Pumpkins & Apples: Autumn’s superstars

Pumpkin pancakes with apple compote

The morning air has a bit of a chill and the leaves are changing. The markets are bursting with pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors; apples are ripe for the picking.

Pumpkins and apples have a few things in common: both are fruits grown from a seed and are often harvested by hand. While apples grow on trees and pumpkins grow on vines in the ground, creating delicious and unique recipes that embrace both is easy.

Cooking with pumpkin
Try a sheet-pan dinner of roast pumpkin, apple and sausage with leeks that can be cooked in 30 minutes. Oatmeal prepared with apple, pumpkin and chai spice is a delicious way to start the day. Try pumpkin pancakes topped with a cinnamon-apple compote. They are fantastic.

Fall is the season when pumpkin pies, tarts and muffins take center stage.

Fall is the season when pumpkin pies, tarts and muffins take center stage. Warm pumpkin bread with butter is mouthwatering. I tend to lean more toward savory and use pumpkin in a number of dinner recipes: pumpkin soup, pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter and mashed pumpkin. All are great ways to incorporate the nutritious fruit into the diet. Pumpkins are great in stews, chili and pasta dishes. Pumpkin shells make an impressive dinner. Fill the shell with a stunning soup, stew, casserole or, my favorite, risotto.

Sugar pumpkins are perfect for cooking. Canned pumpkins are easy, but there is nothing better than using fresh pumpkins. Roasting or cooking a sugar pumpkin in an Instant Pot makes cooking pumpkin easy. The seeds make a great snack or topping for salad or soup.

Apples versatility
If you’re a purist and want to keep your apples from participating with pumpkin, I totally understand. Apples are versatile and make great pies, pancakes, breads and spreads. While pumpkin spice lattes are featured on every coffee-house menu at this time of year, I am not a fan. I don’t care for pumpkin in my coffee, but apples are a different story. There is nothing that screams fall like warm apple cider. Spice up cider by adding a splash of whiskey and a touch of lemon to take your drink to a new level.

Apple Hill in Placerville offers all things apple and pumpkin. Take the family and pick apples or visit their pumpkin patch. Grab some cider, pick some apples and dance among the pumpkins.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Compote
From the kitchen of Priya Hutner, The Seasoned Sage

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 ½ C flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
½ t cloves
½ t nutmeg
¼ C sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 C fresh pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 T butter
1 C milk

Pumpkin Puree
1 small sugar-pie pumpkin

Apple Compote
3 C apples, peeled & diced
2 T butter
1 t cinnamon
¼ C water
¼ C maple syrup

For the puree, cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds* and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or on a silicone mat. Roast pumpkin for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F. Scoop out soft insides and mash by hand or in food processor until smooth.

For the compote, melt butter in a pot with apples, cinnamon and water. Simmer until apples are cooked. Add maple syrup and set aside.

For the pancake batter, mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix puree, vanilla extract, eggs, butter and milk in a separate bowl. Then add the dry to the wet and mix well.

Heat butter in a large pan or griddle on low to medium and ladle batter into the pan. When batter begins to bubble, flip and brown on the other side. Serve with warm apple compote.

*Save seeds and roast them for snacking or to use as a salad topping. Find my recipes at TheTahoeWeekly.com.