(Family Features) - Beginning cooks can learn a secret from experienced home cooks: canned, 100% pure pumpkin is a versatile ingredient for making quick, easy desserts everyone loves. Subtle flavors and spices ranging from apple and orange to cinnamon and ginger blend seductively with pumpkin purée. That's because its mellow taste adapts well to many flavors. Its smooth texture ensures creamy success for pies and dips. Its deep orange color adds visual appeal. Best of all, since it's ready to use as soon as you open the can, pumpkin is a time-saving ingredient that makes it extra easy for cooks of any skill level to prepare moist cupcakes, a quick bread or a classic pumpkin pie.
So if you've been waiting for a reason to try using pumpkin ... go ahead. Start with these family-pleasing desserts! The recipes are so easy and delicious, both novice and experienced cooks will be making them year-round. Just remember to share your secret.
Did You Know?
Raise your pumpkin IQ with the information in these questions and answers.
Q. What spices are in pumpkin pie spice?
A. Pumpkin pie spice is a modern, convenient blend of traditional pumpkin pie spices. Each manufacturer's blend will vary. It's also easy to make your own. To make 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, combine 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves and nutmeg.
Q. Why do I bake a pumpkin pie at two different temperatures?
A. Baking the pie at 425°F for 15 minutes sets the crust. Lowering the heat to 350°F will bake the pumpkin filling evenly.
Q. What's the best way to store pumpkin after the can is opened?
A. Scoop pumpkin from the can and place in a resealable plastic container. It will keep one week in the fridge.
Q. Can I freeze pumpkin?
A. Pumpkin will keep up to three months frozen. Simply scoop it from the original can and place in a resealable plastic container. Since pumpkin expands as it freezes, use a container large enough to accommodate this.
Q. What's the difference between pure pumpkin, solid pack pumpkin and pumpkin purée?
A. They are exactly the same: 100% pure pumpkin.
Q. What nutritional benefits does pumpkin offer?
A. With only 40 calories per 1/2-cup serving, pumpkin is a delicious source of natural vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A (80% beta carotene). It's also low in fat and high in dietary fiber.
Pumpkin Recipes Online
Discover dozens of ways pumpkin can inspire you in the kitchen. Visit www.VeryBestBaking.com to find more pumpkin dessert recipes, plus many delicious savory dishes.