It’s that time of the year again, and there is no avoiding pumpkin. It’s everywhere, in all possible shapes, forms and recipes. So I am just going to go with the spirit of the season and start cooking pumpkin!
Pumpkin is reasonably low in carbs (6g net carbs per 100g) and works well in all sorts of baking and dessert recipes. For this one, we are going to make savoury pumpkin biscuits with cheddar and rosemary.
It shouldn’t be difficult to find fresh pumpkin this time of the year.
In fact, it would be hard NOT to buy one! Heaps of them are stocked up in all shops and supermarkets, and endless Halloween pumpkin images popping up everywhere on social media.
Most baking recipes start with pumpkin puree. There are many ways to puree the pumpkin, or you can buy ready-made puree in cans.
Unless you are very short on time, I recommend buying fresh and cooking from scratch. This is always better, as you will know exactly what’s in your food.
Making pumpkin puree
1) In the oven – this method is less fiddly, but takes longer
Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stick both halves in the oven at 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for about 1-1.5 hours or so, until flesh is completely soft. Cool and scoop out the flesh. Mash into a puree.
2) Steaming or boiling – this requires peeling which is a bit of a nightmare
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Peel the pumpkin (this part is a pain, I do admit). Cut into small chunks and boil or steam for about 30-45 minutes until very soft. Mash using a potato masher or handheld mixer.
I’ve made pumpkin puree, what’s next?
Now that you have your puree, just a couple of notes before you proceed.
High moisture content. Pumpkin contains quite a lot of moisture anyway. It can soak up even more water when boiled or steamed. If your puree is homemade, it is difficult to predict how much water it will contain. The amount of moisture affects the texture of the biscuits, and also nutritional value including carbs count.
Texture. The finished texture of your pumpkin mixture just before baking should be similar to mashed potatoes. If it seems too watery, add a bit more almond or coconut flour (try 1 tbsp at a time). If it seems too dense, add a bit of water, again, just by small amounts like 1 tbsp at a time.
Calculating carbs content. If using canned puree, use the values as per nutritional label on the tin – there is a lot of variance brand by brand, depending on the amount of water. When making homemade puree, note down the weight of the pumpkin BEFORE you cook it and use that to calculate the nutritional value it will add to the biscuits.
Thickening the mixture
In addition to coconut flour (which is a well-known guzzler of moisture), I am also including a bit of psyllium husks to bind moisture and thicken the mix. You can substitute this with gluten-free gum instead (such as xanthan gum or guar gum).
Pumpkin cheddar biscuits, low-carb and gluten-free
- 1.5 cup (300g / 10oz) pumpkin puree (see notes above about homemade puree)
- 1.5 cup (130g / 4.5oz) ground almonds
- 1 cup (120g / 4oz) grated cheddar
- 2 tbsp (28g / 1oz) coconut flour
- 1 tbsp psyllium husks
- 1 tbsp rosemary, freshly chopped or dried
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- pinch of salt
- Mix all dry ingredients together thoroughly
- Add pumpkin puree to dry ingredients and mix well
- Leave to stand for 10 minutes for extra moisture to get soaked up
- Line two baking trays with baking parchment
- Form thick round biscuits with your hands and place on the trays
- Bake at 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for about 45 minutes, or until golden
- Cool before eating