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Pumpkin Tacoma

Tacoma chefs serve up pumpkin dish recipes

Gluten free pumpkin spice latte cheesecake with almond crust awaits at Maxwell's Restaurant in Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Chef Hudson Slater

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Give in. It's officially autumn. Sshhhh, don't fight it. There's plenty to marvel in the changing of seasons: bright orange and red leaves fluttering from the trees, mists of rain drops falling from the skies and pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin, that delectable orange orbished gourd that boasts compelling flavor and defines the fall season. To celebrate the official appearance of fall, I connected with some Tacoma-area chefs and cooks to talk about how the great pumpkin is making its first appearance in their culinary features. Here are a few to look forward to:

Dirty Oscar's Annex

2309 6th Ave., Tacoma

Kitchen Manager Luke Ortiz is running this heavenly sounding comfort food as a breakfast special Oct. 3 to 5.


(bulk serving)


2 qt. heavy cream

3 vanilla beans

2 cups sugar

14 large egg yolks

3 cups pureed pumpkin

1 tbsp allspice

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp nutmeg

1/2 cup rendered spiced rum

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in Kitchen Aid on high until stiff peaks form.

Cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise and add to cream in double boiler. Bring to boil, then pull off and cool down to 120 degrees. Whisk cream mixture into egg mixture. Add pumpkin and spices. Cool in refrigerator. Once cool, add brioche bread and soak. The strength of your brioche depends on how long you soak it. If it starts to fall apart, it's been soaking too long.

Whipped Cream:

2 qt. heavy cream

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup rendered spiced rum

2 tsp allspice

2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup pureed pumpkin

Put heavy cream, vanilla and sugar in mixer. Whisk on setting two until slightly thick. Then whisk on high until stiff peaks form. Mix remaining ingredients in separate bowl and add to whipped cream. Mix on high to keep stiff peaks. Put in piping bag for service.

BITE in Hotel Murano

1320 Broadway, Tacoma

Dylan Kane whipped up a little something you can anticipate on the specials sheet very soon.


(makes approx. 12 gnudi)


1 cup ricotta

1/4 cup goat cheese

1/2 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese + extra for garnish

2 egg yolks

1 tsp nutmeg + extra for garnish

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove 

1 tbsp fresh chopped sage + extra for garnish

Zest of ½ lemon

3/4 - 1 cup flour


1 cup half and half

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

juice of 1/2 lemon


1-2 cups semolina

3 tbsp butter

Combine all ingredients for the gnudi except the flour in a bowl and mix until combined. Add about ½ cup of the flour and mix until smooth, then slowly add more until the desired texture is reached. It will be almost dough-like, and you should be able to roll them into balls without much sticking. Once done, place the mix in the fridge for about 15 minutes. After the mix has rested, roll it into balls about 2 oz. each and place them in the semolina, rolling them to coat.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick. Salt and pepper to taste.

To cook the gnudi, drop them into lightly boiling salted water for about 3 min. They will float when they're done. Tip: shake them about halfway through cooking, once they've started to set, remove excess semolina. While they're cooking, brown the butter. When gnudi are done, gently add them to the browned butter and spoon over to coat.


Spoon the sauce onto the center of the plate using the back of the spoon to spread it out in a nice circle. Gently place the gnudi on top of the sauce and garnish with fresh sage, Parmesan and nutmeg.

"I actually got the inspiration for this dish while watching the PBS program Mind of a Chef," Kane said. "It was the first time I had heard of gnudi, and I had to try making them. The pumpkin and spice aspects were inspired by the time of year and my mom's pumpkin pie. She always puts loads and loads of spices in it, especially nutmeg! I've become spoiled over the years and don't like pumpkin pie any other way."

Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge

454 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma

Chef Hudson Slater is always looking for a little challenge to wow taste buds around town, and pumpkin is making an appearance on both the entrée and dessert menus.


Almond Crust:

2/3 cup almond flour

2/3 cup sliced almonds

1 tbsp cinnamon

3 tbsp sugar

2 oz. cold butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line 9-inch spring form pan with parchment and grease well. Blend ingredients in food processor and mix well until coarse and sand-like in appearance. Press into bottom of pan (not up sides) and bake for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.

Pumpkin cheesecake:

24 oz. cream cheese

1 1/4 cup sugar 

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 1/4 tsp cinnamon 

1 1/8 tsp cloves

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

2 tsp espresso 

Using a burr mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in medium mixing bowl until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, blending well with each addition. Remove 1 ½ cup of mixture and transfer to another bowl. Add espresso powder to the 1 ½ cup filling. Mix until coffee has dissolved and is uniform in color. Set aside. Blend ½ cup of sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and allspice into remaining filling. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the pie crust. Top pumpkin mixture with espresso filling mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes or until filling is set. The mixture will puff up during baking, then settle down as it cools. Run a knife around the edge of the pan for easy unmolding. Allow the cheesecake to cool before removing rim of spring-form pan. Chill until ready to serve.

The Social Bar and Grill

1715 Dock Street, Tacoma

Chef Jonathan Tram presents a creamy soup perfect for the rainy bleak days that go hand-in-hand with the autumn months. Though exact measurements are not included, his Smashing Pumpkin Soup will lure in diners who wish to get cozy with roasted pumpkin, coconut milk, condensed milk and curry drizzled with orange-infused crema, topped with rustic croutons and parsley.

I'd recommend throwing on that scarf and beanie cap and trying these dishes today. Yes, you do now have the recipes, but the enjoyment of dining out goes without saying. Save the recipes for when the family visits and wow them with your culinary prowess, thanks to these lovely participating professionals.

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