Colorful Early Autumn Recipes: Hearty Pumpkins, Spicy Pecans, Savory Tarts, Roasted Red Peppers, and Cinnamon Apples

I wanted to share some of my all-time favorite autumn recipes with you today!

This exotic sounding dip tastes amazing with tortilla or roasted pita chips. The lime juice and chili in the recipe are the perfect accents to the nutty, roasted pumpkin seed flavor. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Pumpkin Seed Dip with Chili and Lime

1 1/2 cups hulled pumpkin seeds*
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
3/4 cup vegetable stock
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Dry roast pumpkin seeds in a skillet, stirring constantly until they begin to pop. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then grind finely in a food processor. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in the skillet, add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds before adding spices. Stir in ground pumpkin seeds and vegetable stock, and cook down until creamy. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

Puree the mixture once more in the food processor for a smooth consistency. Put into your favorite serving bowl and sprinkle with a bit of ground paprika, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature with tortilla or roasted pita chips. Addictive!

*Be certain to use "hulled" pumpkin seeds; this is absolutely essential for the success of this recipe - enjoy!

These make a delightful warm appetizer and are quite easy to make. The brilliant color of the red peppers when pureed is fantastic!

Roasted Red Pepper Crostini

1 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (you can make your own, or use purchased roasted bell peppers, well-drained)
2 Tbsp. cashew nuts
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
dash of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

4 oz. / 150 grams soft, spreadable goat cheese
basil leaves or other fresh herbs for garnish


Preheat oven ot 350ºF / 175ºC. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and toast lightly for about 5-7 minutes. Keep oven warm.

In the meantime, combine garlic, red peppers, cashews, cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

(It is a real time-saver to use purchased marinated roasted red peppers, and the crostini taste wonderful either way.)

First, spread toasted baguette slices with the soft goat cheese, and then top with a tablespoon of the red pepper spread. Return to the oven and bake crostini until warm and slightly bubbly - about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle a few fresh herbs on top as a garnish, if desired, and serve warm. Yes.

This pumpkin soup recipe is one of my autumn favorites. Healthy, hearty, wonderful!

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Creme Fraiche

1 onion, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small pumpkin, peeled, trimmed, and cubed (about 6 cups)
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili
1/4 tsp. curry powder
8 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. salt
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)

In a large soup pot, saute onion in olive oil for 1 minute, then add pumpkin, potatoes, and spices. Saute, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, then add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove from heat, and puree with an immersion mixer or in a blender. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Reheat soup, as necessary, and garnish each bowlful with a spoonful of creme fraiche or sour cream before serving, if desired.

This is a lovely late summer/early autumn free form savory tart. The pastry crust is is wonderfully flaky and scented with olive oil, and the goat cheese, eggplant, tomato mixture topped with a sprinkling of pine nuts is heavenly.

Eggplant Goat Cheese Tart with Cherry Tomatoes and Pine Nuts


2 cups / 250 grams flour
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. salt
6-7 Tbsp. ice water


6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of chili flakes
1 tsp. provencial herbs
1 eggplant, diced
salt + pepper
12-14 cherry tomatoes, halved
5 oz. / 150 grams goat cheese roll, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine flour with oil, egg yolk, and salt. Stir in ice water gradually until dough clings together. Knead briefly, press into a ball, and let rest, covered. Grease or line a baking sheet and preheat oven to 400ºF / 200ºC.

Sauté garlic, chili flakes, herbs, and eggplant in 3 Tbsp. olive oil or until eggplant is soft, tender, and golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out pastry to form a large free form oval shape about 1/4" thick. Place on baking sheet and brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. (I roll out the dough directly on a sheet of parchment paper, and lift the paper with the dough onto the baking sheet.) Distribute eggplant topping onto dough, add cherry tomatoes cut side up, then sprinkle on chopped goat cheese and the pine nuts.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Perfect with a green salad and a glass of wine. 

I developed this quiche recipe after trying and testing countless varieties. The filling is easy to make and you can substitute different vegetables if you'd like - zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes work very well too.

Bell Pepper, Mushroom, and Red Onion Quiche with Feta Cheese


Use your own favorite (unsweetened) pastry dough recipe for the shell (my personal favorite is my Grandma's Butter Crust Pastry which I also use for my Cranberry Apple Tart, but eliminating the sugar), and pre-bake pastry in form for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Prick pastry dough lightly with a fork before baking to avoid air bubbles.

Important: use a 10 or 11 inch ceramic or springform pan. If you only have small 9 inch pie forms, then add another egg to the filling and make two quiches.

Vegetable saute:

1 red bell pepper, chopped2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and chopped1 red onion, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced2-3 Tbsp. olive oilherbs of your choicesalt/pepper
Saute chopped vegetables in olive oil with a sprinkle of herbs of your choice and salt/pepper to taste. Be sure to saute the vegetables until they have released their juices and moisture has evaporated from the pan - otherwise your quiche may get soggy! Let cool.


3 eggs1 cup cream1/2 cup milk4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled finely
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, gratedsalt and pepper to taste
Combine eggs, cream, milk, and Feta cheese in a bowl until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses for later.

To assemble:

Scatter the Swiss cheese on the bottom of your cooled pastry shell. (This is another secret to keeping your crust crisp - not soggy.) Top with cooled vegetable saute mixture, then pour over egg/cream filling. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375ºF or until golden and center has puffed.

Let cool for 10 minutes or so before serving to set. Wonderful with a fresh salad. Enjoy!

Wonderful autumn muffins for breakfast or afternoon tea! This recipe is quick and simple, and these muffins are a warming treat served fresh from the oven with a pat of butter.

Pumpkin Pecan Spice Muffins

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. each: ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ginger
(or 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice blend)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400ºF / 200ºC. Generously grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.

Combine sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin, mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Stir pumpkin mixture quickly into the dry ingredients, then fold in pecans. Mix just until all ingredients are moistened.

Fill muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full; muffins will expand during baking. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with butter.

Note: The 3/4 cup pumpkin puree is roughly half of a 15 oz. can of pumpkin. I freeze the remaining puree and use for another batch of muffins later. If you are baking for a crowd (think Halloween or Thanksgiving), you could double the recipe and use the entire can :) Hope you enjoy these!

Autumn has arrived, and simple nut and maple-flavored cakes like this one are perfect for the season. I made this for a Sunday morning brunch, and it was delicious warm with a pot of coffee. The ingredients for the cake are mostly light and healthy, so you won't have too much of a guilty conscience after indulging.

Maple Pecan Cake

Pecan Topping:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbsp. melted butter


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter and flour a 9" round springform pan.

For the pecan topping: Mix together pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle over melted butter and stir well. Set aside.

For the cake batter: In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder and soda, salt. In a separate bowl, beat maple syrup, oil, and eggs until well blended. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients all at once, and mix by hand until evenly combined.

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan, then sprinkle on half of the pecan topping. Cover with remaning batter, and sprinkle over the rest of the pecan mixture.

Bake for 38-45 minutes, or until cake tests done with a toothpick.

Made with fresh apples, this cinnamon scented cake has a crispy caramelized upper crust that you will love. It is my German mother-in-law's favorite cake recipe of mine, and that is a true recommendation!

French Cinnamon Apple Cake

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
2 eggs
2/3 cup (130 grams) sugar
1/4 (75 ml) cup milk
1 Tbsp. rum
4 Tbsp. (60 grams) butter, melted
1 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt

for caramelized topping:
1 egg, beaten
6 Tbsp. (90 grams) butter, melted
1/2 cup (100 grams) raw or brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla (or 1 packet vanilla sugar)
2 Tbsp. ground or sliced almonds (good, but optional)

Preheat oven to 325ºF / 160º C. Grease well and/or line (important!) the bottom and sides, of a springform pan. 

Gently put all of the sliced apples in the bottom of the pan. Next, beat eggs and sugar together, then add milk, rum, and melted butter. Separately, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture, and stir to make a smooth batter.

Pour batter over the fresh apple slices. Tap the pan gently to help batter is settle, and smooth out the top a bit (the batter will sink in between the apples while baking). Bake for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, combine the topping ingredients. Remove the cake from the oven briefly (after the first 40-45 minute baking time is completed), and spoon over the topping. Return the cake to the oven for another 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Cool for 20-30 minutes and serve warm - with fresh whipped cream if desired. Memorable!

Notes: If you line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment/baking paper, it will make removing the cake from the springform pan much easier. I prefer to use a 10 inch/26 cm springform pan for this cake. It's so good, it is worth the extra trouble. xo

I hope you enjoy these seasonal recipes as much as we do! What tasty ways to celebrate autumn!

Have a great weekend and sunny September hugs from Berlin!