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“PUMP” up the Volume: It’s Pumpkin Season

Elizabeth Community

“The best pumpkin pie you ever ate isn’t that much better than the worst,” humorist Garrison Keillor once remarked. So how do we explain the current passion for all things pumpkin?

“Charlotte Talks” is going orange and digging deep into the topic on Tuesday, October 21, at 9 am. Experts will discuss pumpkin history, recipes, the best places to pick a pumpkin, creative 3D carving and more.

Amy Rogers
Amy Rogers

A pumpkin is a fruit, not a vegetable. Those giant Jack-o’-lanterns (yes, that’s the name of the variety) are the most fun to carve and decorate, but they’re not suited for making a pie. For that, you want a smaller, tender pumpkin such as a Sugar Pie; or a Cinderella, named for its resemblance to the fairy-tale carriage. To make a festive, seasonal soup tureen, try a Baby Bear pumpkin for its fluted edges.

How about political pumpkins? Each year, dozens of carvers gather in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood to assemble their creations into a giant Pumpkin Wall. Perhaps the proximity to Election Day accounts for this peculiar partisan pastime.

Are you planning a pumpkin party? Dressing up a pumpkin pet? Painting or carving something creative? Share your photos with WFAE on social media. Tweet and tag us with @wfae and #pumpkinpride.

Keillor’s comment aside, there are plenty of pumpkin preparations that promise to please your palate. Here’s a recipe Executive Chef Kyle Rhodes from Nan and Byron’s restaurant has shared with us:

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes with Whipped Cream and Maple Syrup

3/4 cup roasted pumpkin puree (one small pumpkin; see below) or canned if in rush

2 cups all-purpose flour

Credit Amy Rogers

2 tbsp each brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups whole milk

1 egg lightly beaten

2 tbsp olive oil

Cut the pumpkin directly in half and remove pulp and seeds, season inside of the pumpkin with salt and pepper and place on a sheet tray.

In the oven bake the pumpkin at 375 for about 35 minutes or until tender, let cool , then scrape out flesh and puree in food processor or blender.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, egg and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a non-stick pan coated with cooking spray for small to medium size pancakes.

Turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown. Top with whipped cream and maple syrup.

Serves: 6

And don’t forget to tune in to “Charlotte Talks” on Tuesday.