Have you heard about the Great Canned Pumpkin Shortage of 2009? If you are a baker, perhaps you have. I noticed this in October. I explained to loved ones "No pumpkin - it just wasn't there!" and was met with a suspect "...maybe you were in the wrong aisle?" Indeed something was up. 1/3 of Nestle's crops were ruined by heavy rains, causing an apology by the company for shortages in grocery stores nationwide.
Living in the Southern US, I could probably throw a rock and hit someone with a pumpkin patch. So, as long as I know how to roast a pumpkin, the natives in our Thanksgiving clan will not be restless.
Pumpkin Roasting Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut one small pumpkin into quarters and lay on a large foil-lined cookie sheet. (you may need 2 pans depending on the size of your pumpkin) Bake for 45 minutes. Pumpkin should be soft when pierced with a fork. If it is still a little firm, bake for 10 - 15 minutes longer. Allow to cool completely. Scrape pumpkin flesh from rind and mash in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Here's my very favorite Thanksgiving dessert to make with pumpkin.
¼ cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup canned pumpkin
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 × 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
I've recently noticed store-brand pumpkin has been fully stocked on the grocer's shelves where I shop. I would imagine the same is true for most grocery stores across the country. However, I would encourage you to explore the fresh option. Although not as convenient, the end result is much more rewarding.
I think we pumpkin-lovers just might survive this.