So anyone who has been on Pinterest in the last few weeks has surely seen the incredible surge in pumpkin desserts being pinned. Anyone who follows me on Pinterest will surely see that I have a noticeable lack of pumpkin desserts pinned. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you quite possibly the only human being in the world who does not enjoy pumpkin desserts. I know, it’s incredible and pretty much means I have no soul.
I do not countdown the days to when Starbucks will bring back their hallowed pumpkin spice latte; nor do I make sure to leave enough room for pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving. However, despite this deficiency I adore fall. It is absolutely, hands down my favorite season of them all. When I was a kid I was excited to do back-to-school supplies and clothes shopping. I loved that crisp smell in the air and leaves burning that mean the start of fall. I could live my entire life in boots, jeans and cozy oversized sweaters. But lord help me, I could absolutely do without pumpkin.
I wish I could say that I have an excuse for not liking pumpkin. For example, my mother used to make this meatloaf when I was kid and all I can remember was having to concentrate so hard to chew, swallow and repeat. I’m fairly certain her meatloaf wasn’t that bad (then again, who knows) but to my 10-year-old self, it was torture; and to this day I just don’t have the stomach for meatloaf. But I have no similar story for pumpkin. I’m sorry.
Now don’t think that I had a taste of pumpkin pie during my “white food only” phase and that I have ignored the treat since then. Oh no my dear friends! Every-freaking-year I taste some pumpkin dessert from some very well-intentioned friend who swears on their dead grandmother’s soul that this is sublime and really if I just tasted it I would be a pumpkin convert. I struggle to not roll my eyes and taste their “sublime” desert and then struggle some more to swallow it. I just can’t do pumpkin.
And I can’t even pinpoint what it is I don’t like. It’s not a texture thing because I adore custardy desserts and mousses. Furthermore, I love all the spices that go into a traditional pumpkin pie – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves – because all of those also go in apple desserts and eggnog (quite possibly my kryptonite besides cookies, holy cow I could live on eggnog). It truly is the pumpkin.
However, I freaking love pumpkin seeds. I know, right? What.the.hell? I have no idea what it is about pumpkin seeds but I have definitely eaten myself sick on them more than once; and it’s one of the few foods that I can do that with and still love. It’s a terrible, abusive relationship on the seeds’ part, but it’s okay, I know they only do it because they love me.
I like them salted, not really a huge fan of the sweeter variety but I also haven’t made those myself (yet). Also, and this is a real testament to my love for pumpkin seeds, I will willingly dig and pick through a pile of pumpkin guts to ensure that every last seed has been extracted. I hate pumpkin guts; they give me the willies. I feel like I’m sifting through someone’s brain, it’s horrifying. It’s slimy and sticks to you and looks unholy. But it’s all totally worth it for those seeds.
*Just a note: I got a little jar of bacon salt from the Filling Station in Chelsea Market – the stuff is awesome, but definitely clumps and is a bit pricey. If you can’t find bacon salt (since I’m pretty sure it’s not widely available) I’ve included an approximate recipe to make your own. The intensity of your salt will vary on how big the bacon slices are and how long they “infuse” in your salt.
Bacon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
bacon salt (can be purchased or you can make your own, see recipe below)
Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
Gut a pumpkin and separate the stringy bits from the seeds. Try to get as much goo off as you can so the seeds can really dry out during the roasting. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet, if they pile up too much the ones on the bottom won’t dry out and will stay sticky, ick. Spray lightly with cooking spray (just enough to make sure the salt adheres). Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle again with bacon salt.
Roast for 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly dried out and starting to turn golden. Can be kept in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
2 slices bacon, cooked until extra, extra crispy
¼ cup salt
Cook and drain the bacon. Pat dry and make sure all the moisture and extra grease is rubbed off. Finely dice until it’s in itty-bitty pieces – if you’ve cooked it long enough you might have better luck putting it in a ziplock bag and crushing it with the rolling pin a few times. In a small bowl mix the bacon and salt together until thoroughly combined. Let sit to “infuse” for at least an hour before using. Can be kept in an airtight container for one week at room temperature.