Fabulous Fall Recipes

When fall arrives, it always inspires me to nest. I search out new recipes, spend weekends cooking and baking, and then test my creations on my friends and family. There’s just something about the chill in the air and the early sunsets that encourage a hearty, home-cooked meal.

Recently, we decided to hold a pumpkin recipe contest at Swansons for our employees. Everyone could create a fabulous dish – sweet or savory – that featured pumpkin. They were delicious! Not only did it make for the best morning meeting ever, but it has also inspired me to incorporate other fall flavors, like apple, cranberry, squash, and pear into my cooking.

Here are a few dishes to try this fall and winter, featuring recipes from our pumpkin contest, cocktails from our Holiday Gala last week, and other staff favorites. Bon appétit!




Autumn Bourbon Punch

Adapted from a recipe by Heritage Distillery Co.
Serve chilled or warm


  • 1 bottle (25 oz./750 ml) Heritage Brown Sugar Bourbon (or substitute any bourbon)

  • 64 oz. unfiltered apple cider/juice

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 1-2 tbl. crystallized ginger

  • 16 oz. orange juice

  • 4 oz. lemon juice


Mull apple cider by simmering with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and crystallized ginger. Cool and strain out spices. Fill punch bowl or beverage dispenser with bourbon and juices. Add 1-2 sliced oranges to decorate.

Note: divide quantities by 16 for 1 cocktail. Garnish each glass with an orange slice.



Cranberry Gin Fizz

Adapted from a recipe by foodiemisadventures.com
Serve chilled or over ice


  • 1 bottle (25 oz./750 ml) gin

  • 8-10 oz. orange juice

  • 24 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice

  • 36 oz. ginger ale


Fill punch bowl or beverage dispenser with gin and mixers. Add fresh cranberries and 1 sliced orange to decorate.

Note: divide quantities by 16 for 1 cocktail. Garnish each glass with a few cranberries and an orange slice.

Sweet Dishes


Marble Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies

Recipe by bhg.com
Makes 36 brownies


  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened

  • 1 tbl. butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

  • 1 tbl. flour

  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

  • 2 1/4 cups sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil; set pan aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1 tablespoon butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in 1 egg, the pumpkin, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Stir in the 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the 1-1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large saucepan combine the chocolate and 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the 2-1/4 cups sugar, beating with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture just until combined.

Spread chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture in several mounds on top of the chocolate batter. Using a narrow metal spatula, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake about 60 minutes or until center is just set when pan is gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into brownies.



Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts

Adapted from a recipe by verybestbaking.com
Makes 12 servings


  • 2/3 cup (about 15) crushed gingersnap cookies

  • 2 tbl. butter, melted

  • 8 oz. cream cheese

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tbl. sour cream

  • 2 tbl. semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffin cups.

Combine cookie crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Press a scant tablespoon onto the bottom of each of the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until blended. Add eggs; beat well. Pour into muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove tarts from pan; refrigerate.

Garnish with sour cream. Melt chocolate chips. Fill a piping bag or heavy-duty plastic bag with melted chocolate (cut a tiny corner from plastic bag). Pipe chocolate, drizzling over tarts.



Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

Recipe courtesy of Jackie Watts
Makes 8 slices


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 3 eggs, room temperature

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin purée

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

  • 4 tbl. butter

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and line a 9 1/2 x 14 jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs for 5 minutes, then add sugar and vanilla. Add pumpkin and beat to mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into jelly pan and spread evenly.

Bake cake for 14-16 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Turn cake onto a second piece of parchment paper. Roll the cake from the short end and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

While the cake cools, mix the cream cheese and butter. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Unroll the cake and spread with filling. Re-roll with filling inside and place seam-side down on a plate. Trim the ends for a neat appearance.

Optional: Sprinkle with nuts and dust with confectioner’s sugar before slicing and serving.



Maple Pumpkin Bread

Recipe by spoonfulofflavor.com
Makes one loaf


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for greasing the pan (125 g)

  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

  • 1/4 tsp. ginger

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 6 tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1 tbl. unsalted butter

  • 2 tbl. pure maple syrup

  • 6 tbl. powdered sugar

  • Pinch of kosher salt or sea salt


Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease one 9” x 5” loaf pan with butter and dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger until combined. Set aside.

In large bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until just blended, about 30 seconds. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix until combined. The batter might look curdled at this point—that’s okay.

With the mixer on low, beat in flour mixture until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let pumpkin bread cool in pan about 10 minutes before removing it onto a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze, melt butter in a saucepan along with syrup. Add salt and sugar and whisk until smooth. While warm, spoon glaze over pumpkin bread (the glaze will harden as it cools).

Savory Dishes

black bean pumpkin soup.jpg

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Recipe courtesy of Joan Dahlbeck
Makes 9 cups


  • Three 15 1/2 oz. cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup minced shallot

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 1 tbl. plus 2 tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

  • 4 cups beef broth

  • 1 16-ounce can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup dry Sherry

  • 1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice

  • 3 to 4 tbl. sherry vinegar

  • Garnish: sour cream and coarsely chopped lightly toasted pumpkin seeds


In a food processor coarsely puree beans and tomatoes.

Melt butter in a heavy 6-qt. pan and cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and sherry until combined. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, add ham and vinegar then simmer, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.



Thanksgiving Stuffed Roast Pumpkins

Recipe by seriouseats.com
Makes 4 stuffed pumpkins


  • 4 small sugar pumpkins, 1 1/2-2 lbs. each

  • 1 large kabocha squash, halved and seeded

  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound shitake mushrooms or a mix of mushrooms, sliced thinly

  • 8 oz. dinosaur (lacinato) kale, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 2 medium shallots, finely minced

  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 1/4 cup sherry

  • 1 tbs. sherry vinegar

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. paprika

  • 1/4 tsp.ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • 2 tbl. red miso paste

  • 2 tbl. honey

  • 1 tbl. water

  • 10 oz. rustic bread, cut into 3/4-inch dice and toasted in the oven until dry

  • 3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 8 oz. shredded Gruyère cheese

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


Roast the Pumpkins and Squash: Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with one pumpkin at a time, use a sharp paring knife to cut the top of the pumpkin off in one piece (as when making a jack-o’-lantern). Carefully run the knife along the cavity of the pumpkin to loosen seeds and stringy pulp, then use a spoon to scoop them out and scrape the cavity clean. Using the paring knife, scrape seeds and pulp from the tops as well. Discard seeds and pulp or reserve for another use. Repeat with remaining pumpkins.

Place kabocha squash halves cut side up on a work surface along with pumpkins. Lightly drizzle the cut and inner surfaces of kabocha squash, pumpkins, and pumpkin tops with olive oil, rubbing them with your hands to evenly coat. Season heavily with salt and pepper.

Place pumpkin tops on pumpkins, then set pumpkins on the baking sheet. Set kabocha squash, cut side down, on the same baking sheet. Roast until kabocha squash is tender and can easily be pierced with a paring knife, and sugar pumpkins have slightly softened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Lift pumpkin tops from pumpkins to allow steam to escape and set all roasted squash aside to cool on the baking sheet.

Once the kabocha squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop the flesh into a medium bowl and roughly mash with the back of the spoon. Discard squash skin. Season mashed squash with salt and pepper and set aside.

Make the Mushroom Filling: In a large 12-inch stainless steel or cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms are well browned, about 10 minutes. Push mushrooms to the outer edge of skillet, add kale to the now-empty center of skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until kale is slightly wilted and softened and has mixed with mushrooms, about 3 minutes.

Push mushrooms and kale to the outer edge of skillet and add butter to the center of skillet. Once butter has melted and begun foaming, add shallots, garlic, and thyme to the center of skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry and sherry vinegar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and transfer mixture to a heatproof medium bowl to cool.

Make the Spiced Cream: After squashes have cooled and kabocha is mashed, whisk together cream, milk, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in a large liquid measuring cup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the Glaze (Optional): Whisk miso, honey, and water together in a small bowl and set aside.

Stuff and Finish Pumpkins: Stuff pumpkins by evenly dividing and layering half the ingredients in the following order: mashed kabocha squash, bread, mushroom-kale mixture, pepitas, pecans, Gruyère, and spiced cream. Gently press mixture down with your hands, then repeat layering process with remaining half of stuffing ingredients. If glazing the pumpkins, use a pastry brush to paint glaze onto pumpkins and pumpkin tops.

Roast pumpkins on baking sheet, without tops, until top layer of cheese is melted and lightly browned, and pumpkins are tender and easily pierced by a paring knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Set tops on pumpkins and continue roasting for 10 minutes longer. Remove pumpkins from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Using a large spatula, carefully transfer pumpkins to a serving platter. Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe can be fully completed in advance; leave the cooled stuffed pumpkins on the baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, remove pumpkins from refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature, and reheat in a 350°F (180°C) oven until warmed through.



Pear and Squash Soup

Recipe by Greg Serbousek


  • 1/4 lb. butter

  • 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed

  • 2 large leeks, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 4 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, seeded, and chopped

  • 1 cup half & half

  • 2 vanilla pods or 1 tbl. vanilla extract

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • Chicken stock

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


If using vanilla pods, bring half & half to a simmer, then remove from heat and steep pods.

Sweat leeks, onion, garlic, squash, and pears in the butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. When the vegetables are very soft, strain the cream and then add to the pot (if using vanilla extract instead of fresh vanilla, add now). Add the apple cider and maple syrup. Then add enough chicken stock to cover the ingredients by 2 inches.

Bring to a simmer and slowly cook until the ingredients are very soft. Purée in small batches in a blender. Season with salt and pepper.

Original source: https://www.swansonsnursery.com/blog/fabulous-fall-recipes

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