Archive for Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Pumpkin as dessert is familiar territory

October 25, 2000


Last week I began a two-part discussion of cooking with pumpkin. Because we dispensed with talk of using pumpkin in an entree or side dish, we can now move onto the more familiar territory of pumpkin desserts.

As an ingredient that is tied to a holiday, pumpkin does double duty. Not only is pumpkin a Halloween theme but it also stays in play through Thanksgiving. The most obvious way to use pumpkin in desserts and sweets is as a pie ingredient. But we also have need for snacks and treats, to serve at school and gatherings where pie is cumbersome.

The following recipes are worth noting. The first, for pumpkin pie dessert squares, came to me from Lucy Price, who got it from her sister, Doris Burgert, who got it from her mother-in-law, Hazel Burgert, who with her husband ran Burgert's Shoe Repair for many years on Massachusetts Street.

The cookie recipe, which has a less storied past, is from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the 1970s.

When she's not writing about foods and gardening, Gwyn Mellinger is teaching journalism at Baker University. Her phone number is (785) 594-4554.

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Squares


1 package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 egg


3 cups (1 pound, 14 ounces) canned pumpkin pie mix (OR 1 pound can solid packed pumpkin with 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar)

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk


1 cup reserved cake mix

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease bottom of 9-inch by 13-inch pan.

Reserve 1 cup of cake mix for topping. In a medium bowl, combine remaining cake mix, 1/2 cup butter and 1 egg. Press into pan.

Prepare filling by combining all ingredients. Stir until smooth. Pour filling batter over crust.

Thoroughly combine all ingredients for topping; sprinkle over filling.

Bake for 45 minutes to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If desired, serve with whipped topping.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Butter frosting, optional, recipe follows

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar together. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla; beat well. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Add to creamed mixture; blend well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons, 2 inches apart, on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes to 15 minutes. Remove from sheet. Frost with butter frosting, if desired.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Butter frosting

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons light cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the butter or margarine; gradually add half the sugar, blending well. Beat in 1 tablespoon of the cream and the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Gradually blend in the remaining sugar. Add the remaining tablespoon of light cream to the mixture to make the frosting of spreading consistency.

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