Faith Kramer's Tomato-Pumpkin Soup (Faith Kramer)
Faith Kramer's Tomato-Pumpkin Soup (Faith Kramer)

Oh my gourd: 2 punchy pumpkin recipes for fall

You might not realize it, but pumpkins are featured in many Jewish culinary traditions. What you do know is that, here in America, pumpkins and pumpkin-pie spice are almost official fall flavors. This week, I’m using pumpkins to transform some family favorites.

The Tomato-Pumpkin Soup turns tomato soup into a meal in an (optional) pumpkin shell crammed full of vegetables and chicken or turkey (a recipe that’s perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers). The curry seasoning gives the soup a slightly spicy lift.

Both pumpkin and pumpkin-pie spice star in the parve and vegan Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee Cake recipe. Pumpkin-pie spice is widely available. It is a fragrant, sharp and slightly sweet mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Use homemade or canned pumpkin purée.

Tomato-Pumpkin Soup (in Optional Pumpkin Shell)

Serves 6 to 8

  • Pumpkin shell, optional (see below)
  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (¼-inch thick)
  • 4 cups cubed raw pumpkin or butternut squash (see note)
  • 1 cup chopped red and/or yellow bell pepper (½-inch pieces)
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes or tomato purée
  • 15-oz. can puréed pumpkin
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 2 cups bite-size chunks of cooked chicken or turkey
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Chopped parsley

Heat oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until softened. Add garlic. Sauté until golden. Stir in cayenne, paprika, black pepper and curry powder. Sauté 1 minute. Add carrots, cubed pumpkin and bell peppers. Sauté 5 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes or tomato purée, pumpkin purée and stock. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover. Simmer, adjusting heat as needed, until vegetables soften. Taste. Add salt as needed. Stir in kale and chicken or turkey. Return to simmer. Cook, covered, until kale is cooked and chicken heated through. Stir in vinegar. Remove from heat. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

If using a pumpkin shell as your serving bowl, place warm or room temperature shell on sturdy, rimmed platter. Carefully ladle in soup to fill (about half of the recipe). Reserve remainder or use to refill.

Pumpkin shell: Cut top off flat-bottomed 5- to 6-lb. pumpkin, approximately 2 inches down from stem. I used a standard field pumpkin (jack o’lantern) for shape and size. Scrape insides clean using a spoon, being careful not to puncture the pumpkin. Coat inside and out with oil. Roast in 450-degree oven until inside is tender but pumpkin still holds shape, about 60 to 80 minutes.

Note: For pumpkin cubes, choose a kabocha, sugar, pie or other eating pumpkin. Peel and cut into ¾-inch cubes, or use precut butternut squash from produce section.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

Serves 6

  • Crumble (see below)
  • Oil for pan
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Faith Kramer's Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake (Faith Kramer)
Faith Kramer’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake (Faith Kramer)

Oil an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix almond milk, pumpkin, vinegar and vanilla in small bowl. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin-pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Add liquids to large bowl. Stir well. Pour half into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of crumble. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining crumble on top. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Crumble: Mix together 1½ cups flour, ½ cup brown sugar, 4 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. salt, 1½ cups chopped walnuts and ⅔ cup oil. Rub with hands until slightly wet crumble forms.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].