Try this recipe and presentation at your next autumn gathering!
Pumpkin Punch Bowl & Cups
1 large pumpkin
Repeat the above step for each of the mini-pumpkins, and place a cinnamon stick in each mini-pumpkin cup.
Once your pumpkin punch bowl set is complete, you need to determine how much punch to make to fill your pumpkin. To determine how much punch you'll need to make, fill a 16 oz/500mL measure with water and pour it into the pumpkin. Repeat until the pumpkin is full, noting how many measures it takes to fill your pumpkin. This is the number you'll use to multiply the punch recipe. For example, if you've used three measures to fill the pumpkin, multiply the ingredients in the punch recipe by 3. So, if you're one of those brats who sat in math class and said, "When am I ever going to need to know any of this crap?!?," guess what? Now is that time.
Once you've determined the volume your pumpkin will hold, immediately pour out the water and pat the inside of the pumpkin dry with paper towels. Set aside until you're ready to pour in the punch.
"Jack in Jack O'Lantern" Punch
2.5 oz. Jack Daniels whiskey
1.5 oz. apricot brandy
1 1-inch cinnamon stick, cracked
1/4 t. whole cloves, crushed*
1/4 t. cardamom seeds, crushed*
1 12oz. bottle ginger beer
Combine the whiskey, apricot brandy, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom in a large cocktail shaker. Shake well for 30 seconds, then set aside for 15-20 minutes. Shake again, then add the ginger beer. Give it a few swirls, but do not shake.
Using a strainer, pour the cocktail mixture into your pumpkin punch bowl. Ladle the punch into the mini-pumpkin cups, and sip through the cinnamon stick.
* to crush the spices, simply place them between two spoons and squeeze the spoons together. This helps release the flavor.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
seeds from 1 pumpkin
1 T. olive oil
1 T. smoked paprika, divided in half
Preheat the oven to 400 and bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. In the meantime, rinse the pumpkin seeds in a strainer until all the pulp is rinsed away and they are slippery, but not slimy.
Add 1 T. of kosher salt to the water for every 1/2 c. of pumpkin seeds. Once the salt is dissolved, add the pumpkin seeds and boil for 10 minutes, then drain and let them cool until you can touch them.
In a bowl, combine the olive oil and half the smoked paprika, then add the pumpkin seeds. Toss until all seeds are coated, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the seeds are golden, then remove from oven, sprinkle with the remaining paprika, and set aside to cool.
Once they are cool, they make a quite addictive and very nutritious snack. Some people crack the outer shells and only eat the inner seed, but I prefer the whole thing.