Pumpkin, a cousin of the zucchini and choko, belongs to the squash family. Although native to North America, it is used extensively around the world for cooking and even recreation – the traditional Halloween jack-o’-lantern is carved out of a pumpkin. In the kitchen, the pumpkin is versatile, with both the flesh and seeds being edible.
This is a good all-rounder pumpkin, suitable for soups, mashes and roasting. It has a pale orange thin skin and is easy to peel.
Small and round with a deep orange skin, this pumpkin is suitable for stuffing and roasting.
This is a large pumpkin with a ribbed grey skin. Its sweet flesh is best suited to roasting.
Also known as Jap pumpkin, it has a grey ribbed skin with yellow speckles and has yellow flesh. Great in salads.
This well-known variety has grey skin and a deep orange flesh. It is a good all-rounder pumpkin. Use in curries and roast vegetable mixtures.
BUYING AND STORING
If buying whole, look for pumpkins with firm, unbroken skin. If buying pre-cut pumpkin, make sure the flesh is without soft patches. Whole pumpkins keep for up to three weeks in a cool, dark place. Once cut, wrap pumpkin in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to five days.
What’s in season
Oranges: Cara Cara
PUMPKIN & PEPITA TEAR & SHARE
PREP + COOK TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES (+ STANDING) MAKES 8
Each substantial roll in this bread ring is a treasure trove of delicious goodies: it includes pumpkin, bacon and brie, which makes them warmed crusty stuffed rolls of sorts. If you want to up the cheese flavour further, swap out the brie for a punchy blue cheese or gruyère.
2 teaspoons (7g) dried yeast
¼ cup (60ml) warm water
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup (250ml) milk
60g butter, chopped finely
3 cups (450g) bread flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 egg, beaten lightly
500g kent pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm thick wedges
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 rindless bacon slices (260g), chopped
125g brie, cut into 8 wedges
1 egg, extra, beaten lightly
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
2 Combine yeast, the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
3 Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter is just melted and milk is warm but not hot.
4 Place half the flour, the salt and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, milk mixture and egg; stir until combined. Add remaining flour; mix until combined. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic (or mix with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook on medium speed for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic; dough will be sticky). Place dough in an oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
5 Meanwhile, place pumpkin on a baking paper-lined large oven tray; drizzle with half the oil and toss well to coat. Season.
Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Reduce oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Line a large round pizza tray with baking paper.
6 Heat remaining oil in a medium frying pan over high heat; cook bacon, stirring, for 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
7 Punch down dough, then turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 1 minute or until smooth. Flatten dough; place pumpkin and bacon on one half of the dough, then fold other half over. Carefully and briefly knead with loose fingers in folding motions to avoid breaking up the pumpkin too much.
8 Divide dough into eight portions. Push a wedge of brie into each, then shape each portion into rounds. Place rounds in a wreath shape on lined pizza tray. Dust with a little flour; cover with a clean tea towel. Place dough in a warm place and stand for 10 minutes or until risen slightly.
9 Brush bread ring lightly with extra egg; sprinkle with pepitas. Bake for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped; cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to prevent over-browning.
PUMPKIN, EGGPLANT & CHICKPEA CURRY
PREP + COOK TIME 1 HOUR SERVES 6
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion (150g), sliced thickly
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 fresh small red thai chillies, chopped finely
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