Does anything say autumn as unmistakably as a pile of pumpkins? The familiar jack-o'-lantern type works best as a decoration, but many exotic varieties are superb for kitchen use. There's no single list of best seasonal uses for pumpkin — everybody's favourite will be different — but these are some surefire crowd-pleasers.

Your Mug of Coffee

A fragrant, spicy pumpkin latté is right up there among autumn's greatest pleasures, along with colourful leaves and cosy sweaters. As a bonus, you can fine-tune the flavours and sweetness to suit your personal palate.

A Thick, Luscious Shake or Smoothie

You can add pureed pumpkin to almost any smoothie or shake for added nutrition, fibre and sweetness, but it's best in recipes that are already loaded with autumn flavours. Try it instead of sweet potato in an autumn sweet potato smoothie. If you're looking for straight-up indulgence, whip up a Thai pumpkin soup.

A Rockin' Spread or Dip

Pureed pumpkin brings richness and moisture wherever it goes, so it's excellent in dips and spreads. For a seasonal twist, add some your favourite spinach dip, or substitute it for the peppers in roasted red pepper hummus. If you're looking for something a little more exotic, check out the mix of flavours in this pumpkin walnut spread.

A Classic Dessert

Pumpkin pie is a classic, but it can also be a bit repetitive. If you want to change it up a bit, bake your filling in ramekins with a gingersnap cookie at the bottom of each in place of a crust. Turn the traditional pie into finger-friendly pumpkin pie bars, or transform it into an unusual, almost-instant frozen dessert.

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