Even though I live in Southern California and most produce is available, in abundance, year round, I’m still a firm believer in using seasonal produce. Especially during pumpkin season! Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread is another recipe I’ve created using either fresh or canned pumpkin puree.
With just a little bit of effort, a fresh batch of Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread can be whipped up (literally) and on a toasted bagel in no time providing an extra nutritional boost to a favorite morning, brunch or lunch treat. If making pumpkin puree from scratch, no worries, I’m got you covered! Check out my post, How to Cook 42 Pumpkins, for the details!
I’ll let you in on a little secret: the pumpkin spread sold in the bagel stores is dyed with several dye colors to get that incredibly glorious orange glow. My Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread – no dye! But, if you are so inclined, you could add a drop or two of food-safe gel dye to make Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread look more pumpkin orange. Instead of using dye, I just smoothed my Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread inside a 4 1/2-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and refrigerated it a few hours to set the shape.
If you want to make Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread into the shape of a pumpkin, here’s what you do:
- Choose a pretty salad or dessert plate.
- Spray inside of 4 1/2-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter with non-stick cooking spray (be sure to shake off excess spray plus I recommend you spray your mold over your kitchen sink so that non-stick cooking spray doesn’t get all over your kitchen!).
- Place prepared pumpkin cookie cutter on pretty plate, centering it.
- Scoop prepared Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread into pumpkin cookie cutter, spreading carefully with a small rubber spatula.
- Cover top of spread in pumpkin cookie cutter with a square of wax paper and refrigerator for 2 or more hours.
- Remove Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread from refrigerator, carefully peel off wax paper and remove pumpkin mold by lifting it up over the spread (it will slide off easily).
- Garnish with greenery (I used arugula and chopped parsley for the pumpkin’s stem) and serve with bagels, toast, slightly salted crackers or savory wafers.
I spread mine on toasted bagels. Here’s a close-up:
Oops! Those are toasted bagels in a pretty linen-lined wired basket! I meant to show you the bagels with the Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread!
Here are my bagels smeared with delicious Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread and sprinkled with roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – yum!
The little bit of effort that I alluded to at the top of the post is that pumpkin puree, rather fresh or canned, is moist and will change the consistency of your dish. The pumpkin cream cheese spread that you can buy in the bagel shops is made with dried pumpkin powder. Since I don’t know how to make pumpkin powder (yet), and I wanted my spread to hold a shape, I squeezed the pumpkin puree wrapped in cheesecloth until I couldn’t squeeze out any more liquid. If you omit this step, reduce the amount of pumpkin puree in the recipe by half.
The downside of doing so (reducing the pumpkin puree by half), is that you won’t taste much pumpkin flavor. Instead you will taste cream cheese with pumpkin pie spice. That’s okay, too, but I want my Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread to have the taste of pumpkin without an overwhelming taste of cream cheese. After all, I could have a toasted bagel with cream cheese any day of the week!
Above is a photo collage of Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread to pin to your Pinterest board. Thanks for sharing!
When you squeeze the pumpkin puree through cheesecloth, you will be amazed at how much liquid comes out. This recipe calls for one cup of pumpkin puree and once you squeeze it dry, you will end up with 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree and 1/2 cup of pumpkin juice (which you either discard or reserve for another use). Then add the squeezed dry pumpkin puree to the softened cream cheese and whip with an electric mixer. There are only 2 other ingredients: honey and pumpkin pie spice, which you add and whip again with the electric mixer. If not making a cute pumpkin-shaped spread, Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread can be used right away. Otherwise, spread into the mold and refrigerate 2 or more hours following the steps listed above.
Do you have family spending the night or weekend on Thanksgiving? This is a great idea for your Black Friday morning breakfast. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed refrigerator container (or cover your pretty plate with plastic wrap); it will keep for about a week, so is a great make-ahead recipe for a family gathering or party.
Here’s the recipe for Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (either fresh or canned)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Arugula, for garnish (optional)
- Parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Roasted, salted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish (optional)
- Fold cheesecloth into an 8-inch square so that you have 4 layers of cheesecloth.
- Place ½ cup of pumpkin puree in center of cheesecloth and bring 4 corners together.
- Twist cheesecloth tightly, forming a ball at one end with a twisted handle at the other.
- Using your other hand, squeeze pumpkin ball either over the sink or over a small bowl (if you are reserving the pumpkin juice for another use).
- Continue squeezing until no more liquid comes out of the ball of pumpkin.
- Open cheesecloth and scrape squeezed puree into mixing bowl.
- Repeat with other ½ cup of pumpkin puree.
- From one cup of pumpkin puree, you will end of with ½ cup of squeezed dry pumpkin puree and ½ cup of pumpkin juice.
- Add softened cream cheese to mixing bowl with squeezed dry pumpkin puree.
- Using electric mixer, mix on medium until combined and fluffy.
- Add honey and pumpkin pie spice, mixing again until combined and fluffy.
- Spray the inside of a 4½-inch pumpkin cookie cutter with non-stick cooking spray, shaking off excess (it is best to do this over your kitchen sink to avoid over-spray and additional mess).
- Place prepared cookie cutter on pretty plate.
- Scoop prepared Harvest Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread into center of cookie cutter.
- Using small rubber spatula, spread carefully (holding pumpkin cookie cutter in place with other hand) adding more pumpkin spread to mold until it is full.
- Smooth the surface with the rubber spatula and cover with a square of waxed paper.
- Refrigerate 2 or more hours, then remove from the refrigerator, peel off wax paper and using hands, lift mold from spread (it will come off easily).
- Garnish with arugula or lettuce leaves and chopped parsley for the stem.
- Serve with toasted bagels and Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) on the side for sprinkling over the spread.
Want more pumpkin recipes? Check these out: