The Fall is a season full of colors and flavors, also in the kitchen: it's funny, because many consider it the season when Nature stops actively giving, but this is far from true. Nature, in the Fall, offers a bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables, the taste and scent of which bring to us the comforting sensation of warm evenings spent at home, chit chatting with family and friends.
I think there's little as quintessentially autumnal as pumpkin. Now, you guys in the States make single-handedly the best pumpkin pie on the face of earth, but we Italians also have a couple of aces up our sleeves, when it comes to it. Here, we'll present you a simple recipe to make pumpkin jam, a lovely, heartwarming jam with spicy hints, which brings back memories of childhood "merende" in the form of the lovely "crostate" (tarts) Piedmontese mums used to make.
Pumpkin jam in very versatile, as you can use it to make, as said, "crostate," as a filling for cookies or croissants, but also as a side for Italian salumi and mature, strong cheeses. You could also just have it on a slice of homemade bread or, quite simply, spoon it out of the jar!
This recipe is very simple, but it takes a tiny bit of an effort, as you need to do the prep the night before cooking. This is because the pumpkin needs to rest 12 hours after having been mixed with the sugar. So, the best is to pick an evening you have no plans for and start on it, then finish it the following day.
Take your pumpkin, peel it, remove all seeds and dice it. Place it in a large saucepan and mix in the sugar. Put a lid on it and let it rest for the night in a cool place. Once this time has passed, you can finally turn on the stove and make your jam. Put the saucepan on low heat and add the juice and rind of the lemon (better if it is organic, as you need to use the rind), the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Cook, always on low heat, for about an hour. Remove the lemon rind and, if you would like your jam to have a very smooth finish, sieve it. This done, add the amaretto and stir very well.
While your jam was cooking you should have gotten your mits on a few mason jars, of course: now it is time to use them! Place the jam immediately in the jars, close and turn them upside down. Let them cool, then place them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and let the jars boil for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off your stove and let the water and jars cool before handling them.
Voilà! Your marmellata di zucca is ready!
Photo by Bruno Cordioli/flickr