This combo of autumnal flavors and scents has appealing applications beyond pie. In this recipe lightly adapted from Molly Gilbert’s “Sheet Pan Sweets” (Union Square, $22.99), vitamin A-rich canned pumpkin puree is blended with olive oil, maple syrup, and sweet spices and tossed with nutrient-packed nuts, seeds, and grains for a seasonal granola less sweet and more flavorful than most any from a box. Start your day with a bowlful for breakfast or carry a baggie-full on a hike or bike ride. Fortify with dried fruits or other nuts and seeds, and tinker with the spices and sweetener as you like. Makes 2 quarts. – Susan Puckett
3 cups rolled oats
¾ cup wheat bran
1 cup pecan halves or pieces
¾ cup slivered almonds
½ cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
¼ cup pure maple syrup (or a little more if you have a sweet tooth)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 or 2 cups dried cranberries, raisins, or other dried fruit (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack set in the middle position.
On a large, unlined baking sheet, combine the oats, wheat bran, pecans, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves or allspice, and nutmeg until smooth.
Drizzle the pumpkin mixture over the oat mixture and toss together with two large spoons until thoroughly mixed.
Spread the mixture evenly in the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the ingredients are thoroughly dry, well-toasted, and very fragrant.
Allow the mixture to cool completely in the pan. If desired, stir in dried fruit with a rubber spatula. Transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bags and store at room temperature for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.