Gastronomic Gifts VI: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Butter*

December 20, 2008

*Or, Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. Now Eat Some Delicious Spread.

[There’s just nothing like a homemade gift for the holidays.  This year, with the purse strings a little tighter than usual, I’m determined to make at least a few in my kitchen–and thought I’d share my ideas in case you’d like to partake, too.  ]


I know that pretty much everyone in the blogosphere (well, and the rest of the galaxy, too, come to think of it) has already made this spread.  But hey, I’ve always been a late bloomer.  And now, I’ve finally tried it, too.  And it is so *&$@!% good that I had to include it as this (penultimate) Gastronomic Gift this year.  (I’ve got one more planned, as long as we can shovel ourselves out of the *&$@!% 25 cm. (just under a foot) of snow that battered the city yesterday and I can get to the store).

Pumpkin butter is the perfect means to use up cooked pumpkin (or squash, to those of us in North America).  It’s a great nut butter substitute if you’re trying to reduce fat and calories.  Or if, like me, you’ve once again allowed the insidious holiday-time profusion of chocolate and chocolate-coated/ chocolate studded/ chocolate-molded/ chocolate-frosted/ chocolate flavored/ chocolate filled/ chocolate-related-in-any-way desserts that seem to reproduce of their own accord on countertops and dining room tables and candy dishes and office desks and buffets and coffee tables and bar tops and glove compartments and pockets and dessert menus to override your (wobbly at the best of times) self control, and you find that you’ve now consumed more chocolate in the past two weeks than the entire GDP of a small country, more than Big Brother’s secret stash in 1984, more than the exports from Switzerland at Valentine’s Day, more than the full contents of Willie Wonka’s factory–more, really than you’d rightfully expect any normal human being to ingest under any circumstances whatsoever in a lifetime, except maybe under threat of torture. 

What? You mean it’s just me?

For some strange reason, I felt the need for a break from chocolate for a while (ahem). Now that I’ve made my own pumpkin butter, I can join the chorus and say that I, too,  am  smitten.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to pretty much any carbohydrate with a flat surface (or even a somewhat bumpy one–have you tried this on rice cakes? Divine.) 

But I must admit that my favorite use for the butter isn’t on toast, or a muffin, or pancakes, or any other solid food.  I think I love it most blended (using my hand blender) in a tall, cold glass of almond or soymilk.  Yum-mers!


It also makes a fabulous hostess gift, of course, and a wonderful last-minute present; it’s the perfect way to use up that final can of pumpkin purée that’s been biding its time in your cupboard since Thanksgiving. 

This recipe (the ubiquitous allrecipes version) makes a pretty big batch, so you can scoop some away for home use and still fill two or three pretty little gift jars with the stuff to give away.   If you can bear to part with it.

Oh, and there are still four more days to bid on some amazing prizes from Menu for Hope! Hop on over to the main donation page and give it a go!

Pumpkin Butter

adapted from


 Try this lovely alternative butter anywhere you’d spread jam or nut butter.  It’s got no fat, with the bonus of holiday spices all year round.

3-1/2 cups (about 820 g.) cooked, puréed pumpkin

3/4 cup (180 ml.) apple juice [but personally I think OJ would be great in this]

2 tsp. (10 ml.) ground ginger

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) ground cloves

2/3 cup (160 ml.) agave nectar (light or dark)

2 tsp. (10 ml.) ground cinnamon

1 tsp. (5 ml.) ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized pot.  Heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils; reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring very frequently, until the mixture is thick and has darkened (the original recipe said 30 minutes, but mine took a bit more than an hour).  This might also be a good time to pull out that old splatter screen if you have one, as the mixture tends to boil and pop a bit (my walls needed a good wipe-down after I was done).

Pour into clean glass jars and store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 2 cups (500 ml.). Will keep at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Other Gastronomic Gifts:

GG I: Fudge Two Ways

GG II:  Brandied Apricot-Ginger Spread

GG III: Marzipan-Topped Shortbread **Note: the original recipe was somehow transcribed incorrectly–please use the current version with the correct amount of flour!!

GG IV: Jam-Filled Turnovers

GG V: Tutti Fruiti Christmas Cookies

GG VII: Chocolate Macaroons in a Flash

Last Year at this Time: Holiday Cranberry Chippers

© 2008 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


24 Responses to “Gastronomic Gifts VI: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Butter*”

  1. vegyogini Says:

    I haven’t tried pumpkin butter yet, but I have been wanting to since I saw it at Trader Joe’s. Maybe I’ll make my own!

  2. This is such a nice series of posts. I didn’t get my act together this year to make many homemade gifts, but I did purchase a few locally made preserves and soap for gifts. This pumpkin butter sounds like a perfect holiday spread!

  3. Pearl Says:

    mmm looks SO good!

  4. Jes Says:

    I haven’t made pumpkin butter yet, but this post makes me want to, stat!

  5. Shelby Says:

    I’ve made my own but it wasn’t that great…maybe I’ll try this recipe!

  6. shellyfish Says:

    I just made my first pumpkin butter this fall & it was indeed orgasmic! I wish I’d have made more, though, cause it’s all gone…guess it’s a sign, I must make more! And blended in milk? I *must* try that!

  7. Courtney Says:

    Well, maybe *I* am the last person who hasn’t had pumpkin butter then…I made apple butter this year, but I have never made pumpkin butter. I have always wanted to though, and your recipe sounds perfect! Most of the other recipes I had looked at had called for copious amounts of sugar–I should have known you could come up with something that didn’t! I think I will make this and another batch of your fudge tomorrow!


  8. Lisa Says:

    I adore the idea of making “butters.” I made apple butter for the first time this year. The problem is, I’m not sure of what to do with them. I don’t use them like nut butters because I have never been much for spreading things on toast and such anyway. Thanks for reminding me that they actually are versatile. I like your ideas!

  9. Andrea Says:

    I’ve never made this—or even tasted any. Might as well try it now. It sounds so good.

  10. Diann Says:

    I love pumpkin butter and I’ve promised to make some for my aunt. She lives 800 miles away, still in Texas, just far north Texas! I had a recipe very similar to this I was going to use, but they had loads of white and/or brown sugar, so obviously I like your recipe better. Do you think I would have to process the pumpkin butter in order to ship it safely?

  11. Vegetation Says:

    Mmm I’ve been curious about pumpkin butter for a while, I’ll definitely have to try some! I love the idea of it in shake form. YUM!

  12. Jenn S Says:

    Thank you! I don’t actually ever remember having a real pork chop before, but i’m definitely not opposed to vegan ones.
    Mmm 🙂 Pumpkin Butter. Yes, please.

  13. Johanna Says:

    I’ve heard of pumpkin butter and been v curious as I love pumpkin but never tasted it. Am sure it would go well with a mince tart – it is mainly baked goods, not just chocolate, multiplying in our place – but no complaints!

  14. Johanna Says:

    Oh and I meant to say that I saw how cold it was in Northern America on the news – hope all the chocolate is keeping you warm!

  15. I have never tried this! I have actually never heard of it so apparently, I am a later bloomer than you. I have a bunch of pumpkins sitting here that i rescued from various businesses places and retailers who were tossing them out when they changed over holiday decorations. This is on my list for my Sunday cook-in. Deeelish!


  16. ttfn300 Says:

    too much chocolate? no, it’s not you 😉 I had to laugh cause now it totally seems like a willy wonka experience!! love this stuff 🙂

    thanks for the millet recipe, too!

  17. you’ve been too good to us this year! sending you and the girls warm snow-melting thoughts for the holidays.

  18. Hooray for homemade gifts! We’re giving my mom homemade ghee this year. Random, but delicious!

  19. I made this and it was amazing. One tip I might offer is that I used a whole apple, that I processed with the steamed pumpkin, instead of apple juice. I suspect that the pectin in the apple helped to thicken the butter. This is amazing and I have been putting it on everything!

  20. […] muffins, or Cakettes, and enjoyed them with a generous dollop of spicy pumpkin butter (inspired by this recipe, mine is below). This is a decadent departure from my usual serving of wholegrain porridge, but […]

  21. You’re not the only one! Chocolate has taken over my existence! Though I am not ready to take a break from it… *Smeagol voice* My precious! We wants it, we needs it! Must have the precious!

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