Caramel Pumpkin Beignets

For those of you residing in the northern hemisphere, forgive my intrusion into your summery mindset, but here down south of the equator, even in Ecuador, we are feeling a little wintery. So, if you feel you can’t bring yourself to contemplate warm, cinnomony, crispy, fallish foods quite yet, just bookmark this post for later. But if you’re like me, and pumpkin is welcome in your desserts year round, here you go, a pumpkin recipe that is sure to delight. 

You see, every time I’ve visited my in-laws, without fail, my mother-in-law has at least one pumpkin resting on the counter, just waiting for me to do something with it. Pumpkin is the kind of thing that grows heartily down here, but most people are at a loss what to do with it. This third visit was no exception, and there was a freckly green gourd greeting me when we arrived from Galapagos. From the looks of things (dust collected) it had been there for a while, but it wasn’t until my mother-in-law casually mentioned that I should think of something to do with it, that I decided to give it a go. I carved it up, removed the seeds and skin, and steamed it until it was soft, and then pureed it until it was nice and smooth.


Now, having worked with fresh (versus canned) pumpkin a few times in my day, I knew that it would be a thinner and more runny than the stuff Libby’s has to offer. So, this time, I took the extra step of draining some of the extra water out by placing a napkin  over a fine mesh strainer (probably, several layers of cheesecloth would be ideal here) and poured the pumpkin into this to let some of the liquid seep out. I was happily surprised by the results, which were far nearer the thick pumpkin puree than what I had expected.

That was the easy part. The hard part was trying to decide what to do with all that pumpkin (at least 5 cups of it). So I went to work scouring the Internet until I came across some nice little recipes that met my needs and didn’t require buying additional ingredients.
The first was these lovely little fried things. The recipe called them beignets; they looked and tasted more like what I think of as fritters, but as I’m not from the south (and the person who wrote the recipe is, apparently) I would never presume to make a definitive statement about the proper terminology here. I’ll just say that they don’t contain yeast, so don’t expect them to be a pumpkin version of beignets a la Cafe du Monde (never been there, but I’ve seen enough copy-cat recipes around to assume that their beignets do contain yeast).


(have to say, I love the weird sea-creature shapes these turned into in the hot oil)

If you don’t want the too sweet, just dust them with some powdered sugar and call it good. But if you’re like me, you might as well go all the way and make up some super quick and easy salted caramel sauce. So, so good. I may have eaten two hot spoonfuls of the stuff before I even got to drizzling, so you’ve been warned.

Please, please be sure to eats these fresh and warm. They’re okay cold, but it just doesn’t compare to warm, gooey, caramel pumpkin goodness you get when they’re fresh out of the fryer. Enjoy!

In case you missed it, here are the recipes I used: Pumpkin Beignets and Salted Caramel Sauce.

 

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