Vibrant orange colours pop up near Halloween and so do these charming, tasty, ever so popular here in France as top selling fall crop, miniature pumpkins. With its vigorous vines they are an arts-and-crafter’s dream, just visualise them as the cutest but smallest Jack O’Lanterns.
Before the French use the English name, instead of their French one “citrouille/mini-courge/pomarine”, you know it has to be something special and of course no need to wonder why the French fell for them: they own an earthy, savoury goodness, appreciated by those who love mushrooms and artichokes. On top of that they offer a sugary nutty, chestnut –flavour.
Coming from early Native American gardens and providing mutual benefits as part of the “three sisters” group (comprised of beans, corn, and squash), this tiny, cute pumpkin (weighs just 8 ounces) is flat and ribbed. Easy to grow, attractive on the vine as well as on your table (as ornaments they will last for as long as twelve months!), even their skin tastes great (for humans but even your dogs will devour them). These yummy cuties are awesome gifts for fall.
As my second son, who is a cook, would say: “ Mum, Jack be little (cucurbita peopo) is technically a fruit, but commonly referred to as a vegetable”, others say they’re actually not pumpkins at all, but a type of acorn squash.
High in beta-carotene (becomes vitamine A!), pumpkins will improve your eyesight! Ideal to obtain a younger healthier looking skin, improve your immunity and they will provide weight loss, so come on! They seem to be ideal to lower cancer risks too.
Hollowed out, to make a cute serving dish or just another decoration for your fairy garden, they provide each year a happy Halloween.
Let’s end the Halloween season with the festive kitchen sweep of your broomstick, a surprising orange dish:
For four persons you’ll need:
- 4 little Jack Be little
- 2 egg yolks
- 50cl of “crème fraiche” (cream)
- a good block of tasty cheese (“comté” French cheese we use here) grated
- salt and pepper
- Wash the miniature pumpkins and take their little head of, do away with the pips and let the Jack Be little and their hats cook 5 minutes in a steam cooker.
- Preheat the oven at 180°C
- Mix the cream, with the egg yolks and the grated cheese.
- Scoop out the flesh of mini pumpkins without damaging the hulls and add it to the egg preparation, mix well and add salt and pepper to your taste
- Fill each Jack be Little with the mixture, top off with their hats and leave them for 20 minutes in the oven.
Ready to serve and to enjoy!
From your ‘Little Sweetie’ pumpkin lover
ps: My Quigley doll holding these pumpkins (see cover photo) is available in my shop.