Roasted Pumpkin Butter

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ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do! 

Naturally sweetened and perfectly spiced, this foolproof, no-scorch recipe adds something special to toast, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods and more. Plus it freezes well and makes a lovely gift.

 

 

If you’ve never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start!

The flavor of homemade pumpkin butter is truly in a different league than store-bought. I’d liken it to eating the most delicious pumpkin pie filling.

As an added benefit, this recipe is naturally sweetened and rather healthy. Pumpkin and winter squash (either can be used in this recipe) are low in calories, high in fiber and are excellent sources of Vitamins A and C, potassium and several other key nutrients.

Truth be told, I love to plunge a spoon into the jar for a quick, pudding-like treat. The warm spices and velvety texture make it hard to resist-even though eating it by the spoonful may not have be the original intent!

And did I mention that your kitchen will smell heavenly? 🧡

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!
How to enjoy pumpkin butter:

Lately, I’ve been putting the pumpkin butter to good use in my morning oatmeal. While homemade pumpkin butter adds appealing fall flavor and sweetness to traditional stovetop oatmeal, I’m still on an overnight oats kick.

For those who may be interested, I’ve been quadrupling the overnight oats recipe for ready-to-go breakfasts. Once the oat mixture has absorbed most of the liquid (this usually takes a few hours), I portion it among four bowls, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate. In the morning, I simply grab a bowl and add toppings. My choice toppings as of late have been blueberries, Lolita’s low-sugar granola, a tablespoon of toasted slivered almonds (I toast a big batch and store them in a jar in the fridge) and, of course, a generous dollop of the following pumpkin butter. Bananas, pepitas, walnuts and any of your preferred oatmeal toppings are fair game.

Pumpkin butter can also be enjoyed as…

…a spread for toast or bagels, stirred into yogurt or used as a replacement for plain old pumpkin puree (and, depending on the recipe, applesauce or mashed banana) in baked goods like muffins, quick breads and pancakes. I’d happily dig into a small bowl of homemade pumpkin butter and call it dessert!

I adapted the following recipe from Paul Virant’s The Preservation Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2012). Notably, I use half the sweetener called for in the original recipe with no regrets. I also opt for pure maple syrup over brown sugar. If your squash seems to be lacking in natural sweetness, I note two places where you can taste and add a bit more sweetener if needed. (Virant uses brown sugar, which is an option if that’s what you have on hand.)

Roasting enhances the flavor of the pumpkin or squash, and the combination of warm spices make the finished product sing. I increased several of them compared to the original recipe, and I also opted for the complementary flavor of coconut oil over butter, although either can be used. (Note that the former does make the recipe vegan.)

Any winter squash or pumpkin meant for eating (rather than carving) will work in this recipe. I gravitate towards kabocha squash, but blue hubbard or butternut squash or neck, Cinderella or sugar pie pumpkins provide equally good options.

 

Tip: If you avoid recipes calling for pumpkin and winter squash because the shell is so difficult to cut through, simply pierce the skin with a sharp knife and then microwave for a few minutes or until you can more easily complete the task. This will also shave a few minutes off the roasting time.

 

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

If you’re a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds, save them and follow these easy instructions. Helpful hint: If you spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for a day (even two), uncovered, they will become crisper more quickly when baked. (This is also helpful if you simply don’t have time right away!)

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

A light-colored metal baking pan is ideal for this, as it promotes even cooking. Mine was already in use, so I used a glass Pyrex baking dish instead. If using a glass or darker metal pan, I recommend reducing the oven temperature in the second step from 350 to 325° F.

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

People in this house are usually eager to scrape out the last drops from cookie and cake batter bowls, but the remnants of the roasted pumpkin once mixed with the remaining ingredients are hard to resist!

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

It’s not especially pretty after roasting, but don’t be discouraged…

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

The original recipe considered the processing step optional, but I find that most pumpkins and squash require it for a smoother end result.

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

This is what the pumpkin butter looks like after processing. It’s lighter in color, lusciously thick and smooth.

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

At this point, you may add water to thin, if desired. The pumpkin butter will firm up slightly once refrigerated, so I err on the side of slightly thinner than I’d ultimately like it to be. If you’re not sure, feel free to err on the thick side and add water later, if desired.

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

I transferred the finished pumpkin butter to my quart-size measure for a good visual of the yield. This batch came in at just over 48 ounces, or 6 cups. The following day, I stirred in a bit more water for the slightly looser consistency I prefer, as the pumpkin butter does thicken slightly once refrigerated. For this reason, you may want to refrigerate the whole batch overnight before portioning it into jars.

ROASTED PUMPKIN BUTTER - If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. I could eat it by the spoonful...and often do!

I like to store the pumpkin butter in canning jars, which are suitable for freezing. (As mentioned, the pH of pumpkin butter makes it unsuitable for hot water bath canning.) Alternatively, Tupperware or similar food storage containers may be used.  

 

Homemade pumpkin butter makes a lovely gift and freezes well. As an added perk, the perfectly spiced concoction is naturally sweetened and will make your kitchen smell heavenly. I plan to make several more batches while a variety of winter squash and pumpkins are available.
Remember to save the seeds for a savory snack - roasted pumpkin seeds!

 

Roasted Pumpkin Butter
Yield: ~ 6 cups (48 ounces)
If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. The warm flavors add something special to toast, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, baked goods and more. (Hard to resist by the spoonful, too!)
To roast the pumpkin or winter squash:
  • 6 pounds (2 to 3) pumpkin or winter squash, halved and seeded*
  • Coconut, avocado or vegetable oil of choice for coating
To make the pumpkin butter:
  • 6 cups (2¾ to 3 pounds) roasted pumpkin or winter squash (from above)
  • 1 cup (320g) pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil or 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Roasting the pumpkin or winter squash:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush the cut sides of the pumpkins with oil. Place the halves, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a knife. (Cooking time varies widely depending on the squash variety. A delicata may cook in 35 minutes while a butternut or kabocha can take 1 hour. After optional microwaving to soften for cutting purposes – see notes – the smaller squash in the prep photo took 35 minutes and the larger took 40 minutes.)
  2. Using a spoon, scrape the flesh into a bowl and discard the skins.
Making the pumpkin butter:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. (See tip.) In a bowl, mix together the roasted pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil or butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Spread in a 9×13-inch baking pan and bake, stirring every 15 minutes with a spatula, until the pumpkin has become thick and slightly caramelized, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, give or take 15 minutes depending on type and size of squash used, as some have a higher moisture content that others. (Hint: The natural sweetness of winter squash also varies somewhat from one variety to the next, so somewhere along the way, taste the pumpkin butter. If it’s not sweet enough for you, feel free to stir in an extra drizzle of maple syrup to taste. Alternatively, you could do this at the processing step later.)
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and process until smooth. If it’s thicker than you’d like, you may thin it with water. (I added about ¾ cup to my last batch; keep in mind the pumpkin butter will firm up slightly when refrigerated. You can also stir in a little water later if you’d like to thin it for a particular use. This recipe is very easy to work with.)
  3. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. The flavor will improve over time and the pumpkin butter will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks and freezes well. It is not well-suited to water bath canning because of its low pH level.
Notes:

*The original recipe calls for starting with 5 pounds of pumpkin, but when I did this I had to scrape every last piece of skin clean and didn’t quite eke out the 6 cups called for in the second stage of the recipe. Also, because a pumpkin’s hard shell makes it so difficult to cut in half, I often pierce the shell with a knife and then microwave for a few minutes to soften just enough to cut more easily.

Tip: If using a dark metal or glass baking pan, I recommend reducing the oven temperature in the second step from 350 to 325° F. Conversely, if you keep the oven temperature at 350℉, the pumpkin butter will likely be done in about an hour.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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Comments

  1. Alicelynne Watson

    Which pumpkins do you prefer to use for cooking/baking? I have always used butternut squash (as did my Lancaster Co mom/grandmother) for pies and custards.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Alicelynne, Butternut work very well for cooking and baking. Really any pumpkin or winter squash that is sweet, flavorful and has smooth-textured flesh can be used. Besides butternut, I’ve often used sugar pumpkins, and there are a lot of varieties that are generically labeled as pie pumpkins. Lately, I’ve been enjoying kabocha squash. (Two different varieties are pictured above.) When I’m scooping the larger kabochas to mix with the spices, etc., I have noticed that the flesh is drier compared to the smaller varieties. However, the flavor and texture are still fantastic. I probably add a little more water where I mention the option of adding that. Different moisture levels allow for the variation in cooking time, too. I hope this helps!

      Reply