Maple-Rum Pumpkin Butter

You need to make me a promise. Promise you’ll make this one. Promise?! Alright, too much Disney Pixar for this girl. “You’ll have to swear! […] Swear you’ll take us! Cross your heart. Cross it! Cross your heart!! Good… you promised.” (Name that movie…) 😉 But seriously. This is crazy good and ridiculously addicting. Or wait, is that like telling someone not to look but then they’re compelled to do it anyway? … But this one’s for your own good. Wow. I’m so distractible today.

This pumpkin butter is so good that you will easily find many ways to use it. You could put it straight on toast or fresh Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, stir it into My Favorite Waffles batter for delicious pumpkin waffles, swirl it into a sweet, creamy dessert fondue, or layer the butter in a cake or trifle. You could even use this as a base for pumpkin pie. The list really goes on.

If you’d like to go easy on yourself or have the convenience, feel free to begin with already cooked and puréed pumpkin from the store. Then you can skip ahead to the spices and reduction. Otherwise, to make it from it’s raw pumpkin form stick with me here.

After you’ve made the Barley Pumpkin Risotto and have leftover pumpkin or you’re starting with a new pumpkin, cook the remainder in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven until it can be easily stabbed through with a fork. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your pumpkin. I had bought a smallish jack-o-lantern size pumpkin for these projects and had great success but I would not recommend a very large pumpkin for cooking. Just as with any vegetable, once they get very large they will begin to lose flavor and become more woody/less tender in texture. After removing the seeds from the pumpkin I place it, cut side down to roast on parchment paper over a sheet tray.

In this pic I’m reusing a canning lid (such as Ball brand) to scrape out the insides. It works better than anything else I’ve tried.


The next pic is just after roasting…


… And the following pic is after it has cooled and I’ve removed most of the skin. The skin remaining on the edges still needs to be peeled but I had taken off the majority quickly to let it cool faster.

(At this point I needed to be done for the night so I bagged the cooled, skinned pumpkin and resumed the next morning.)

After all was said and done I had about 4 1/2 lbs of useable pumpkin flesh remaining. (The scale is adding in the weight of the bag as I hadn’t tared it yet.)


Place the cooked, cooled, peeled pumpkin in a blender with about 1 cup of water, depending on the amount of pumpkin you have to purée. Allow the blender to run until everything is completely smooth. The Vitamix blender makes this super easy and fast. Do this step carefully as the pumpkin is very heavy and dense and can create intense air pockets in the canister. Scrape down and stir frequently. Don’t feel the need to go fast. Better to start slow. 

If you skipped the cooking and bought plain, unseasoned pumpkin purée at the store, rejoin me here. 

Maple-Rum Pumpkin Butter

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

2 c. real maple syrup

1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds & pod used

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. rum

4 1/2 # (or 72 oz.) pumpkin purée

2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

**Yes, yes I did make a large batch of this incredible stuff.**


Begin by placing a wide, heavy skillet or pot over medium-low heat until warm. While tending carefully, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Toast the spices just until you can smell their fragrances. Immediately add the maple syrup and salt, stir to incorporate all.


When the syrup mixture is warm, whisk in the vanilla bean seeds and add the split, empty pod too. Add the rum. Allow this mixture to simmer for a few minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.

Now stir in the pumpkin purée. This mix needs to simmer slowly until thick and spreadable. These results will be achieved faster with store-bought purée as it is drier. If you’ve roasted and puréed your own, you will have more water in your mix to evaporate. I allowed mine to simmer for about an hour. I stirred it every time I walked by the stove (I didn’t go far away). Add the lemon juice just as you’re finishing. This ensures that you don’t cook out the pop of bright flavor from the citrus.


Allow the pumpkin butter to cool. Either use immediately, store in the fridge, or ladle into freezer-safe containers and freeze. Its not recommended to can pumpkin butter in a hot water bath at home due to low acidity levels and the density of the product so, for now, I froze mine in five 1 cup portions and a two 1 pint portions.

This last pic is of 1 1/2 cups of the pumpkin butter baked into My Favorite Waffles batter. I then topped the waffles with a bit more pumpkin butter, some unsweetened vanilla whipped cream, and a light dust of grated cinnamon.


1 Comment

  1. This sounds wonderful Jen…sadness because this is the first time this year I have t grown pumpkins…our spring was too wet. But I’ve already got my seed order started for next year….and you can bet they will be on it. In the meantime, we had a lovely bunch (guess what movie) of spaghetti squash…got any ideas?


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