If you’re in search of the most innovative or skillfully crafted dishes to savor the charm of this beautiful season, it might be worthwhile to turn your attention to fall’s most beloved ingredient: pumpkins. From pumpkin ravioli poached in a brown butter sauce to diner-style spiced pancakes and classy pumpkin bundt cake, look no further to satisfy all of your seasonal cravings.
With the leaves transforming into wondrous shades of scarlet and gold and the pace of life starting to slow as the temperatures drop, it’s clear that the eagerly-awaited season of fall has arrived.
And with it, America’s obsession with all things pumpkin.
From the ever-so-iconic pumpkin spice lattes to the beloved Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, there’s no end to the list of innovations that restaurants have tried their hand at. While some ultimately miss the mark and are lost to a smorgasbord of pumpkin dishes, certain creations are nothing short of ingenious — and today, we’ll be taking a look at three dishes that truly redefine autumnal flavors.
PUMPKIN TO MUNCH ON
The first dish that should be on your pumpkin-themed path is the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes from Blueberry Hill, a local chain that emphasizes family-style dining. And — without a doubt — it’s the combination of love and charm in these rustic-style pancakes that takes them to a level of delectability you never would’ve thought possible. The pancakes come garnished with a luscious whipped butter topping and crushed pistachios, the mellow orange creating an inviting contrast against the silky whites and vibrant greens. Add on your own drizzle of maple syrup and within seconds your dish is brought to life, the syrup exuding this shimmery gold hue as it catches the light. And let’s be perfectly clear: these are not your average pancakes.
From your very first bite there’s this unexpected warmth and depth of flavor that comes from the spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. While to some the number of spices might indicate a loss of the pumpkin’s own flavor, it’s quite the opposite: the spices accentuate the sweetness and earthiness of the pumpkin. The outside of the pancakes are cooked to golden brown perfection while the inside is the perfect combination of airy, fluffy, and chewy. In all honesty, eating these pancakes is like sinking your teeth into the most perfect cloud — one that tastes like pumpkin spice, of course.
The whipped butter also constitutes this velvety creaminess that is truly a step-up from regular butter and when paired with the pistachios, offers a welcome break to the richer texture. Between the spiced, nutty notes and sweeter undertones, these pancakes are a must-try if you’re looking for a more exciting start to your day.
Continuing along our pumpkin extravaganza, it’s time to explore a dimension of pumpkin innovation that few have attempted and even fewer have succeeded at: savory dishes. And nobody delivers flavor and elegance in a savory pumpkin dish like Biaggi’s Pumpkin Ravioli. Whether it’s Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Monet’s Water Lily Pond that you see in the swirls of that silky brown butter sage sauce, there’s no denying that this dish comes looking like a real work of art. With pillowy handmade pasta poached in a delicate brown sauce and garnished with crushed walnuts, I can confirm that your eyes truly do eat first.
The sauce is very lightly seasoned, allowing the richness of the butter and herbaceous pungency of the sage to shine through. Paired with the ravioli, it tastes exactly as you’d expect: nutty, garlicky, but with this deeper, more caramelized sweetness. The pasta is cooked perfectly al-dente with a smooth mouthfeel that still offers some bite and texture. The actual pumpkin filling is quite succulent with this unique umami flavor that seamlessly bridges its natural sweetness with the saltiness you’d traditionally expect from a pasta dish. It’s perfection. The crushed walnuts are like the cherry on top, offering a welcome crunch that ties the nutty, caramelized, and savory notes together.
The last stop on our pumpkin path, and arguably the most eagerly awaited, has to be dessert. And while there’s no shortage of innovative pumpkin cheesecakes, pies, and pastries, the Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes highlights how simplicity — when executed right — can be delicious. The cake comes in an individually portioned box with an Italian buttercream piped in lines from the center.
In terms of texture, it’s extremely spongy with a medium crumb that holds its shape well but still makes for a smooth, fluffy mouthfeel. The buttercream adds the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the stronger cinnamon and nutmeg flavors from the cake. And from the moment you open the box, there’s this mellow aroma of butter and warm spices that just keeps you coming back for another bite. There’s no dessert that captures the essence of fall — the brisk wind, colorful leaves, and mellow skies — quite like this bundt cake.
With a versatile flavor profile that can be transformed into pancakes, pasta, or baked goods, fall’s beloved pumpkin can definitely be enjoyed in more than a latte. And between the reasonable prices and masterful cooking, these dishes are sure to be a must-try for any pumpkin enthusiast.
Aryav Bothra is a food critic for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl