“The boy is fond of sweets… Cakes and pies, jams and jellies, honey on the comb. Perhaps a pinch of sweetsleep in his milk, have you tried that? Just a pinch, to calm him and stop his wretched shaking.”
-A Feast for Crows
People of the Northern Hemisphere.
Autumn is upon us, and that means obligatory recipes involving pumpkins.
Although, I have to admit that making and testing this recipe was not exactly a hardship. I did eat a great deal of the finished spread, just to make sure it was fit to share. You see the sacrifices I make for you?
Totally worth it.
I had the craving several months ago to make some pumpkin butter, but it was well before those lovely gourds came into season. I even eyed the canned pie filling in the pantry. And then the summer was over, as well as half of autumn, and now you can’t drive 10 minutes anywhere in New England without seeing a heap of pumpkins.
The smooth spread, made from a smallish pie pumpkin slow roasted in the oven, tastes of the season. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove complete the classic pairing. It’s warm and comforting, despite the knowledge that with the appearance of pumpkins, winter is coming.
I haven’t made enough to put up yet, but rest assured that I soon will. Although, I bet that in a mid-winter pinch, one could use canned pumpkin to great effect. Perhaps I’ll test that in the grimness of February, when any taste of any other season is very welcome. You know. For science.
Where in Westeros?
The Vale, for starters.
While pumpkin butter isn’t specifically mentioned, the Vale is known to produce pumpkins. Given the unpredictable political scene across Westeros, I imagine a savvy cook would put away whatever she could get her hands on, both as straight canned pumpkin, and as its fancier cousin. We know from the books that little Robin Arryn loves sweet foods, and I can easily imagine him scarfing down more than his fair share of spice pumpkin butter to break his fast, while Alayne nibbled elegantly at a piece of toasted bread with a bit scraped over the top.
Spiced Pumpkin Butter Recipe
- 1 small pie pumpkin, about 4 lb.
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (but definitely go for the maple)
- 1-2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons ground ginger
- pinch each nutmeg, cloves
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a small baking dish with aluminium foil or parchment paper. Place the pumpkin on this dish, and roast in the oven until it’s very soft and starting to slump. Remove from oven.
When the pumpkin has cooled, slice it up. Remove the seeds (they’re delicious roasted!) and scrape the now-soft flesh from the skin. Using a submersible blender, puree the pumpkin until it reaches a smooth consistency. Move the puree to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened considerably, and is a nice rich color, probably at least 30 minutes.
The finished pumpkin butter should be great for several weeks in the fridge, and if you pop some in the freezer, it should keep until you can get a hold of next year’s pumpkins…