Features

Goucher Eats: Pumpkin proliferations and fall folly

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

With a thunderous THWACK, a cleaver splits in half the orange oozy insides of the pumpkin, outside husk and all.  Fresh from the family garden of a friend, it is gleaming

Kathryn Walker preparing her pumpkin Scones. (Photo: Kathryn Walker)

Kathryn Walker preparing her pumpkin Scones. (Photo: Kathryn Walker)

with endless possibilities of consumption: pie, soup, bread; roasted, sautéed, raw … and then I realize that in the process of imagining the endless ways that this pumpkin could end up in my stomach, I’ve inadvertently sliced open my own finger.
Nine Band-Aids and a fair amount of spilled blood later, I’ve taken this accidental incident as a fairly strong indication that sometimes the usage of sharp knives, and cutting things in particular, is not my forte.  Perhaps I should try sticking to more docile things like scribbling in coloring books or analyzing flowery French poetry… In any case, myself and the pumpkin survived the incident, and giving into my desire for fall-based food products, I opened up a jar of pumpkin instead.
Aimlessly tossing some flour, sugar, and spices into a bowl alongside the emptied-out contents of the pumpkin jar, I let my mind wander off to thoughts of fall foliage and bonfires as I dashed around the kitchen assembling the ingredients necessary for pumpkin scones.
There’s something intrinsically wonderful about the coming of autumn, something that brings me back to wearing corduroy overalls and getting a whole tree’s worth of leaves stuck between the strands of my hair – The fires, the foliage, the soccer games, the cider; the brisk wind bringing winter into a very tangible and pressing reality.  Fall has a scent, a scent that comes suddenly in the middle of September and lingers through the deceptive days of 90 degree weather until the biting yet refreshing nights at the end of November when jackets are thrown on and cheeks turn rosy.  Knobby sweaters – wooly, but not itchy – impermeable boots that voyage through any slush and weather, leaves the color of goldenrod blossoming into various gradations of burnt amber, echoing the tips of a licking flame.  Rich mahogany hues, pies cradled in flaky buttery crusts, the embers and ash of a campfire lifting up and carrying themselves into the corners of your eyes and the tip of your nose… Imagery that made me forget that I had put scones in the oven five minutes earlier and needed to be removed pronto. Oops.
As soon as one batch of scones comes out of the oven, another one is put in and I continue into the depths of my fall nostalgia.  Hanging up somewhere in my parents’ house is a picture of my brothers and I circa 1990 something where we are crammed into a pile of leaves in the front yard.  I’m grinning the same devilish grin that I’ve had forever, the one that gives away the fact that I’m stuffing leaves down one of my brother’s fleece coats as he continues to look blindly into the camera lens.  Leaf crowns circumnavigate our heads, fall-themed halos that whisk away into the wind every so often with a bluster or whisper of a breeze.  I always came back from those leaf-jumping forays with at least half a tree’s worth of leaves shoved into my pockets or loosely attached to my body, somewhat similar to how I managed to become doused in a soft dusting of flour from the crazy dance of scone making and topping.
Pulling the scones from the oven while carefully drizzling over their tops, I placed them gently on the counter to cool, swatting away friends’ attempts to snag one or two for a snack.  Finally, ten minutes later, the call of, “They’re ready!” brought everyone rushing to the kitchen to pop a pumpkin scone in their mouth. Mmm, fall!

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F

  • 3 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2- 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 8 oz organic pumpkin pie filling
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter (3/4 c) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 c milk, mixed with about 1/4 c of lemon juice
  • 2 tbs vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c heavy cream

1. In large mixing bowl, combine flour through cinnamon.

3. With clean hands, work butter into dry mixture until it’s thoroughly incorporated

and resembles gritty sand.

4.   Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in pumpkin through vanilla into center. Still using your hands, combine ingredients until all the dry mixture is  wet.

5. Turn mixture onto a floured surface and gather dough together. Gently pat dough

to make a disk about 1½” thick. Using a glass cup with desired biscuit diameter, cut

out as many scones as you can and lay them on a non-stick baking sheet. Gather remaining dough together to cut out more scones.

6.  Bake scones for about 12 minutes, or until slightly browned. Let scones cool  slightly (about 20 minutes) before glazing.

7. While scones are baking, prepare glaze. Place the butter, brown sugar, lemon

juice, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk gently until the

mixture is smooth. Just as mixture comes to a light boil, add heavy cream and turn

the heat to low. Whisk well for 2 minutes, or until it is thickened and smooth, then

remove from heat.  Dip cones into glaze mixture, making sure to cover as much surface area as possible!

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