Miniature pumpkins are often seen at the super market with faces painted upon them. Their small size and bright orange color make them perfect for autumn decorating. Combined with exotic corn and small gourds, they make a lovely harvest center or mantle piece. With a quarter-sized hole scooped out of the top, they make great candle holders. But did you know they can also make great serving dishes?
First, select fresh pumpkins that are about three to four inches in diameter. You want them big enough to hold a decent sized serving. Always buy more than you think you’ll need, especially if you haven’t worked with them before. You want extras in case you goof up while cutting them, and you’ll want some extra dishes incase someone wants seconds or to take a sample of your creation home!
Wash of the pumpkins and let them dry.
Cut the top off, as you would for a jack-o-lantern, and scoop out the seeds and pulp. (Keep the lids intact, you may want to use them later.) It is also a good idea to scoop out some of the meat, as well. But don’t over do it – you need the walls of the pumpkin to be thick enough that the sides don’t sag.
Depending on the recipe you’re using, you’ll either want to bake the mini pumpkins before or after stuffing them. If you are baking them before, place the scooped out pumpkins and their lids in a baking dish with about an inch of water. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Don’t cook them for as long as you would to make puree – you want them to be firm to act as a dish.
The options for what you can stuff into your little pumpkin dishes are many. Here are some suggestions:
- Pumpkin pudding
- Corn pudding
- Sautéed vegetables
- Corn bread stuffing
- Wild rice stuffing
- Apple sauce (hot or cold)
- Pumpkin soup
- Corn chowder
- Brightly colored Jell-O
- Ice cream
Use your imagination and enjoy!