Friday, October 15, 2010

the weekend baker - the great pumpkin!

The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2010...?
Imagine going to your favorite supermarket and.... the canned pumpkin shelf is EMPTY! You speed from store to store, in search of that elusive can of pureed curcubit. Panic begins to set in as you realize that you may never again see a can of pumpkin on a store shelf. Never, I tell you!
That's certainly how I felt recently. Fortunately I found a can hiding in a cabinet in my kitchen but it could have been curtains for pumpkin pie and pumpkin bars this year. I jokingly told people that I was going to sell that can for thirty bucks on Ebay. Then I discovered that people really have been doing that.
The cause of the shortage depends on who you talk to and where you get your news. The Washington Post says that there was too much rain, making it difficult to harvest the pumpkins. During a recent visit to a pumpkin farm in my area, I overheard the grower telling a customer that the plants were not being pollinated properly and that was the problem. Either way, I've recently noticed that supplies of canned pumpkin seem to be returning to stores and now we can all breathe a little easier about that Thanksgiving pie!
Another autumn favorite is pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. Delicious, a favorite of all, and easy (if you can just find a can of pumpkin).
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I like to use safflower)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl. Combine all of the dry ingredients and gradually add to the pumpkin mixture, mixing well.
Pour batter into an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.
For the frosting, beat together:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter (half of a stick), softened
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, or as needed for desired consistency
Spread frosting over bars and decorate them if you wish (they look very cute with candy pumpkins, or with icing "webs"). Makes 20 to 24 pumpkin bars.


Anonymous said...

Yummy! I can't wait to try this!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

I can send you a can of pumpkin if you need it, LOL.

Stephanie said...

yumm! i've been baking with pumpkin and i cannot get enough of it! so perfect for the crisp weather

~k said...

Those look so cute and delish! A restaurant I was at over the weekend has been waiting two months for their pumpkin supply!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

We're just now starting to see more canned pumpkin in Illinois (where the disaster started, apparently, LOL).


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