BAKED PUMPKIN WITH BECHAMEL

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As promised, pumpkin pumpkin recipes every week :)

One of the best pumpkin recipes in the whole world. There might be pumpkin cake, pie, pudding, cake .. you name it but still this old fashioned baked pumpkin with bechamel remains the top of all pumpkin desserts!

Soft, sweet & buttery roasted pumpkin cubes are topped with a creamy layer of bechamel & baked until golden & all bubbly.

What makes this recipe so special is that the bechamel is not sweetened with sugar; it is sweetened with pumpkin puree & pumpkin sugar syrup taking it to a whole new level of deliciousness. And the addition of mastic to the bechamel goes beyond well with pumpkin.

Ask your grocery to peel & cut the pumpkin for you & by this the hard work is over & the rest is mainly done in the oven but make sure you get a ripe pumpkin because if it’s not ripe, the whole dish will taste bland no matter how much sugar you add.

A recipe that takes me back to old beautiful childhood memories!

BAKED PUMPKIN WITH BECHAMEL

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg peeled pumpkin cubes  كيلو قرع مقشر ومقطع
  • 250 gm sugar سكر
  • 2 tbsp (25 grams) butter زبدة
  • 4 tbsp flour (see note 4) دقيق
  • 2 cups milk لبن
  • 2 medium mastic ٢ فص مستكة وسط

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Mix the pumpkin cubes with sugar & place in a deep baking tray (the tray has to be deep because there will be syrup شربات).
  3. Place the tray in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the pumpkin cubes become deep orange , extremely tender & the bottom of the tray will be covered with a slightly heavy golden syrup.
  4. Pour the pumpkin with its syrup in a sieve مصفاة placed over a bowl. Drain the pumpkin from all the syrup, pressing on it slightly with a fork to release all the syrup (Don’t mash the pumpkin). Set the syrup aside to use it in the bechamel sauce (it should be about 3/4 cup).
  5. Remove 1/4 cup pumpkin cubes & arrange the rest in a Pyrex; they should fit tightly in one layer with a little overlap.
  6. To prepare the bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Mix the flour with the butter until they form a paste; cook until there are no traces of flour in the pot. Whisk in the milk slowly until there are no lumps. Add the pumpkin sugar syrup, mastic & mash the 1/4 cup pumpkin cubes & add it to the mixture. Cook the bechamel until it boils & thickens, whisking frequently. Turn of heat. Taste & add  more sugar if you need it sweeter.
  7. Pour the bechamel over the pumpkin cubes & bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for about 20-25 minutes until it boils. Broil the top until it becomes slightly golden.
  8. Serve at room temperature or cold. I personally LOVE it cold.

Notes:

  1. The pumpkin is weighed after is it peeled & cleaned from the strings & seeds.
  2. Make sure to buy ripe pumpkin because if it’s not ripe, it will taste bland.
  3. You can roast the pumpkin 2 days ahead & store it with its syrup in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to prepare the dish.
  4. I use measuring spoons to measure the ingredients but in case you don’t have, substitute the 4 tbsp flour with 2 heaped large spoons ٢ ملعقة كبيرة مليانة.
  5. You can sprinkle the pumpkin with nuts & raisins before adding the bechamel.
  6. This bechamel recipe makes a relatively thin layer over the pumpkin which is the perfect ratio (for me) but if you want a thicker layer, simply double the bechamel recipe but you will need to add sugar as the pumpkin sugar syrup won’t be enough to sweeten the whole amount.

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