August 29, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Bites

Chunks of fresh pumpkin are candied in an aromatic blend of spices to create a sweet fall treat that melts in your mouth. Be sure to buy pumpkins that are labeled “baking” or “pie” pumpkins—the decorative Halloween-style pumpkins are not meant for cooking or eating.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:

* 3-lb whole pumpkin (2 lbs of pumpkin flesh)
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 1-inch section of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
* 1/2 tsp ground cloves
* 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preparation:

1. Cut the pumpkin in half, and remove the seeds and as much stringy pulp as you can.

2. Remove the pumpkin’s skin. I have found that the easiest way to do this is to cut it into quarters and use a sharp vegetable peeler. If your peeler isn’t suited to the task, you can use a knife, being sure to remove as little flesh as possible.

3. Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch chunks, and place the chunks in a medium saucepan.

4. Pour water over the pumpkin until all pieces are covered. Cover, and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.

5. After 15 minutes, stir in the brown sugar, and add the cinnamon sticks, chopped ginger, and spices.

6. Cover again and boil for another 15 minutes.

7. Turn off the heat and let the pumpkin sit in the spiced syrup overnight. This step can be shortened or omitted, but it helps the pumpkin to retain as much flavor as possible.

8. After its overnight soak, remove the pumpkin from the liquid and place it on a drying rack set over waxed paper. Move the pieces so that none of them are touching.

9. Allow the pumpkin to dry for at least 12 hours—again, overnight is preferable. If you are in a hurry, you can turn your oven to its lowest setting and place the pumpkin in the oven with the door ajar for 3-4 hours.

10. After the pumpkin has dried, mix together the ground cinnamon and granulated sugar and roll each piece in the mixture.

No comments: