Cinderella Pumpkins: A French Heirloom Pumpkin Variety (Rouge Vif d’Etampes)

Looking for a whimsical heirloom pumpkin to bring some cozy cheer to your autumn front porch or fall pumpkin recipes? It’s time to find a Cinderella Pumpkin!

The Cinderella Pumpkin, also known as Rouge Vif d’Etampes, is a large heirloom pumpkin variety known for its classic ribbed shape and deep orange-red rind. These pumpkins are revered for their beauty, and are said to be the inspiration for famous illustrations of Cinderella’s Carriage. The Cinderella variety also makes a fantastic cooking pumpkin. Fortunately, this gourmet heirloom is now widely grown all across the world in specialty market gardens.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the fanciful Cinderella Pumpkin!

Cinderella Pumpkins

What Is The Cinderella Pumpkin?

If you’re a fan of the classic Cinderella film, this fairytale pumpkin will look familiar. It’s the variety that has been used by illustrators as inspiration for Cinderella’s magical carriage. And for good reason—this is a very magical variety! This heirloom, Rouge Vif d’Etampes, was developed in France before being introduced to the U.S. by the Burpee Seed Company in 1883.

If you’re searching for unique types of pumpkins, these ones are a perfect choice. They are a rich orange color with hints of scarlet and have deep ribbing. The Cinderella is a medium to large-sized pumpkin, with an average diameter of about 10-15 inches and a weight between 10-30 pounds (somewhat variable in size). They are rounded, but the stem end is flattened.

A single plant typically produces 2-3 full-size Cinderella pumpkins. They’re best planted well after the last frost in spring when the temperatures begin to average around 70°F. They are ready for harvest approximately 100-110 days after sowing the seeds.

Growing Cinderella Pumpkins

Cinderella Pumpkins (Rouge Vif d’Etampes) grow best when planted directly in the soil outside. Buy your Cinderella pumpkin seeds in the winter or early spring from a reputable company. In colder climates, seedlings can be started indoors to lengthen the growing season.

The classic Cinderella Pumpkin (Rouge Vif d’Etampes) seeds are traditional heirloom seed, but there is also a modern hybrid version available called “Cinderella’s Carriage”. The original heirloom plants tend to grow larger and more vigorously, but the modern hybrid version is a more reliable, consistent producer. Here are the classic heirloom seeds and the newer hybrid seeds, so you can compare:

Cinderella Pumpkin plants are typically very vigorous. The seeds sprout quickly, typically within a week of planting. The vines grow slowly in cool late spring temperatures, but start to grow very quickly as the large leaves become established. By midsummer, large immature pumpkins will have set on the long vines.

To keep the Cinderella pumpkin plant healthy, ensure it has plenty of water. These veggies grow best in well-drained, nutrient rich soil. A good organic fertilizer can help the plants get the nutrition they need to produce big, beautiful pumpkins. Cinderella pumpkins take 100-110 days to mature on the vine to fully-grown size.

cinderella pumpkin

Cooking With Cinderella Pumpkins

Cinderella Pumpkins (Rouge Vif d’Etampes) are an excellent cooking variety of pumpkin. The cooked flesh has a sweet flavor and creamy texture. This makes it ideal for baked goods and savory recipes. In fact, it pairs well with just about everything, from cooked fruit to poultry.

Cinderella pumpkins can be roasted whole, in halves, in wedges, or in small cubes. Place the raw pumpkin on a parchment lined sheet (halves are usually placed with the cut side down). Roast in a 375°F oven for about 40 minutes. Cooked pumpkin can be scooped out of the rind and pureed if desired. Roasted pumpkin that is to be served intact is sometimes brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt before roasting.

Cinderella: Looks like Cinderella’s pumpkin coach with its flat, round shape and traffic cone-orange exterior. Its flesh is custardy and smooth, making it wonderful roasted whole, stewed, or blended into a silky soup.”

Purely Pumpkin: More Than 100 Seasonal Recipes to Share, Savor, and Warm Your Kitchen, by Allison Day
Cinderella Pumpkins
Cinderella Pumpkins are routinely available at specialty farm markets and weekend farmers markets.

French Pumpkin Pie 

If you’re yearning for a pumpkin pie, this French pumpkin pie recipe is an ode to the Cinderella pumpkin’s French roots! The pumpkin is cooked down with apples, vanilla beans, and butter to give it a warm, sweet flavor. The vanilla beans are then discarded and pecans are added to the pumpkin and apple mixture. The French pumpkin pie uses puff pastry instead of a traditional pie crust. This gives it a light, fluffy texture.

Cinderella Pumpkin Bisque 

Cinderella pumpkin bisque is perfect for cold autumn nights. It has a vibrant orange color and is made rich through the use of heavy whipping cream. This bisque combines pumpkin, onions, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise to create a mature flavor. This hearty soup is perfect for dinner parties, and it’s easy to beautifully garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs.

Cinderella’s Pumpkin Bread

This sweet pumpkin bread is perfect for midnight snacking. Chances are you already have all the necessary ingredients hiding in your pantry! Before you can mix together all the ingredients, you’ll need to puree your Cinderella pumpkin. Once you have a healthy dose of princess pumpkin puree, you just have to combine it with the other wet and dry ingredients! You’ll need a loaf pan to achieve this recipe. An ornamented bread pan is recommended to give it a little extra fall flair!

Cinderella Pumpkins - lots of them!!

Decorating With Cinderella Pumpkins

Cinderella pumpkins make for perfect fall decor, no matter which way you choose to display them. They are perfect if you’re looking for a more whimsical alternative to the traditional pumpkin varieties that are often used for carving and display.

Cinderella pumpkins can be easily used as a decoration on the front porch for some fall curb appeal. If you’re holding a special dinner party, a Cinderella pumpkin makes for the perfect centerpiece on a large table. It adds a playful touch to your dining table or kitchen island. Then make sure the pumpkin stays snug by adding some filler material around the base. Greenery, such as preserved boxwood or grapevines, will add dimension and contrast to your pumpkin centerpiece.

Cinderella Heirloom Pumpkin

Adding A Modern Twist

Looking for a more contemporary decoration? Use your Cinderella pumpkin as a base for some trendy greens!

A Cinderella pumpkin with a flat top is best for this decoration. After you’ve selected your pumpkin, choose some succulents and filler moss. You’ll need to cut the stem from your pumpkin to create a completely flat top. Next, super glue your moss to the top of your pumpkin. To secure the succulents, you can also use super glue to fix them to the moss. If you want, you can even use faux succulents.

If you’re using real succulents, you might want to forgo the super glue. Instead, fix your pumpkin wherever you plan to display it. Then, arrange the succulents on top as you please. These can be used just about anywhere inside or outside of your home, but they look especially nice on top of wooden furniture. Dark pieces will create a nice backdrop for the vibrant pops of orange and green.

Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane is a home gardener who loves creating healthy, welcoming spaces (indoors and out!) - About Mary Jane (https://www.homefortheharvest.com/authors/about-mary-jane-duford/)

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