The Cinderella pumpkin, also known as Rouge Vif d’Etampes, is a large heirloom pumpkin variety known for its classic ribbed shape and bright orange-red rind. These pumpkins are revered for their beauty and are said to be the inspiration for famous illustrations of Cinderella’s magical carriage. The Cinderella variety also makes a fantastic cooking pumpkin.
Introduction to the Cinderella pumpkin
If you’re a fan of the classic Cinderella film, these fairytale pumpkins will look familiar. It’s the variety that has been used by illustrators as inspiration for the princess’s 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 pumpkin varieties, Cinderella is a perfect choice. They are a rich, bright 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. These pumpkins tend to be flatter than giant pumpkins and you do not need a lot of room to grow Cinderella pumpkins.
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.
“Beloved by the French for more than a hundred years.”The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squash, and Gourds, By Amy Goldman
How to grow Cinderella pumpkins
Cinderella Pumpkins 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 seeds are traditional heirloom seeds, 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.
Cinderella Pumpkin plants are typically very vigorous. The seeds sprout quickly, typically within a week of planting. The cinderella pumpkin vines grow slowly in cool late spring temperatures but start to grow very quickly as the large leaves become established. By midsummer, large baby pumpkins will have been set on the long vines.
Ensure the Cinderella pumpkin plant has plenty of water to keep it healthy. These veggies grow best in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. A good organic fertilizer can help pumpkin 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.
Ideas for cooking Cinderella pumpkins
Cinderella pumpkins are an excellent cooking variety of pumpkins. 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 are also an excellent substitute for other winter squash. They 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. A 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
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
A Cinderella pumpkin bisque is perfect for cold autumn nights. It has a vibrant, bright 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!
Decorating with Cinderella pumpkins: Different approach to fall decor
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.
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, superglue 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 pops of rich orange and vibrant green.