Once you’re done with pumpkin carving and pie baking, you’re left with the seeds, which not only taste nutty and rich but happen to be abundant in vitamin E, iron, and good fats. Roast your own (remove the stringy pulp and rinse well, dry, season with salt and olive oil, and roast until they begin to brown), or take a shortcut and use pre-hulled pepitas, like Deborah Snyder does in her pumpkin-seed brittle at Park Slope’s Bussaco.
Deborah Snyder’s Pumpkin-Seed Brittle
2 cups pepitas
1 tablespoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup and 4 tablespoons of sugar
2 grinds with a pepper mill of white or black pepper
Pinch ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the pumpkin seeds with 2 teaspoons of the salt and toast them on a parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet until lightly colored and fragrant, about 10 minutes. To prepare the caramel, put the corn syrup and butter in a heavy medium-size pot. (1) Add the sugar and about ¼ cup of water to just moisten it. Melt the sugar over medium-high heat. Continue to cook until the mixture takes on a hint of color, then add the remaining salt and the pepper and cinnamon. Cook the caramel until it turns a deep amber color and registers about 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. (2) Remove pot from heat and add the seeds. (3) Stir well with a lightly sprayed kitchen spoon or rubber spatula. Pour the brittle out on a silicone pan liner or well-sprayed piece of parchment, then slowly work the brittle thin with a greased or sprayed rolling pin. Gently roll over the same sections until the brittle spreads and thins to about 1/8 inch. Once the brittle has cooled and completely hardened, break it into small pieces and store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.