Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jarrahdale pumpkin

Please meet some of the pumpkins and squashes from Maxwell Farm, at Union Square New York on Mondays. The blue lobed pumpkin in the center is the one I took home. According Elizabeth Schneider’s vegetable book, this is a Jarrahdale Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima, hundert-funtike dinye). This variety has the purest deepest clearest flavor of any of the pumpkins. It seems so mild, but steely strength is wrapped up in its purity and clarity. It is the Lillian Gish of pumpkins.
Almost all recipes will tell you to cut open the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and fibers before baking. I find that it is easier for me to put the whole pumpkin in the oven in a pyrex pie plate of a suitable diameter and then eviscerate the pumpkin when it is nice and soft. The only thing you need to watch is that the whole pumpkin will exude lots of water while baking, so you need to tip the dish and drain it out once or twice during baking. This is still easier than breaking into a honking great pumpkin.
You can use the baked and drained pulp for pies, pumpkin cheesecake (recipe coming soon), or The Chocolate Lady’s gorgeous pumpkin challah, but this pumpkin is so pretty that I like even more to keep it whole and fill it with my grandmother’s cornflake stuffing and braised wild rice tempeh. Here's the challah recipe for now:
Pumpkin Koyletsh or Khale (Challah)
(yummy, meltingly toothsome, yellow as yellow can be)
½ cup water
3 packages yeast
1 cup Jarrahdale pumpkin pulp (or cheese pumpkin or butternut squash pulp)
1/4 cup olive oil or other oil
1 ½ eggs
4 yolks
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup honey
6 cups bread flour
½ egg
1 teaspoon water
poppy seeds (or sesame, maybe a few pumpkin seeds)
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in mixing bowl and allow to proof. Add oil, salt, sugar, pumpkin and eggs and mix well. Add the flour and mix and knead until a stiff dough forms. Set aside and allow to raise in an oiled bowl about one hour or until doubled in size. Divide into twelve pieces and roll each piece into a smooth seamless sphere. Roll each dough lump slightly to elongate. Go back to dough lump number one and roll each one a little more. Continue until you have twelve ropes about 12-15 inches long. Braid into two khales of six strands each.. To braid six strands, fasten them at the top, then move the leftmost rope to the center, and the rightmost but one to the left. Then move the rightmost to the center, and the leftmost but one to the right. Continue to the bottom and pinch the ends together.
Allow the khales to rest 40 minutes or so. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush with remaining half egg beaten with a teaspoon of water and sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown.
This recipe, along with some wonderful pictures, appears in Yiddish here.
Bonus Lillian Gish trivia: “Lillian Gish” is Cockney rhyming slang for “fish” See the Cockney Bible eg: “They told 'im, ‘We've got five loaves of Uncle Fred and two Lillian Gish’.”
Have a shifty at pictures of some squash varieties.

Schneider, Elizabeth. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini : The Essential Reference : 500 Recipes and 275 Photographs. 1st ed. New York: Morrow, 2001.

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Blogger Amy W. said...

pumpkin challah - sounds great!!

4:51 PM  
Blogger yidishekinder said...

Eve - Tsi volt ikh gekent dos makhn mit batate puree onshtot?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yum, sounds great!

8:17 PM  

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