It’s Progressive Eats Time Again!
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual progressive dinner masterminded by Barb of Creative Culinary and hosted this month by Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living! Jeanette has chosen Pumpkin as our theme today, and we all got creative and have some wonderful pumpkin dishes, both savory and sweet, to share with you! Take a look at our line up below, and you’ll find my the recipe for my offering, Roasted Pumpkin Herb Focaccia, at the end of the post.
Pumpkin Extravaganza for Progressive Eats
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is all about Pumpkin and is hosted by Jeanette Chen who blogs at Jeanette’s Healthy Living. With Autumn’s arrival, it’s the perfect time to start using fall’s harvest in our menus. We have some great ideas this month to use pumpkins in all sorts of dishes, both Savory and Sweet.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
Our group members are so talented and creative, so get ready to enjoy some pumpkin dishes you maybe never even knew were possible!
- Pumpkin Cappuccino Soup from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Pasta with Mascarpone Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Walnuts from Creative Culinary
- Kaddu Ka Ambal – Sweet and Tart Pumpkin Curry from Spice Roots
- Roasted Pumpkin Herb Focaccia from Pastry Chef Online
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies from Never Enough Thyme
- Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Gingersnap Crust from All Roads Lead To The Kitchen
- Pumpkin scones from Mother Would Know
- Caramel Topped Pumpkin Cheesecake from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Snack Cake from Miss In The Kitchen
- Skinny Pumpkin Chai Latte from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Roasted Pumpkin Herb Focaccia
I initially gravitated to sweet pumpkin, but then I thought: bread. And hard on the heels of that thought was this one: focaccia. I checked out a few pumpkin focaccia recipes, but the flavor profile was sweeter, with cinnamon and nutmeg and whatnot in them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think sweet when I think of focaccia, so I went the savory herb route–a ready made mix that’s really easy to find. Poultry seasoning. And that was that.
I used to make one or sometimes even two or three full sheet pans of focaccia every day at the restaurant, and I have a starter-based recipe that I’ve been using forever. I just adapted it a bit to allow for the pumpkin puree, and a new star is born: roasted pumpkin herb focaccia. I roasted a pumpkin and ran it through the food mill to get my puree, but know that this recipe will work just fine if you use canned pumpkin instead of roasting your own.
I am really in love with the end result. The pumpkin makes the bread look so sunshiny, which is nice when the leaves are starting to brown. And the earthy poultry seasoning makes me think Thanksgivingish thoughts, and I am a fan of Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy this focaccia as much as we have. For another seasonal variation, take a look at my Lemon Tarragon Focaccia. It is based on the same recipe as this one.
For the Pumpkin (sub canned if you don't want to roast your own)
- 1 small pie pumpkin
- a little vegetable oil for brushing
For the Starter
- 6.5 oz bread flour
- 5.5 oz filtered water at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
For the Focaccia
- 8 oz pumpkin puree
- all the starter
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 23 oz bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
- several grindings of black pepper, , to taste
- 12 oz filtered water at room temperature
- 1/2 oz kosher salt
- 1.75 oz extra virgin olive oil
To Finish and Bake
- extra virgin olive oil
- Fleur de Sel or other coarse finishing salt
- 1-2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, , coarsely chopped
For the Starter
- In a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the flour and then pour in the water. Stir until you have a shaggy dough and all the flour is moistened. Cover and set aside for several hours so the yeast can mulitply. You can make this the day before you bake and not even worry about refrigerating it. If you do want to refrigerate it, make sure it comes up to room temperature before baking.
For the Pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Wash the pumpkin, cut it in half and scoop out all the seeds (reserve them if you'd like to make toasted pumpkin seeds later)
- Cut the halves in half so you have 4 quarters. Brush the cut sides and empty cavities of the pumpkin with a bit of oil and place them, cut side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roast until easily pierced with a fork, between 30 and 45 minutes. They should also have some nice color on them and a lot of the liquid should have run out.
- Scoop out the meat of your pumpkin and pass it through a food mill fitted with the medium die. It should be about the consistency of canned pumpkin. If it seems loose and pourable, let it drain through a coffee filter until the consistency is spoonable. Cool to at least room temperature. You won't use all your puree in this recipe, so plan on making a pie or maybe some risotto or soup with the rest.
For the Focaccia
- Add all your ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer in the order listed. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and allow all the ingredients to get incorporated on low speed.
- Once the dough is fairly uniform in color and appearance, 2-3 minutes, increase the speed to medium low and knead for about 12 minutes. This is a wet dough and will stick in the bottom of the bowl a very lot. It will clear the sides of the bowl mostly, and the dough hook will eventually start pulling the dough in from the sides so it looks stringy. That's a good thing.
- After the dough is nice and supple, pour some oil into a large bowl and swirl it around to coat. Then dump all the dough into the bowl--no need to worry about forming it into a ball. It will be fine.
- Oil the top of the dough and cover. Let rise in a warm, cozy part of your kitchen until about doubled, 2 hours or so. If you have time, let it rise at room temperature. It will take a lot longer, but you will get a bit better flavor. Either way is fine.
- Once the dough is nicely risen, glug about 1/4 cup or so of olive oil on a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush it around.
- Dump the risen dough--without punching it down--onto the pan and let it sort of ooze out. Oil your hands and help it along. It will just about fill one 1/2 sheet pan. Once the dough is all fitted into the pan and about 1/2" thick, use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over. Liberally drizzle on more olive oil, allowing it to pool in the dimples. You can also brush it out so you use less oil. I drizzle with abandon, myself.
- Cover and let rise until the dough rises above the edge of the pan by about 1/4". This will take an hour or so, so go ahead and preheat the oven about 30 minutes in to 375F.
- Uncover and sprinkle on the rosemary evenly followed by the coarse salt.
- Bake on the center rack for about 20 minutes. If it is not browning evenly, rotate the pan and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the bread is a lovely golden brown and the internal temperature in the center is 200F.
- Let cool to below 150F before slicing.
Shop This Recipe
Here are a few of my recommendations for both equipment and ingredients that will help make life easier in general and also help you make the roasted pumpkin herb focaccia.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s Progressive Eats as much as I have. Please take a moment to go visit all the other wonderful bloggers in the group and save their recipes to make for your next Pumpkin Extravaganza!
Thank you for spending some time here with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.
Wait, one question. When you think “pumpkin,” are you inclined to go sweet or savory? Let me know in the comments. Okay. That’s it. Thanks again!