Two weeks ago, Dave and Valerie from Sunnyside Farm gave me a Cinderella pumpkin, saying, “We bet you haven’t cooked this yet.” They were right. I’ve cooked Blue Hubbards, warty Peanut pumpkins and dark-green, lumpy, Italian Marina de Chioggia. But I had never cooked a Cinderella pumpkin.
The first thing I wanted to know was how it tasted. Grey and oblong, Blue Hubbards are sweet and rich. If you want classic pumpkin, for pie or soup, Hubbard is the squash for you. Peanut pumpkins, also know by their French name, Galeux d’Eysines, is mild and sugary. The “peanuts” are the result of sugars building up under the skin. Chioggia, on the Adriatic coast of Italy, is known for its candy-striped beets and it’s namesake pumpkin. Sweet, rich, drier and dense, it is the pumpkin of choice for gnocchi.
The Cinderella pumpkin, red and flat, is a French heirloom also known as Rouge vif D’Etampes. It is likely the pumpkin the Pilgrims and Wampanoags served at the first Thanksgiving. It is mild and not particularly sugary. It cooks down into a beautiful bright orange purée. Tasting more like dinner than dessert, I began to think of Asian flavors and dumplings.
Light Tamari soy, sweet palm sugar and rich, toasted sesame oil delivered the Asian flavor profile. Purchased gyoza skins were a valuable shortcut for wrapping the dumplings. Riffing on sweet chile sauce (thanks Renee!), we combines Merken Chile Oil, Tropical Spice Vinegar, Lancaster County honey for sweetness and red miso paste for depth. The satiny texture and rich color of the sauce paired beautifully with the cooked dumplings.
And now I’ve cooked a Cinderella pumpkin.
Cinderella Pumpkin Dumplings
Makes 15-18 full dumplings or 25-30 half dumplings.
- 2 cups Cinderella pumpkin purée*
- 1 tbs palm or brown sugar
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 tsp Sherry vinegar
- 1 package round gyoza skins, thawed or 1 package of square wonton skins, cut round with a biscuit cutter.
- 1 tbs hot chile oil
- 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp red miso paste
*To cook your pumpkin, scroll to the bottom of the directions.
- Combine pumpkin purée with sugar, soy, sesame oil, ginger and vinegar. Season to taste with a pinch of salt.
- Wet the edges of two gyoza skins or wonton wrappers. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of one wrapper.
- Cover with second wrapper with wet sides facing. Press together pushing out air. Cut around the filling with a biscuit cutter leaving 1/4” of wrapper outside the filling. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- OR place a scant teaspoon of filling in the middle of a gyoza skin, wet the edges and fold in half, pressing out the air and making sure the dough seals all the way around without filling squeezing through. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Boil dumplings for 3-4 minutes, about 1 minute after they float to the surface.
- Whisk together sauce ingredients and serve over cooked dumplings.
Roasting your pumpkin:
- Cut your pumpkin in half or quarters depending on the size.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Rub cut edges with olive or vegetable oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 400F until the skin and flesh can be easily pierced through with the tines of a meat fork.
- Remove from oven, let cool, and scrape pumpkin flesh from the skin.