My spirited Crispy Pumpkin Curry Crackers with Fennel Seeds are not dip doormats, they’re snack bosses. In my house, these savory treats disappear as soon as they come out of the oven. I actually hide them from my family when I make them for hostess or holiday gifts!
The crackers have the same flavors as my Fall Pumpkin Curry Soup. The pumpkin puree provides the cracker flavor base and is the only wet ingredient to bind the flour and butter together. Curry is a natural partner for pumpkin’s sweet earthy charm. To simplify the number of spices just a bit, I use a mellow Madras Curry from a local spice shop. A hint of cayenne pepper and a sprinkling of fennel seeds are necessary to give the crackers a bonus flavor pop.
Turmeric enhances the curry and adds to the warm, subtle pumpkiny color of the crackers. Since pumpkin was first used to describe a color in the 1920s I have always found it funny that the color of an orange was used to describe the color of a pumpkin before then. Somewhere in there is a joke about orange still beating pumpkin in color supremacy…
Homemade pumpkin puree makes these crackers extra tasty, although canned pumpkin puree can also be used with winning results. Below my cracker recipe, I have included directions for how to easily make fresh homemade pumpkin puree. The best cooking pumpkins are called Sugar or Pie pumpkins and are usually found in the produce section. Pie pumpkins typically weigh 3-4 pounds and their flesh is more dense, drier and sweeter than larger pumpkin varieties. When choosing a sugar pumpkin, choose one that feels heavy for its weight.
A few weeks ago a huge bin of pie pumpkins were marked down to 50 cents each at the supermarket. I was thrilled at my good fortune because Halloween may be when pumpkins are carved, but Thanksgiving is when they are actually eaten. I typically roast a few perky little pie pumpkins in November to make plenty of homemade puree for Thanksgiving cooking and beyond. Somehow in the flush of finding such a fantastic bargain, I convinced myself I could buy 12 smallish pumpkins for the same price as three cans of puree. I was giddy counting all the cups of puree those pumpkins could make!
When I first brought the pumpkins home, I quickly made my Triple Ginger Pumpkin Muffins. I was then distracted by other fall finds such as pomegranates and ginger. The pumpkins were ignored as Halloween came and went…until today when my attention again rested on the 10 pumpkins still sitting on our porch ready for their next incarnation. I’ve just started the process of roasting them.
Stay tuned for more pumpkin inspired recipes as my freezer fills up with cooked pumpkin. Until then, I can pretty much guarantees this recipe will make you a lifelong devotee of homemade crackers!
Crispy Pumpkin Curry Crackers with Fennel Seeds
Makes about 36 crackers
1 cup flour
1 tsp Madras curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 small cubes
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbs fennel seeds
Egg Wash – 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbs water
- In a medium bowl whisk flour, curry powder, turmeric, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper.
- Add butter and mix with your fingertips until butter is well incorporated into the flour in small pebble size pieces. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to quickly mix flour and butter to same consistency.
- Add pumpkin puree and mix until you can form a ball. If the dough is too sticky to roll into a ball, add more flour. If it is too crumbly, add more puree.
- Let dough rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- When you are ready to make the crackers, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Divide dough into two square blocks. Working with one block at a time, place dough on lightly floured wax paper or plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour on top of dough and cover with another sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap.
- Roll dough into a 15″ by 5″ rectangle. As you are rolling, add flour on both sides if dough starts sticking.
- Place rolled dough on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.
- With a docker or a fork, evenly poke holes over the dough. This ensures flat crackers.
- Use knife or pastry cutter to cut dough into 1 1/2″ by 2 1/2″ crackers. There is no need to separate them before baking as they will break apart easily once baked.
- Brush egg wash over crackers then evenly sprinkle fennel seeds over them. Fennel has a distinct anise flavor so add according to how much you like fennel!
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until crackers are golden brown and crispy. During the last 10 minutes, check frequently.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut pumpkin in half with serrated knife. With spoon or pumpkin scraper from Halloween scoop out the stringy strands and surrounding seeds.
- Place pumpkin halves on foil lined baking sheet. No oil is needed since you want the flavor of the puree to shine.
- Roast until flesh pulls away from skin and is soft enough to easily stick a fork in. This can take 45 to 60 minutes.
- Let roasted pumpkin flesh rest until cool enough to handle.
- Separate pumpkin flesh from skin. Throw out or compost the skin. Place flesh in food processor and puree until smooth. Alternatively, the flesh can be pushed through a potato ricer or even mashed with a potato masher.
- The pumpkin puree will keep in the freezer for up to six months. To make future cooking adventures easier, freeze the puree in labeled 1 cup or 1/2 cup portions.