Pumpkin spiced lattes. Pumpkin beer. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin oreos. Pumpkin butter. Pumpkin cupcakes. Pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin pop rocks. Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin pie.

Yes, most people obsess over pumpkin-everything during the fall season (and we admit, we absolutely love it too!), but there are so many other scrumptious seasonal fruits and veggies that deserve to be enjoyed – squash, apples, sweet potatoes, pears and pecans to name a few. Chef Ben Baker whipped up a few of his favorite fall recipes (sans pumpkin) for you to enjoy…

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash (roasted)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp Agave nectar
  • Tabasco (dash)
  1. Cut butternut squash lengthwise. Lay face down on a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until flesh is soft.
  2. Saute chopped leeks, garlic, and ginger in a large pot and add vegetable stock.
  3. Puree butternut squash and stir into vegetable stock.
  4. Add orange juice.
  5. Blend soup in a blender until smooth.
  6. Finish with Agave nectar and a dash of Tabasco.
  7. Salt to taste.

Texas Pear Empanadas

Empanada Dough

  • 1 cup Masa Harina
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup water (or more, enough to bind dough)
  1. Mix ingredients together to create dough.
  2. Let rest for about 10 minutes before rolling out.

Filling

  • 3 Texas pears
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. Mix ingredients and filling together.
  2. Cut circles for empanadas and add filling. Fold dough in half to close empanada and secure.
  3. Fry in a little oil at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, or bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Pecan Tarts

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water
  • 2 pinches salt
  1. Use cheese grater to grate butter into flour mixture.
  2. Slowly add iced water until dough pulls together.
  3. Roll out pastry, and allow to rest about 15 minutes.

Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups Agave nectar
  • 3/4 cups melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 8 eggs
  1. Starting with the brown sugar, add the agave nectar and mix the lumps until they are all smoothed out.
  2. Add the melted butter and vanilla.
  3. Beat eggs lightly to break up the yolk, then stir-in eggs slowly.
  4. Strain through china cap.
  5. Use a muffin tin as mold for the tarts. With a circle cutter that is slightly wider than the muffin cup. Cut circles out and gently press into the muffin molds. Fill about halfway with pecan pieces. Ladle filling into the tarts, covering the pecans just a little.
  6. Bake at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.
  7. Allow to cool and un-mold with a butter knife.

Pear Upside Down Tart 

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Use cheese grater to grate butter into flour mixture.
  2. Slowly add ice water until dough pulls together.
  3. Roll out pastry, cut to size and reserve.

Tart 

  • 4 ripe pears
  • 1 cup Riesling or other mildly sweet white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 lemons (juiced)
  1. Peel, core and slice pears and soak in white wine.
  2. Add lemon juice and sugar mixture.
  3. Lay parchment onto baking pan.
  4. Place fanned pears down onto parchment.
  5. Bake pears in preheated oven for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
  6. Reduce and caramelize white wine, lemon juice and sugar.
  7. Pour caramelized mixture onto pears.
  8. Top with rolled out pastry.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees until pastry is golden brown.
  10. Let cool and turn out of pan onto flat baking sheet.
  11. Serve with Tarragon sauce and whipped cream.