Pumpkin nut fudge
Submitted photo

Fall is the time of the year when we start searching for ways to use pumpkin. There’s always pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. Both of these would be great to serve during the holidays. While researching pumpkin, I couldn't help but think that surely there must be some new ideas that will boost the popularity of the pumpkin.

Pumpkin fudge came to mind. I didn't find this one in a cookbook. Many years ago, one of my sisters tasted pumpkin fudge while visiting her son in New Hampshire. She told me it was really good. I must admit, I had my doubts, but it was certainly unique enough to make me want to try it. I decided to use the "Fantasy Fudge" recipe using Kraft's marshmallow creme. After making a few changes, I was ready to try my experiment.

To say that I was pleased with the final results would be an understatement. I don't usually like pumpkin, but this fudge is fantastic. You can't taste the pumpkin, but it does add an unusual flavor that makes this new fudge unforgettable.

Several people tasted the fudge and tried to guess the mystery ingredient. My sister-in-law thought it was a new type of peanut butter fudge because of its light color. She was sure that she could even smell peanut butter in it.

This fudge is rather thin when you first pour it up and takes several hours to get firm enough to slice. But it's worth the wait. The recipe calls for only ⅓ cup of pumpkin, so if you use the canned pumpkin puree and don't want to waste what's leftover, you might like to also make Libby's new version of pumpkin pie called "Apple Butter Crumble Pie." Even though the title doesn't say "pumpkin," it's in there.

This new pie offers a winning flavor combination of apple and pumpkin. The baked-on crumble pecan topping eliminates the need for whipped cream.

APPLE BUTTER CRUMBLE PIE

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
  • 1 cup solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
  • Crumble topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, apple butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Add eggs and evaporated milk; mix thoroughly. Pour into pie crust. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Sprinkle with crumble topping. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Crumble topping:

In small bowl, combine ½ cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons softened butter, 5 tablespoons sugar and ⅓ cup chopped pecans. Blend until crumbly.

PUMPKIN NUT FUDGE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • ⅓ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ⅓ cup margarine
  • 6 ounces vanilla chips (usually found near chocolate chips)
  • ½ jar (or 3 ½ ounces) marshmallow creme
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Combine the sugars, evaporated milk, pumpkin puree and margarine in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil about 4 minutes over medium heat or to 234 degrees on a candy thermometer. Stir continuously to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and add vanilla chips. Stir until melted. Stir in marshmallow creme and nuts. Pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Refrigerate until firm enough to cut (may take several hours).

Contact Prudence Hilburn at prudencehilburn@aol.com.