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Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins

Halloween Recipes

Mini Jack-O-Lantern Brunch Custards
By Garris Johnson, Farmville – winning recipe, Five County Fair
Second place winner Brunch for a Bunch Recipe Contest sponsored by the Virginia Egg Council – State Fair of Virginia 2010

15 mini pumpkins
6 eggs
½ cup white sugar and ½ cup brown sugar
1 – 15 oz. can solid packed pumpkin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
½ teaspoon ground ginger*
¼ teaspoon ground cloves*
3 cups of milk, heated until hot but not boiling
½ teaspoon vanilla

Garnish: 1 larger pumpkin and 1 to 2 cups whipping cream, whipped

Make the containers
Cut a circle out around the stem as you would when carving Jack-O-Lanterns. Scrape out the seeds and pulp along with some of the flesh from sides to allow room for the filling.  Replace lids. Place pumpkins and lids in a large baking dish, not touching each other. Add enough hot water to cover half way up the mini pumpkins. Bake at 350° F. for about 30 minutes. They should be somewhat cooked, but still firm. Place tops to the side.

Make the custard
Place ingredients in a large bowl or blender and blend well. Carefully pour custard mixture equally into pumpkins. Any extra can be baked in custard cups. Cook for 45 minutes longer or until custard is set. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean when done. Let set at least 20 minutes. Replace tops. Store in refrigerator.

To serve
Hollow out the larger pumpkin. Fill with whipped cream. Place this in the center of a larger platter with smaller, filled pumpkins surrounding it. Cream may be sprinkled with cinnamon.

Makes 15 portions.

* You may use 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in place of individual spices.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Pumpkin Butter
From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms,

Spread it on your breakfast toast.
Spoon it into tart shells.
Use as a cheesecake or ice cream topping.
Makes a festive dip for corn chips or pretzels.

Uses only one ingredient (yes, one ingredient) and the slow cooker. Now, how easy is that !

Makes 5 cups

3 (29 oz) cans pumpkin pie filling (not plain pumpkin)
(nothing else - really)

Put filling into slow cooker and set on low. Don't cover.

Cook (stirring every hour or so scraping down sides and bottom) until reduced in volume by half - about 6 hours. Don't worry if you get browned bits in the mixture.

When pumpkin butter is done, turn off cooker and scrape pot one last time.

Let mixture cool in cooker 2 hours (uncovered) then puree with blender or food processor till smooth and any bits of brown are gone.

Serve cold or gently warmed in the microwave. Keeps a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

Cook's tips:
The size of the slow cooker used to test this recipe was 10 inches round X 5 inches deep. Adjust amount of pumpkin and/or cooking time as necessary for other size cookers.

Don't add anything else - not even water.

Covering the cooker will make the pumpkin butter scorch.

The pumpkin butter is done when it's caramelized (darkened).

Stir more often near the end of the cooking time. A heat proof plastic scraper works well.

When using a hand held blender to puree, transfer cooked pumpkin butter to a bowl or other container to prevent damage to the slow cooker.

Cook Up Some Donuts for Halloween
From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms,

Donuts are a fried food. There's no two ways about it.
Fried foods get their bad wrap from being greasy and soggy.

Here's how to keep your donuts crispy and light.

1. Use an oil that can stand up to high heat. The higher the heat of the oil, the crisper and less greasy the donut. Canola oil, white vegetable shortening and peanut oil all have high smoke points so they are good for deep frying. Never deep fry in olive oil.

2. Use tongs to turn donuts - never a fork. A fork will pierce the donuts causing them to absorb cooking oil.

3. Drain donuts on a rack - not on paper towels.
Paper towels absorb grease but hold it next to the food instead of draining it away. Crispy donuts get soggy and greasy. A cooling rack (like the kind you use to cool cakes) over a cookie sheet works great. Saves on expensive paper towels, too!

Deep Fried Pumpkin Brains
OK, these are really pumpkin donuts but everyone loves gross food at Halloween.

Not exactly health food but a little more virtuous (if you can call a donut virtuous) because of the whole wheat flour, pumpkin and canola oil.

Makes 8 (5 inch brains)
Best eaten freshly made

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large or extra large egg (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh-cooked and mashed)
1 1/2 cups milk (any type including soy)
Canola oil for frying
Granulated or powdered sugar for topping

Place a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to drain donuts.

In one bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk remaining ingredients (except canola oil) together. Combine both bowls, mixing till smooth. Pour batter (in batches, if necessary) into a heat safe pitcher for easy pouring.

Put enough of the canola oil into a heavy pot so it's one inch deep. Heat to 375 degrees or until a bit of batter sizzles and browns quickly.

When oil is hot, carefully pour about 1/3 cup batter into oil in a free form, squiggly circular pattern that's 5 inches in diameter. Cook until bottom is very brown (about 3 minutes). Carefully turn donut to cook on other side. When very brown, remove to cooling rack to drain. Repeat with remaining batter.

When donuts have cooled slightly, sprinkle with granulated or powdered sugar.

Halloween Sippers to Drink in the Season
From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms,

The frost is on the pumpkin and the kiddies are ready to trick or treat. Halloween will soon be here.

There's no reason to leave the grown-ups out of the festivities. A few adult beverages will warm a chilling evening.

Conjure up these fright-fully delicious brews in two shakes of a black cat's tail then stretch out by the fire. Perfect for parties. Enchanting for two.

Add some snacks or a bubbling bowl of ghoul-ash and get ready to howl.

Hot Orange Cider Toddy
Makes 1 serving

1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple cider (bottled, fresh or hard)
Cinnamon stick
A jigger of apple schnapps, Southern Comfort or bourbon.

Put juice and cider into a heat proof mug and microwave till steaming. After heating, add a jigger of spirits and a cinnamon stick.

Hot Orange Cider (non alcoholic): Prepare Hot Orange Cider Toddy omitting spirits.

Beguiling and bewitching.

Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup apple cider (fresh or hard)
1/3 cup Guinness Extra Stout (other beers or ales not recommended)

Fill a tall, frosted glass with cider and stout. Stir. Served very cold.

How to frost a glass: Place a dry, sturdy, empty glass into the freezer for about 20 minutes. The thicker the glass, the better the frost.

Spinster's Tea
Said to help old crones live a thousand years.

Put 1 tablespoon (or to taste) almond liquor (like Amaretto) into a tea cup. Fill with hot, brewed black tea. Add sugar, if desired. Serve with almond macaroons.

Maiden's Tea (non alcoholic): Prepare Spinster's Tea substituting 1/4 teaspoon real almond extract for the almond liquor.

Orange Frosted, Pumpkin-Whole Wheat Brownies
From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms,

Who doesn't love a gooie dessert?

These yummy brownies use whole wheat flour for extra fiber and pumpkin for loads of vitamin A.

Perfect for Halloween or any time!

Makes 24 (3 x 2 inch) brownies
Pan size 11x 15 x 1 inch (jelly roll pan)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick - margarine not recommended)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 (13 to 16 oz) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling - about 1 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large or extra large eggs (1 cup)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Position oven rack so brownies will bake in center. Preheat to 350 degrees. Grease pan or coat with baking spray.

Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Whisk in sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until center springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan. Spread with orange cream cheese frosting.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) softened butter (margarine not recommended)
1 (8oz) package cream cheese (light or fat free not recommended)
2 teaspoons grated orange rind (no white pith)
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Using the electric mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese and orange peel. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. When combined, turn mixer on high and beat till fluffy - 2 to 3 minutes. Do not under beat.

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