English: Maple sap collecting at Bowdoin Park ...
English: Maple sap collecting at Bowdoin Park in Dutchess County, New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maple syrup and pumpkin make a very tasty combination. This recipe combines these flavors in a soft spread that is reminiscent of pumpkin cheesecake, but without the fat. This spread is suitable for bagels, fruit slices, or muffins. The use of strained, fat-free yogurt makes this a healthful as well as delicious holiday (or anytime!) spread. Here is the recipe.



Maple Pumpkin Spread

-3/4 cup strained, fat-free, plain yogurt*
-3 tablespoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
-1/4 cup canned pumpkin or cooked, mashed, whole pumpkin (one idea is to bake a mini pumpkin, scoop out and mash the soft flesh, and serve the dip in the hollow mini pumpkin)
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixer, beat the strained yogurt, brown sugar and maple syrup until the consistency is creamy. Add the spices and vanilla and continue beating until it is smooth. For the right consistency, refrigerate the spread for an hour or more before serving.

*To strain yogurt, begin the night before. Scoop at least 2 cups of fat free, plain yogurt into a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter. Set the strainer into a deep bowl and cover the strainer with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (the longer, the thicker); pour out the whey that will accumulate in the bowl, and use the yogurt “cheese” as described above.

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