As we approach Fall, my mind turns to the beautiful Southern Indiana Falls of my childhood. The leaves, especially on the maple trees were such a myriad of colors, the fields held scrarecrows and fodder shocks. Hay bales and colorful pumpkins were everywhere. But one of the best parts of Fall were the delicious desserts when we cooked up those pumpkins. Not only do you get some good pulp out of the pumpkin, the seeds are delicious, too. This first recipe combines those tasty seeds with walnuts and almonds for a tasty baked cluster. The second recipe makes a delicious layered dessert.
PUMPKIN SEED NUT CLUSTERS
1 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 cup walnuts, broken into pieces
1 cup plain slivered almonds
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease a couple of baking sheets; set aside.
Spread the pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and almonds out on a large cookie sheet with sides or a 10 x 15-inch baking pan. Toast in oven at 325 degrees 10 to 15 minutes until golden; cool.
While seeds/nuts cool, beat the egg whites in a large mixer bowl until soft peaks form (soft peaks will curl over rather than stand stiff). Gradually add half the sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form.
Stir together the other half of the sugar, the flour and the salt. Gently fold this mixture into the stiff egg whites. Fold in the toasted seeds and nuts mixture. Drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets by rounded teaspoonsful. Bake at 325 degrees 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets for a couple of minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Yield: 48 clusters
PUMPKIN SPICE DESSERT
1 cup biscuit and baking mix
1/2 cup quick cook oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup stick butter
1 can (16-oz) solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 can (13-oz) evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp stick butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl cut together the biscuit and baking mix, oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter until crumbly. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium mixing bowl beat the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together until well mixed. Pour pumpkin mixture over the baked mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
In a small bowl mix the chopped nuts, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter together until crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture over the pumpkin layer. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before cutting to serve.
Note: Great served with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.