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Cheese Stuffed Fried Pumpkin Blossoms

I've been dreaming about making this dish for a while -- ever since I saw a version of fried zucchini blossoms featured in a food magazine last year.  Mind you, I'd never actually eaten stuffed blossoms of any kind, but I could immediately tell that it would be one of those "love at first bite" dishes.  The magazine promised me that these various squash blossoms were often sold at farmers' markets.  Once summer arrived, I immediately set out in search of these edible flowers. 

I searched...and I searched...and I searched.  Now with October settled upon us, I had all but given up on finding these elusive treats.  (One day, several weeks back, I did spy a lone squsah blossom in a stranger's yard and almost plucked it for myself...almost.)

There's a small bit of prep involved before you can eat the blossoms.  It feels a bit invasive as you pull out the stamen, but it has to go.  Poor guy.

Today we visited Great Country Farms in search of a few perfect pumpkins.  I was pretty excited.  As I confessed to Ryan on our hayride out to the fields, I had never before actually picked a pumpkin.  My previous pumpkin picking experiences consisted of choosing the best pumpkin from the grocery store.  (I don't think we even had pumpkin patches in Florida.  That's my story, at least, and I'm sticking to it!)

As we tumbled out of the hayride, I immediately saw them! Little children ran to claim their pumpkin prizes and I began plucking the pumpkin blossoms with equal fervor. They were just like the squash blossoms I'd been searching for -- delicate and yellow and just plain beautiful. 

I gathered all the blossoms that I could hold in one hand and then rejoined Ryan to help choose a pumpkin.  We did take home a couple of pumpkins today -- one for decoration and one for eating -- but it was the blossoms that really made the trip a success.


This fall, if your family makes a trip out to the pumpkin patch, make sure to take home some blossoms and try this dish!  Just make sure to use the blossoms on the day you pick them.

Cheese Stuffed Fried Pumpkin Blossoms
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

You'll need...
1 cup all purpose flower
1 cup sparkling water
3/4 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning

for the filling:
2 oz goat cheese, room temperature
1 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp half and half
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp minced garlic
salt + pepper, to taste

7-8 zucchini or pumpkin blossoms
oil, for frying

To prepare the blossoms, trim the stems to about 1 inch. Carefully open the petals and remove the stamen.  Gently rinse the blossoms and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and sparkling water together -- stir until smooth.  Set aside

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil to 350 degrees while you prepare the rest.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the filling.  Carefully spoon about 1-2 tsp of the filling into each blossom.  Gently twist the blossoms to seal.  Dip the blossoms into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off.   Fry a few at a time for 1-2 minutes, until golden.  Allow them to drain on a paper-towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with salt to season and serve with marinara sauce.  

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