Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pumpkin Nut Crisp

Pumpkin Nut Crisp
Dorcas Annette Walker

Autumn has arrived in a blaze of colors here on the mountains of Tennessee. Cooler temperatures and crisp breezes invigorate the atmosphere. Everywhere you go there are creative fall decorations in front of businesses and homes. Invariably among the straw bales of hay and pots of mums in dazzling arrays of fall hues you will see orange pumpkins in all sizes and shapes. We used to grow pumpkins in our garden when our kids were small. On a designated day we’d line up a row of pumpkins and with sharp knives begin carving up our harvest. Dawn and Dwight would always beg to help make faces for the jack-o-lanterns. They considered themselves quite grownup when they finally were allowed to handle a sharp knife while I hovered around them alternately giving advice and warnings. For some reason though once the jack-o-lanterns were carved and set out on our front porch both of my kids always lost interest in the rest of the pumpkins waiting to be peeled and cut into chunks, which were then cooked, pureed, and froze for future pumpkin pies. By the end of the day I was always relieved when the stack of pumpkins were reduced to quart containers sitting on my counter waiting to be stored in my freezer without any loss of fingers. The aroma of cooking pumpkin in my kitchen signaled that fall had arrived. This month I am going to feature recipes that contain pumpkin, which I’ve discovered along the way. Today most cooks buy canned pumpkin from the local grocery store- even my own daughter has been guilty of such time saving tactics. So grab some pumpkin, heat up your oven, and let’s get started on some holiday baking.

Cinnamon is a small evergreen tree native to South India. There is a more common kind that grows wild all over China and other parts of East Asia dating back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C. Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in embalming processes. Medieval physicians used cinnamon in medicines to treat coughing and sore throats. Cinnamon was also valued for its preservatives qualities for meat. In the first century cinnamon was fifteen times the value of sliver per weight and was used as currency. As a sign of remorse, Roman Emperor Nero ordered a year’s supply of cinnamon to be burnt after he murdered his wife. In the 17th century the Dutch seized the island of Ceylon, which was the world’s largest supplier and became a monopoly of the prized spice. By 1833 the downfall of the cinnamon monopoly began when other countries found out that cinnamon could be easily grown in tropical climates. Today cinnamon is one of the most well known and popular spices used in baking.

My Pumpkin Nut Crisp is a quick and easy dessert to start out the holiday season. I’ve combined a couple of recipes with a blend of spices to make this Pumpkin Nut Crisp. So stock up on your pumpkin supply as this dessert will quickly become a favorite to eat and make. My Pumpkin Nut Crisp recipe only takes around ten minutes to prepare and serves sixteen.

Pumpkin Nut Crisp

1 large can of pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp allspice
Mix together thoroughly in a medium bowl and pour into a greased 9 x 12 baking dish.
Sprinkle a dry yellow cake mix on top.
Drizzle one stick of melted butter over cake mix.
Finish by sprinkling one cup of chopped pecans over the top.
Bake at 350ยบ for one hour.
You can serve the Pumpkin Nut Crisp warm or let chill. May garnish with a dollop of cool whip and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: dorcaswalker@yahoo.com. For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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