recipe, I used my 4-qt crockpot and it was about half full. A bigger crockpot could not be used for this same amount; the recipe amount would have to be doubled or tripled. Doubling or tripling the recipe would allow you to use a larger slow cooker if that’s the only size you have, plus it would allow you to make enough for gifts. Also, my large slow cooker has the automatic shutoff and warm mode whereas my smaller slow cookers do not offer that feature.
You Say Pumpkin, I Say Cushaw …
What’s that you say? Am I dissing you? No, not at all! Cushaw is a squash, not a put-down expression. To be clear, cushaw is my absolute favorite squash. In fact, most of the time when a recipe calls for pumpkin puree, I actually use cushaw squash puree. You can learn more about cushaw at my guest post over at Linda’s (The Gluten-Free Homemaker) today, as part of her terrific Squash Fest event. I shared the recipe for my beautiful Cushaw (or Pumpkin) Pecan Pie there, but you’ll also find it here on gfe. This pie is Mr. GFE’s new favorite. He says it’s tied for #1 pie with my Crustless Coconut Pie. But, the Crustless Coconut Pie has been tops for many years now, so this high ranking from a newcomer is huge! I have to agree with him though. This pie is excellent. It has the delightful pecan factor (without the super syrupy sweetness that most find unappealing in a classic pecan pie) and the cushaw (or pumpkin) goodness that we all love. (We loved it with or without the Honey Cinnamon Whipped Cream that was doing double duty for smoothies and pies this week.)
I think you’ll be impressed by this pie. And not just by the filling. Moi, the queen of flourless and crustless, actually made a crust for this pie. Okay, I confess it’s my Never Fail Pie Crust, the kind you mix in the pie plate and then press down with your fingers. Yes. Seriously. You didn’t think I was going to do a bunch of work chilling dough and using my rolling pin, did you? (You know me better than that.) Now go check out my Cushaw (or Pumpkin) Pecan Pie.
Recapping this week’s Pumpkin Pie Plus … series:
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