it's still pumpkin season
And they’re still available everywhere at decreasing prices up here in Québec. I took advantage of the opportunity and bought two big beautiful pumpkins a couple of days ago. I’m not too fond of wasting our products and I think it’s a bit too early to start talking about gingerbread cookies and candy canes and don’t get me wrong, I love christmas as much as the next person but jumping in too early in Santa’s sleigh kinda messes up the charm of the season in my opinion. Anyway, I try to add some variety through seasonal products and even though I had no idea what to do when I got them, I knew something would come to mind eventually.
GRANDMA’S PUMPKIN RECIPE
So one of these cold mornings, I was looking among some old recipe books from Québec in the archives something that would serve as inspiration for an apple crisp recipe and stumbled upon a curious classic twist on pumpkin jam. Pineapple, quite exotic back then for us north-american folk, was the complementary ingredient of choice. As I was going through the recipe all I could think of was how would pumpkin and pineapple fit together and surprised a bit to learn that pineapple was already in the culinary panorama back then.
EXOTIC = EXPENSIVE
Oftentimes, my dad shares with me stories about the good old days of yore. For Christmas, for example, his mom would thread a scarf or some mittens, he would get a toy truck and some candy in his christmas sock, but the highlight of it all? An orange. Exotic produce was - not surprisingly - quite expensive back then as the international commerce landscape was different. I was able to find some documents regarding imports back in (what year?) and found that pineapple for example, wasn’t brought in great volumes - considering the size of the canadian population - but the canned variety was much more popular (perishables were much harder to transport over such long distances I guess). I can’t ask grandma anymore but maybe the lack of popularity was also due to most people not knowing how to deal with this weird, yellow prickly fruit from the tropics. As a side note. I prefer much more a colombian variety of pineapple called “honey-gold” (oro miel: due to its colour and sweetness). Not sure if it can be found elsewhere in the world, but we’ll talk about it another day.
PUMPKIN MEANS AUTUMN, AND AUTUMN RHYMES WITH COMFORT
It’s autumn. Rain falls as much as the leaves from the trees and the coldness makes us think about warm drinks, sweet treats and a blanket by the fire. We look for comfort in these things so I thought I’d come up with some edible comfort in the shape of donuts. Now we all know the downsides of fried bread with sweet glaze on top, so I took a stab at creating something slightly less sinful using my oven instead of my deep fryer.
PUMPKIN & PINEAPPLES, NOTHING TO LOSE
So baked pumpkin donuts was the deal, but I was still uncertain about how the acidity of pineapple would pair with the pumpkin’s particular taste and texture and even when I would mention the pairing to my friends and family they all seemed to have the same skeptical and confused expression in their faces.
So I thought it doesn’t hurt to try, and it seemed ananas were going to make an appearance as the glaze on top, but trying an early variation made me realize the acidity from pineapple needed a bit of softening around the edges. Cream cheese felt like a right fit also to make up for the lack of frying. The result was a soft, fruity and creamy glaze that complemented the pumpkin earthy flavour to perfection. Can't have just one and since we skipped the fryer, indulging in more than one is quite acceptable lol.