NYU students’ go-to pumpkin recipes

NYU students share their favorite pumpkin recipes and what these festive dishes mean to them.

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Pumpkin is known for being versatile with many different recipes. NYU students dish on their favorite pumpkin-based recipes. (Photos by Juliana Guarracino)

By Juliana Guarracino, Staff Writer

The leaves are crunchy, the weather is cool and everything is pumpkin-flavored. Every year, fall ushers in its annual wave of pumpkin-flavored goods. So why not embrace the theme and make some of your own? Stop by Trader Joe’s, grab the ingredients you need and procrastinate on that midterm with some cooking. Here are five pumpkin recipes recommended by students, organized from easiest to hardest and all equally delicious. 

Pumpkin Baked Oats

Difficulty: You actually make breakfast

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Looking to have something other than cereal, coffee or a cigarette for breakfast? Steinhardt junior Adriana Ugarte enjoys making oats in the morning and she decided to spice things up this fall. For her, it’s a healthy way to have dessert for breakfast, which is a delicious and comforting way to start your day on cold fall mornings.

Ingredients

• ½ cup of any type of oats
• ¼ cup pumpkin puree
• ¼ cup almond milk (or Trader Joe’s Non-Dairy Pumpkin Oat Beverage)
• Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, to your liking
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• Optional: chocolate chips, to your liking

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Blend all ingredients (except for chocolate chips).
3. Add to an oven-safe bowl and top with chocolate chips.
4. Bake for 35 minutes.

Pumpkin Stew

Difficulty: Lazy college student

Cook time: 30 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

If you are looking for a warm homemade dinner on a cold fall night, look no further than this family recipe recommended by GLS sophomore Sian Auer. This was one of the first recipes that he learned when cooking with his grandmother and it reminds him of her every time he cooks it. Though the recipe only requires a few ingredients, Auer emphasizes that it demands a lot of time, care and love. 

Ingredients

• 1 pumpkin, roughly diced
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 whole onion, finely diced
• Salt to taste
• 2 teaspoons chili flakes
• 3 teaspoons garam masala
• ¼ cup coconut milk

Instructions

1. Saute garlic and onion in salt and chili flakes until they are translucent.
2. Add the diced pumpkin and on slow heat; let it reduce into a porridge-like texture.
3. Stir the pumpkin. It should be a thick consistency, almost entirely reduced.
4. Add more salt, chili flakes and garam masala to your liking.
5. Finish with coconut milk and enjoy.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Difficulty: Being vegan

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

If you are anything like me, this recipe gives you an excuse to make an unnecessary amount of chocolate chip cookies. When I found this recipe by Texas Pure Milling, I immediately wanted to try it. As a vegan, I swapped some ingredients to create a version I can eat without compromising on taste. My mom and I have a tradition of partaking in all fall activities each year from apple picking to baking pumpkin treats. One year it was scones, another it was pie, and this year’s pick was cookies.

Ingredients

• 1 cup vegan butter, softened
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup white sugar
• 2 tablespoons molasses
• 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
• 2 eggs, using vegan egg replacement or a flax egg substitute (1 tablespoon flaxseed to 3 tablespoons of water per egg)
• 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, sugars and molasses.
3. Scrape down the bowl. Add the pumpkin, eggs and vanilla. Mix well for about 2 minutes.
4. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and spice. Stir well.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet, about one inch apart.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
8. Enjoy with milk, preferably non-dairy milk, and definitely go back for seconds.

A new and flavorful combination is found in pumpkin cheesecake. (Photo by Juliana Guarracino) (Juliana Guarracino)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Difficulty: Student who cooks without triggering the dorm fire alarm

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 6 hours

This one is for the sweet tooth. Recommended by Steinhardt junior Anna Roszak, this is a Paula Deen recipe with a twist: Roszak’s own spice blend. She often personalizes her recipes, even if it just means swapping one or two ingredients, as it helps her ground her baking style. Here, she decided to add cardamom, as well as extra cinnamon and nutmeg to make the recipe her own. During her first year at NYU, she made this recipe for her roommates, resulting in a fight for the last slice. Everyone she has made it for has loved it — especially its decadence — and I’m sure you will too.

Ingredients

Crust

• 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
• 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 stick salted butter, melted 

Filling

• 3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
• 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
• 4 eggs (3 eggs plus 1 yolk)
• ¼ cup sour cream
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon cardamom
• ½ teaspoon ginger
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Crust

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon.
3. Add melted butter.
4. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.

Filling

1. Beat or rigorously mix cream cheese until smooth. This can be done with a spoon, whisk, hand mixer or stand mixer.
2. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices to a large bowl.
3. Add flour and vanilla to the same bowl.
4. Beat together until well-combined.
5. Pour into the crust and spread out evenly.
6. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
7. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
9. Enjoy with ice cream or pecans (or both) for a Cheesecake Factory-level experience.

Pumpkin pie is a safe and classic dessert for the colder months. (Photo by Juliana Guarracino) (Juliana Guarracino)

Pumpkin Pie

Difficulty: Gordon Ramsay

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 8 hours

Steinhardt sophomore Grace Wongchaiwat puts her own twist on a classic Thanksgiving recipe from one of her favorite chefs, Chef John of Food Wishes. Wongchaiwat loves Thanksgiving, as it lets her experiment with new recipes for her family. This recipe in particular reminds her of the art of cooking and the creativity it involves. In her version of the recipe, she adds ginger and a blow-torched sugar coating. She also makes the pie crust more exciting with nutmeg and alcohol for a spiced vodka-infused crust. Give Wongchaiwat’s version a try if you are looking to upgrade this classic recipe.

Ingredients

Crust

• 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 7 tablespoons ice water
• 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg
• 2 tablespoons vodka

Filling

• 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 large egg
• 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½  teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
• ½ teaspoon fine salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• ⅛ teaspoon five-spice powder
• ¼ cup turbinado sugar

A familiar favorite, pumpkin pie is always best in the fall. (Photo by Juliana Guarracino) (Juliana Guarracino)

Instructions

Two crusts

1. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg and butter in a food processor. Pulse — in about ten 1-second pulses — until the mixture is mostly coarse crumbs. This can be done with a blender as long as you reach the same consistency.
2. Stir water, vodka and vinegar in a small bowl.
3. Pour half of the liquid mixture into the flour and butter mixture. Combine with three more 1-second pulses. Add the remaining water and vinegar mixture and pulse about eight more times.
4. Place dough on your work surface, pat it into a round shape and divide it in half. Form each half into a disc about 5 inches wide.
5. Refrigerate each disc for 30 minutes before use.

Filling

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
2. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg yolks and egg in a large bowl with a whisk or fork until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture and combine.
3. Fit homemade pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp edges.
4. Pour the filling into the pie shell and lightly tap on the plate to release any air bubbles.
5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
6. Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until the middle sets. You will know that it is done if you dip a knife into the filling one inch from the crust and it comes out clean.
7. Let it cool in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
8. Once cooled, sprinkle turbinado sugar on top and melt and crisp the sugar on top for a creme brulee effect with a kitchen-safe blow torch.
9. Serve and enjoy as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Contact Juliana Guarracina at [email protected]