Taste of autumn: roasted pumpkin

On Sunday I recieve a message from my sister: “ I have bought a pumpkin. How should I roast it?” While I am sending some instructions to her- who by the way haven’t roasted but crocheted wonderful pumpkins recently!- it makes me remember the time when I ate a looot of pumpkin. I used to operate my own French bistro in the downtown of Budapest at that time. I had two day-offs: Sunday and Monday, but Monday was already busy by preparing things and doing some shopping. So on my only real day-off, Sunday totally exhausted after a week of “cooking-serving-shopping-paperwork- morning market- midnight closing” series I was only able to do two things: eating and sleeping. And going for a walk with Beeper, of course. She was a puppy at that time and to make sure I don’t forget about her, she used to jump on the sofa and threw toys on me and barked at me, if it was necessary.
It was the time when I became obsessed by roasted pumpkin. I bought it at the vegetable corner shop and baked two different kinds: a sweet one for myself and a natural one for Beeper. After long, sometimes half-sleeping walks with her we made ourselves comfortable at my flat and ate pumpkin. Each one her own version: I had my caramelised version, she had hers with rice and meat.

We took a long journey since than: both literally and figuratively speaking. While I am thinking about this, I receive a new message from my sister. “I bring you a few pieces, peeled.”
I am delighted partly because after 15 years away from my family finally I live so close that she can pass by easily and partly – obviously- because of the pumpkin!
So it happens that on a cold autumn Sunday we make ourselves cosy on the sofa wrapped into blankets, eat the roasted pumpkin but this time already with other loved ones: Áron and my mother.

It is not an accident that I am wondering what if I roast pumpkin in this week’s blog post. Kata, my friend is most probably reading in my mind because she offers me a pumpkin which Imi, her boyfriend bought at an organic farm not far from where we live. It is really beautiful one, called “Nagydobosi” variety: grey outside, dark-orange inside. I must say it is a really photogenic one, I cannot stop myself taking photos and the taste comes only next.

I was experimenting with pumpkin quite a lot at the time of the bistro. I tried to make it savory and sweet, with cane sugar, with honey or caster sugar. Roasted unpeeled, or peeled and cut into pieces. Brushed with melted butter, roasted with a piece of butter or brushed with olive oil. I have to admit, I became obsessed by pumpkin. Finally this version became my favourite. I peel it and cut into smaller pieces because it gets a nice crust all around which I like. I prefer brown sugar to honey because it caramelises better and I think gives a nicer touch in flavour to the pumpkin. Instead of brushing pumpkin with butter I place a piece on each one’s top and sprinkle with sugar. This way the butter melts and runs down the sides while the sugar caramelises.
The other trick is that occasionally I turn the pieces and brush them with the melted sugar-butter mixture, exactly the way you would do with a nice piece of roasted meat.

Roasted pumpkin
Hozzávalók:
1 kg peeled pumpkin
50 g butter
80 g cane sugar
Preheat the oven to 200 ºC. Wash the pumpkin, cut into “cloves” then peel them. Remove the inner part with the seeds and put the seeds aside, dry them if you want to roast them later. Cut the “cloves” into smaller pieces and place them on a baking pan lined with baking paper. Divide butter and sugar between the pieces so each one gets a piece of butter and is sprinkled with a bit of cane sugar. (approximately a 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon goes to each piece) Bake pumpkin for 50 minutes- 1 hour by occasionally turning the pieces and brush them with the melted butter-sugar.

Ps.: Currently I am using an older electric oven, which functions perfectly but can be slower than the new models so consider that baking time can be shorter in case you have a new oven. If you want to make sure the pumpkin is ready to eat push it with your fingertip, it must be soft, sugar should be caramelised but not burnt at the edges.

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Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer is a food photographer, chef and writer living in a small village in Northwestern Hungary. Her bilingual blog, Taste of Memories is about life in the Hungarian countryside. While she is bringing new life into the 90 year-old house and orchard of 18 fruit trees she cooks and bakes her family’s old recipes and tries to preserve traditions and old knowledge about how to live in rhythm and harmony with nature.

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4 hozzászólás

  1. Válasz

    Branka

    2017-11-15

    Dear Judit,

    I am so happy to have come across your lovely website. I was wondering if you might have a recipe for a type of flaky flatbread that my husband’s grandmother made for us. She was a dear woman who taught me a lot of Hungarian dishes to cook. I was a very young bride and knew very little about cooking, so my husband brought her to live with us and she taught me many delicious and wonderful Hungarian dishes.
    One thing she would make for us usually in the evenings when we would get the munchies, are these flat breads. They were l think just flour salt an egg or two and butter and water. Not sure how she made them but they were like a crepe but thin and crunchy and when you bit into it you could see the layers. They were just delicious and she whipped them up in no time. I should of paid more attention to how she made them.
    I was just wondering if you knew what l was talking about and if you might have a recipe for them. I’ve come across a few of your recipes that are almost identical to how she taught me.
    Hoping for the best, and l just love your recipes and the stories that come with them. Thank you!

    • Judit Neubauer
      Válasz

      Judit Neubauer

      2017-11-21

      Dear Branka, I was so happy to read your comment and about your story! I was thinking a lot what these flatbread could be that you remember…Did she fill or serve them with something? I try to find out what it can be… let me think a little bit more. I would be curious what else did you learn cooking and baking from here, would be glad if you shared them with me! Nice greetings from Hungary and thank you again for visiting and reading my blog! Judit

  2. Válasz

    Branka

    2017-11-30

    Judit thank you for writing to me. These breads were never stuffed with anything but you could if you wanted to spread them with a bit of jam, but honestly they were just so delicious on their own without anything. I do remember once going into the kitchen and seeing a big round thinly rolled sheet of this this dough and she was spreading butter over the entire thing with her hands. What she did after that l’m not sure, but she fried them in a pan on the stove and they were crispy thin and very flaky,not sweet at all.
    I have no doubt that you’ll do your best to find what this was that she made. She was in her eighties when she came to live with us and that was forty years ago, so maybe it was a recipe that never made it into the next generation.
    She taught me how to make strudels from scratch and even though my own mother was an expert strudel maker, she filled them with things l was very unfamiliar with, one of them being butternut squash. We turned out several of those on a weekly basis.
    It really was such a wonderful and happy time in my life and just writing to you brings back the best memories. It saddens me when l see slowly this is all disappearing, maybe not so much in Europe because you still have a very strong tradition of food and culture, but here in Canada where l now live so few people even cook anymore, and have nothing to teach the next generation.
    I hope you never stop writing your blog and sharing your wonderful and delicious recipes and the stories that go along with them.

    • Judit Neubauer
      Válasz

      Judit Neubauer

      2017-12-10

      Dear Branka, thank you so much for your comment, I must say it made me cry…I am so glad that writing brought you back those memories! When I started the blog I hoped to create a space for recipes, stories, and memories, like a dining table, and when I read your story, I felt exactly like that…Sitting at a dining table, listening to you telling about your memories and I wished I could hear more! I am still wondering what these flaky breads could be…You are right, it can be possible, that this recipe wasn’t taught to the next generation, such a pity. Still, I don’t want to give it up! Do you have any idea, from which part of Hungary this lady was coming from? That could be a possible starting point. This strudel filled with butternut squash sounds delicious, do you still remember how to make it? In my family we never made it with squash. Did you roast or cook the butternut squash?
      For me cooking is so much more than feeding ourselves… It is about caring for each other, giving the sense of home and warmth and I feel it is so important to keep this little flame… Thank you once again, I am so happy for this connection. Looking forward to hear from you!

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