Bourbon Pecan Pumpkin Butter

29 Aug

With pumpkin season lurking right around the corner, I can’t contain my excitement any longer. If I had to name one thing that I absolutely love about Fall, it’s that for 8-12 weeks out of the year you can find pretty much find anything with the comforting aroma of warm spiced pumpkin.

Pumpkin was not a big thing in Belgium when I grew up. It was mostly used in soups, but I hear from friends that nowadays Halloween celebrations are popular too. As a child, I can’t remember a single fun Halloween celebration. My only memories of ‘All Hallows Eve’ are that it was a solemn Catholic affair, and not the commercial circus it is today. Instead of happily hanging orange or purple-glowing pumpkin- & bat-shaped porch lights, mom would dress us to the nines and we’d be picked up in my dad’s old Ford to attend a full blown Catholic mass with his side of the family. If a 60-min Catholic mass in Latin wasn’t enough to sit through as a young child, especially hearing all the happy ding-ding-dong’s from the fair rides echoing over the town square, we’d also had to gather outside in the icy cold October air after mass and stroll the cobblestone pilgrimage path around the grey stone church building 3x, with the adults reflected in deep prayer. After that ordeal, we’d then swing by the graveyard to ‘visit’ people I had never even heard of and place potted chrysanthemum bushes on their gravestones, and finally, when the blood in my young veins was adequately congealed and my cold hands just the right shade of bluish pink, we were allowed to get in the car and drive to someone’s house for sandwiches and soup… followed by hot ‘oliebollen’ at the fair!

Nowadays, I actually enjoy the atmosphere Halloween brings along. I’ll come right out saying that I’m very wimpy and as such not a fan of the various scary haunts you find across town (*), but I love seeing the pumpkin patches appear and the fact that Halloween sort of rings in the pumpkin-flavored ‘anything’ season. I never knew pumpkin butter was so tasty, until I saw it at the store one time and decided to try it for the sake of culinary progress. I can literally ssschhhhmear pumpkin butter on anything from bread to yogurt, and in the dead of night on occasion, I can be seen spooning it straight out of the jar… Because let’s be honest, whatever I put it on, is really nothing more than a vessel to get that deliciousness in my mouth. A few years ago, when perusing Williams-Sonoma, I willy-nilly picked up one of their recipe cards for pumpkin pie. If you think the jarred stuff is good, wait until you make your own! It’s so easy and tasty, you’ll allow none to touch it until they pry it out of your dead hands. Let ye all souls be warned!
(*) I once bravely accepted an invitation from a friend to go to ‘Shipwreck Queen Mary’ in Long Beach, CA… where I may or may not have screeched at the top of my lungs and spontaneously slapped a blood-covered ax-wielding actor in the face out of fear for my life. I plead the fifth… but I did apologize profusely. Oh dear.


(Inspired by a recipe for pumpkin pie)
– 1 29 oz can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups (not the pie filling kind)
– 1/2 cup apple juice
– 1/3 cup of good quality Bourbon
– 2 tsp ground ginger
– 1/2 tsp ground cloves
– 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
– 1.5 Tbsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1 tsp of ground cardamom
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 1 cup of pecans

Reserve lemon juice, pecans & bourbon, and combine all other ingredients in a medium Dutch oven or large sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook without lid over low heat for approx. 45min until thick. Stir occasionally.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400F and toast pecans for 10-15 min. Allow to cool and grind them into a powder with a food processor… Or crush them with a hand mixer for a chunky butter.

Pour bourbon into warm pumpkin mixture during the last 30 min, and simmer until liquid is evaporated.

Fold pecans & lemon juice into the warm pumpkin mixture and allow pumpkin butter to cool completely. Adjust spices as needed, to your taste.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for approx. a month… Not that it’ll last that long!


25 Responses to “Bourbon Pecan Pumpkin Butter”

  1. Kate August 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    looks delicious!


  2. My little jar of spices September 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    What the what the what!! You are my hero!


  3. jugglingrealfoodandreallife September 6, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Wow! What an incredible recipe. I like pumpkin butter, but this is adding in a whole new level of flavors. Thanks so much for sharing this with our “Let’s Get Real” readers. I can’t wait to read more. I’m just in awe of your stores of All Hallows Eve. Your memories are so clear. They must have been frozen into place by all of that cold. LOL!


    • thehungrybelgian September 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      I bet it was the painful yearning for fair food & pleasantry that engrained the tediousness of my Catholic duties in my brain. 😉


  4. MaryLisa Gredler September 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi, could I can this ?


    • thehungrybelgian September 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      MaryLisa, I’m not a canning person, but I heard that pumpkin butter isn’t safe for canning. Don’t ask me why, as I have no clue… but this one is so tasty, it’ll be gone in the 2+ weeks it’ll keep in the fridge! 😉


  5. Jo and Sue September 24, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Oh my gosh! I saw this on Confessions of a Food Lover’s Facebook page and had to come tell you how crazy good this looks! Thank you for sharing your recipe 🙂


    • thehungrybelgian September 24, 2013 at 5:44 am #

      Thank Joe & Sue! As an inside tip, you can also not roast the pecans and churn them into a nut butter consistence with a food processor for even richer texture.. 😉


  6. Andrea September 27, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Would this be ok to freeze?


    • thehungrybelgian September 27, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Hi Andrea, I actually don’t know as I can’t keep this stuff around long enough for me to have to preserve it somehow. I know pumpkin butter is considered ‘unsafe’ for canning, but I did a quick Google search and a lot of sites state that pumpkin butter freezes beautifully… and I can imagine it would too. I will have to try it myself some time.


  7. Betty Taylor September 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    I have never been one to eat much in the way of pumpkin. I love pumpkin pie! You have such amazing looking recipes. You are tempting me to try these.


  8. Veronica October 2, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    Thank you so much for linking up to our Halloween linky partty, I’m one of the co-hosts at MorningNooNight! This Pumpkin Butter looks beyond amazing! Can’t wait to share it on FB! Thanks again 🙂


  9. kelly September 5, 2014 at 4:37 am #

    Awesome. Made mine in crock pot overnight on low, a double batch. Used maple syrup. Next time I will cut way back on cardamom….


  10. Dany Kapp October 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    Could this be canned in jelly jars to last longer?


    • thehungrybelgian October 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

      No. It’s actually not safe to can pumpkin, I’ve heard.


      • Kelly November 23, 2015 at 8:49 am #

        How many jars will this recipe make?


      • thehungrybelgian November 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

        Hi Kelly, thanks for stopping by. The recipe makes approx. 4x 8oz jars.



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