Are you familiar with such a situation, when you are in the kitchen looking around for something to cook without having a specific plan in mind? I guess many of us are. For me it’s happening on a regular basis, especially on Sunday when the shops are closed and I haven’t gone food shopping for several days. So I am left with a confined set of ingredients, which I need to put together to form a tasty meal. And that’s sometimes how I discover a new recipe! If you take a positive view of the situation, you could end up finding another dish to put on your favorite list, the one you normally wouldn’t think of. Plus+++you can finish up the food you brought without having to feel guilty throwing it away.
The outcome of such situations, I am presenting here, is this delicious baked pumpkin recipe. Since I still have half of the Hokkaido pumpkin left after the pudding I made last time, I decided to create a new dish out of it. First, I searched my refrigerator looking for other ingredients that could work well together with the pumpkin and what I found was a half-fulled package of feta cheese. Then, an idea suddenly came into my mind…followed by the picture above. I looked around further in my kitchen for the rest of the ingredients, which could add up to complete my delicious weekend brunch. And there they are, fresh basil leaves from the herb pot and tortilla bread. This recipe is very easy to prepare, but I have to warn you… It’s hard to stop after you finish your first portion :)
Baked Pumpkin with Feta
easy Sunday brunch with seasonal pumpkin baked with flavorful feta cheese
- 240 g (8.5 oz.) Hokkaido pumpkin, seeds removed
- 100 g mild Feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the skin of the pumpkin and make longitudinal cuts into 6 equal pieces.
- Put a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray and place the pumpkin slices on it.
- Coat each pumpkin piece all over with olive oil and season it with some sprinkled salt and pepper.
- Mash Feta cheese roughly using fingers and use it to fill up the cavity part of each pumpkin slice.
- Put the baking tray in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 mins, then reduce the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake further for about 5 mins, so that the cheese won't burn while the pumpkin is being cooked.
- Make sure the pumpkin is soft enough to eat by sticking a tooth pick into it to check, before turning off the oven. Otherwise, bake for some more minutes.
- Turn off the oven and bringing the tray out with kitchen gloves.
- Serve right away with a few fresh basil leaves.
- The dish goes well with tortilla bread or sliced baguette.
- You can also use parsley instead of basil leaves, if you prefer.
I won’t say that I really have a sweet tooth…but when it’s getting colder outside, you just want to curl up on the couch under the blanket with a little bowl of warm dessert in your hand. Don’t you think? Sometimes I am also fine with just a cup of tea, but still…I can’t stop thinking about the missing sweet flavor, which would otherwise make my afternoon teatime perfect!
Since it’s pumpkin season, I wanted to integrate the seasonal ingredient into my recipes. Actually, I thought I was already a bit too late but surprisingly when I stepped inside the supermarket, I still saw many types of pumpkins available. There were butternut squashes, Hokkaido pumpkins, the ones with oval-shape (don’t know exactly how are they called), and cute tiny ones for putting in a microwave. Out of curiosity, I chose to buy one Hokkaido pumpkin. I haven’t used it before for cooking and don’t know exactly how it tastes, but I just wanted to try out and hoping that it would work in the recipe I had in mind. Otherwise, I would just have to think about a plan B and use it for something else instead. Well, not a big deal.
Hokkaido pumpkins are rather rounded in shape and have a smooth skin with intense orange color and lighter orange stripes. The flesh inside is dark yellow and hard, but gets softer after being cooked and doesn’t disintegrate easily. It turned out that its taste and texture are totally right for the dessert I was making.
What’s unusual about this pudding is that I used coconut milk instead of cow milk because of two reasons: first, I love the taste and smell of coconut in dessert, and second, I can imagine that the mild flavors of pumpkins and coconut milk would enhance each other ideally.
When I took the bowl out of the steamer, it was smelling so good. So I just quickly moved on to the last step, that is placing some pumpkin seeds on top to create a contrast in color and to add some crunchiness to the bites. Finally, serve when it’s still warm with a cup of jasmine tea and find yourself a cozy spot on the couch.
Coconut Pumpkin Pudding
A warm dessert with a mild taste of seasonal pumpkin and coconut milk
- 200 g (8 oz.) Hokkaido pumpkin, seeds removed
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- a mixture of 1 tablespoon coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon wheat flour
- 20 pumpkin seeds
- Peel and cut the pumpkin into 1-inch cubes, then bring it to boil for 5 mins
- Drain the cooked pumpkin cubes and put them in the blender.
- Add coconut milk, egg yolks and sugar to the blender and blend the mixture at low speed for about 30 seconds until it becomes smooth.
- Pour the mixture into four small bowls and steam for 25 mins.
- After the pudding becomes firm, add the topping mixture (coconut milk + flour) onto the surface using a spoon, to make a white patch in the middle of the yellow pudding in each bowl.
- Steam further for 3 mins to cook the topping.
- Remove the bowls from the steamer and place 5 pumpkin seeds on top of the pudding, in the middle of each bowl.
- Serve the pudding while it is still warm.