Harry Potter Book Club: Pumpkin Recipes

Greetings from Hagrid's garden and hut, where I've been cooking pumpkin! I don't know where either of my co-hostesses are—last time I checked in with Christie, she was headed up to see Madam Pomfrey, and Masha's probably down in the Potions dungeon, chatting with Snape—and honestly, it's probably a good thing they're AWOL since I fell asleep on the couch this morning instead of reading or writing.

Merlin's pants! Saturday's concert was splendid, quite magical, but the stage fright was nearly as murderous as old Voldy. Especially during the first piece I was in (Faure's "In Paradisum"). Trying to sing an accidental-heavy alto part in a very controlled straight tone is challenging enough without also having to ignore your own arms. I had to pretend mine belonged to unfortunate, invisible people standing on either side of me. They were shaking much too hard to be of any use for things like, say, turning the pages of my music. I think I'm still recovering from the adrenaline surge. Hence, the almost-unprecedented morning nap.

Standard performer's advice for wizards and witches is to picture everybody dressed as Muggles.* This thought did occur as I filed into position, and it did make me smirk briefly, but a good Soothing Charm or Draught of Peace would've been more useful.

Anyway, pumpkin! I promise Hagrid didn't help me with the following. He's an excellent gamekeeper and pumpkin-grower, but a lousy cook.

Art by Azurehusky

Before we begin in earnest, I should say that I have attempted to make a pumpkin liqueur, and I do not recommend that, at least not the way we tried it, which was uncooked pumpkin steeped in plain vodka with sugar and spices. Raw pumpkin, when boozed up, gets dejected and insists that it is only squash and it can never be anything but squash, and that's not pleasant for anybody.

Now we begin in earnest! First, the pumpkin requires baking, which is simple enough (thanks for this recipe, sister-in-law Lindsey <3):

  • Set your oven to 350 degrees
  • Wash and dry your pumpkin
  • Stab a few holes in the pumpkin with a fork or knife so it doesn't explode in your oven
  • Place pumpkin in a dish or baking sheet with sides (it will leak juice everywhere)
  • Bake pumpkin for about 1 1/2 hours, or until soft enough to pierce easily with fork

You'll need a very LARGE oven to cook one of
Hagrid's pumpkins.
Mine, however, fit in a regular oven.
 When the pumpkin is cooked, peel it (this is SO much easier when it's cooked than when it's raw) and separate the seeds and the juice from the pumpkin flesh.

Pumpkin juice!

Warning: my experiments in making pumpkin juice were just that—experiments. I tried to more or less follow these recipes. None of them turned out particularly well, but here are the attempts and the verdicts.

Attempt #1: Plain pumpkin juice.

Verdict: Tolerably drinkable. At least, unlike the liqueur, it tastes like pumpkin rather than zucchini.

Attempt #2: Straight pumpkin juice with a little honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.

Verdict: This might actually be decent if done up in quantity, with more sweetener than I used.

Attempt #3: Half pumpkin juice, half apple juice, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg

Verdict: Tastes like apple juice.

Attempt #4: Pumpkin juice and puree cut with a little apple juice, sweetened with honey

Verdict: Still tastes like apple juice.

Attempt #5: Pumpkin puree with pineapple juice, a hint of apple juice, honey, and sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.

Verdict: Flavorful, but way too pulpy, and does not taste like pumpkin at all.

Final verdict: If I were going to make pumpkin juice just to drink, I'd do the following:

Pumpkin Juice (Warning: Untested)

  • Run some pumpkin through a juicer or save the liquid from a baked pumpkin
  • Add a fair bit of sugar, maybe one part sugar to two parts juice
  • Sprinkle in some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice
  • Heat it to just below the boiling point, dissolving sugar and spices
  • Chill and serve

I'm not trying that one on company till I've tried it on myself, though. Attempt at your own risk.

Much more successful were the roasted pumpkin seeds:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Separate seeds from all pulp, rinse well, and pat dry with paper towels
  • Grease a baking sheet well with olive oil
  • Spread seeds in the oil and sprinkle with garlic salt, black pepper, and a dash of cayenne
  • Toss seeds in oil and spices and spread into a thin layer for baking
  • Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees... in my oven, anyhow. You may want to check yours at 15 minutes.

The third recipe was also quite successful: pumpkin pancakes. Unfortunately for the blog, I was too busy frying eggs to take photos of this.

Pumpkin Pancakes

This recipe is shamelessly adapted from here; that one wanted salt and oil in the batter. The original spice measurements are below, but I doubled them.

  • ¾ cup unbleached white flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or stick with white for lighter cakes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch powdered ginger
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup cooked pumpkin

Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and stir till blended. Fry on a buttered griddle, flipping when pancakes puff and bubble slightly.

These were so good with syrup and fried eggs, crispy bacon and coffee...

Happy post-Halloween cooking! Hopefully we'll get back to reading Potter this week.

* Okay, I never picture anybody anything when I'm onstage. But that particular thought often comes to mind, and it never fails to make me smile, so it is of some use.

NB: If "picture everybody dressed as Muggles" doesn't sound like a really funny joke to you, it'll make sense when we get to book four. ;)


  1. Good guess!! But apparently forgetting to eat before sampling potions is a sure recipe for one very dizzy night and a morning all-over in aches..:(

    We've been having our road done, which requires way more over-seeing on my part than expected, and the un-social Slytherin in me felt the need for an Introvert's Own Infusion..

    I've never been able to imagine pumpkin juice tasting good! Kudos to you for giving it a go..and I might just make those pancakes tomorrow..right before I put up my Harry Potter post - for real this time!!! :)

    1. Oh, no--sorry about the dizzy night and achy morning!

      This Hufflepuff will probably be wanting to disappear into the furthest recesses of the dormitory burrow when we're having our heating system redone in a couple of weeks, so yeah. I totally sympathize with your inner un-social Slytherin. Got a recipe for that Introvert's Own Infusion? I think I'm going to need some....

      Looking forward to your Potter post!! :)

  2. Nothing that won't have you buried under the covers, yelling at Maia to walk quieter, and hating me for offering it... yet... but I'll get it together! Snape's given me some pointers :)


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