My mother-in-law graciously provided me with 4 cans of the highly coveted Libby’s pumpkin last weekend and I couldn’t have been more thankful. I somehow choked down all of the organic cans and I still haven’t found any down here (sold out every time!). So I have been able to fulfill all of my pumpkin desires this week.
This morning while going through my food blog reading ritual, I saw a comment that cracked the “Why is organic pumpkin so different from Libby’s pumpkin?” mystery. Ready for this? It is because they don’t actually use pumpkin, but a squash called the Dickinson Field Squash:
This lil guy is what makes the world go crazy for 3-12 months out of the year.
Libby’s calls it Dickinson Field Pumpkin, and after some Google research it looks like it’s called both. Some people feel duped that its not actually pumpkin and just a squash, but as far as I’m concerned, it is “pumpkin.” This is why when you try to make pumpkin pie out of a traditional carving pumpkin you buy at the store you completely fail. Also I’m sure organic producers do not use this variety either and that’s why theirs is so so bad.
Now that that’s settled, we can make muffins.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 cups Libby’s pumpkin
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
To prepare filling: combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix until blended and smooth. Transfer mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Put in the freezer and chill until slightly firm.
To make muffins: In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, salt, and baking soda; whisk to blend. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Stir in dry ingredients until just incorporated, do not overmix!
To make the crumble topping: Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend, Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
To assemble muffins: Line muffin tins with paper liners. Fill each muffin well with 1-2 tablespoons of batter. Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. place a slice of the filling into each muffin. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing it on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of crumble topping over each of the muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
Yield: 24 muffins
The only thing I did differently from the recipe is I used Sucanat in place of half of the sugar in the muffin, and all of the sugar in the crumble. It’s my first experience with Sucanat, and let me just say, I almost threw the bag away when I smelled it. For some reason this stuff stinks. But it tastes really good, and I thought the molasses flavor would compliment the muffin really well and add some depth, which it did. Oh also, I didn’t wait for the cream cheese to firm in the freezer. Two hours was way too long. It was more like 20 minutes. A little more messy, but workable.
These muffins are reeeeeaallly good. Extremely moist and pumpkiny. Go make them. Now!