Ellie Krieger's Pumpkin Pie Muffins recipe. / Renee Comet / USA WEEKEND
Pumpkin, in the form of pie, of course, is a Thanksgiving must-have. I won’t be leaving the table without my share on Turkey Day. But it’s a shame most people relegate the delicious squash to that one dish, just once a year, because it has so much more to offer.
Pumpkin imparts delightful color, creamy, moist texture and mild earthy flavor to a multitude of dishes, both sweet and savory. It also adds a wealth of nutrients, notably topping the charts as a source of beta-carotene (an antioxidant form of vitamin A).
I like to stir pumpkin purée, along with warm-sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, into oatmeal, rice pudding, pancake and waffle batter and, as in the recipe here, muffin and quick bread batter. But you can also use it in savory dishes. Slice fresh pumpkin into wedges and roast it as a side dish, add it cubed or puréed to chicken or vegetable soup and pasta dishes, and stir it into macaroni and cheese.
When using fresh pumpkin, be sure to choose the small ones that are sold as sugar or pie pumpkins, which have a dense, creamy texture and hint of sweetness. And don’t hesitate to use canned pumpkin; it’s nutritionally comparable to fresh-cooked, and it can help you keep this wonderful food at your fingertips whenever the inspiration strikes.
• Cooking spray
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
• 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
• 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
• 3 Tbs. unsulfured molasses
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
• 1/4 cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, oil, and one of the eggs until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk, just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each one about two-thirds full, and sprinkle the surface of each with the pumpkin seeds. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Enjoy warm or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Yield: 12 muffins
Per serving (1 muffin): 205 calories, 32g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 7g fat (1g saturated), 2g fiber, 36mg cholesterol, 233mg sodium
Contributing editor and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger is best known as the host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite. Her most recent cookbook is Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy.