Tag-Archive for ◊ pumpkin ◊

16 Nov 2010 Sweet Potato Pie

A friend asked me, “How does Sweet Potato Pie compare to Pumpkin Pie?” and I answered, “Sweet Potato Pie is Pumpkin Pie’s richer cousin.” How about that? Sometimes words don’t fail me! I got it exactly right!

I looooooove me some Sweet Potato Pie.  The best Sweet Potato Pie I ever tasted was from Everett & Jones BBQ in Jack London Square, Oakland.  I wish I had their recipe, but since I don’t, I’ve worked hard at creating the best darn possible recipe for Sweet Potato Pie that I can.  It’s been years of trial and error.  Well, no error.  I’ve never met a Sweet Potato Pie I didn’t like.  It’s been years of upping spices and enriching the filling.  The latest enrichment has been to add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger.  I saw that Cat Cora put fresh ginger in her Sweet Potato Pie, so decided to add it to mine.  I still like Everett & Jones’ Sweet Potato Pie better, but just a bit!  I suspect they must put at least double the brown sugar in their pie than what I put in my pie, but I don’t know for sure.  I think a field trip is in order.  I need to investigate this further.  After all, I am a serious food blogger now! As for Cat Cora’s pie, I think mine is better.  I don’t remember maple syrup, dark brown sugar, or whipping cream being in her pie.

Here’s MY best recipe for Sweet Potato Pie, and here’s an oddity; this recipe is not made with sweet potatoes, it’s made with yams!  Use Beauregard yams; the long yams with the purple skins and orange flesh. Sweet Potato Pie is a “must have” on our Thanksgiving dessert table.   Walk away from the pumpkin pie, and say “Hello” to its richer cousin!

Sweet Potato Pie

  • 1 unbaked pie crust in a 9 inch glass pie pan, chilled
  • 1½ cups cooked, mashed “sweet potatoes” / Beauregard Yams, about 2 large (To cook the sweet potatoes: microwave whole potatoes [don’t forget to prick them] about 6 minutes on each side OR bake in a 400º oven for about 1 hour. Cool and scrape the flesh out. I prefer to bake the potatoes, rather than microwave.)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (Grade B has a more robust flavor)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cooled mashed sweet potato with brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, fresh ginger and salt.  Stir well to combine.

Whisk in eggs and cream.

Pour pie filling into prepared pie crust.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until filling is set in middle and slightly puffed around the edges.

Cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate.  Can be made up to two days ahead.

Serve with slightly sweetened whipped cream-some people will declare their undying love and affection for you if your beat 1-2 tablespoon of Bourbon or Rum in with the sugar to each cup of whipping cream-or, better yet, cinnamon ice cream (see recipe on this blog).

I hope you enjoy Sweet Potato Pie as much as I do 🙂  If you are ever in the vicinity of Everett & Jones, pulllleeeese  bring me back one of their sweet potato pies.  I’ll love you forever!

11 Nov 2010 Pumpkin-Maple-Pecan Sundaes

I saw a Maple-Pecan-Bacon Sundae in last month’s issue of Bon Appetite.  I’d heard about bacon brownies and bacon cookies and bacon cupcakes and I was ready to be on the cutting edge with Bacon Sundaes.  With a friend coming over for lunch,  I was ready for some taste testing. We were prepared for a drop-dead wonderful taste sensation.  I warmed the sauce, poured it over two flavors of ice cream (vanilla and coffee), and set the sundaes down. We tasted. I looked at her.  She looked at me.  We tasted again.  We shook our heads.  We tried it one more time. “Nooooooooo”, I said.  “Nooooooooo”, she said.

It just didn’t work. Bacon does not belong on ice cream.  Nope.  Not ever. The bacon was like a cold gummy bear, all texture, little flavor.  What salt kick did come, came after the chewing was over, and by that time the sauce and the ice cream had been swallowed.  The dessert just didn’t work.  But it had potential. We liked the sauce. We liked it over the coffee ice cream best, but still it wasn’t quite right.

I tinkered a bit more, and this is what I came up with… the warm Maple-Pecan Sauce (minus the bacon), drizzled over homemade Pumpkin ice-cream, and topped with a bit of bourbon whipped cream. Now here’s a nice dessert alternative for Thanksgiving, or an nice ending to any fall meal!

Just a note:  Pumpkin ice cream has a bit of a grainy texture (ALL pumpkin ice cream has this issue, unless it has been made with pumpkin flavoring rather than pumpkin puree), but with the sauce and the whipped cream, it’s not so noticeable and the pumpkin flavor goes fabulously well with the maple, the pecans, and the bourbon.  Mmmmmmmm 🙂  I taste tested pumpkin ice creams, too.  This one’s the best.

Maple Pumpkin Pecan Sundaes

with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream

2 cups whipping cream (35%)
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree

  1. Gently heat the cream, milk, sugar, spices and salt over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and bubbles form around the edge of the pan.
  2. Stir warm cream into the pumpkin along with the vanilla.
  3. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until cold.
  4. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

I found this recipe at Christie’s Corner.

Maple-Pecan Sauce

¾ cup Grade B Maple Syrup
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger (I used Australian crystallized ginger, it’s very soft)
½ cup pecan halves

  1. Combine maple syrup and cinnamon in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to ½ – 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove sauce from heat.  Discard cinnamon sticks.  Stir in lemon juice, chopped ginger and pecan halves.  Can be made 2 hours ahead.  Let sit at room temperature and then reheat slightly to serve.
  3. Spoon warm sauce over scoops of pumpkin ice cream. Serve immediately with a bit of Bourbon Whipped Cream, if desired.

I found the inspiration for these sundaes at Epicurious. The original recipe had diced maple glazed bacon in the sauce but just. say. “NO”!

Bourbon Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon

  1. Whip with electric mixer until creamy.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. Happy Fall!

31 Oct 2010 Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate and Mochas

One of my daughters doesn’t drink coffee.  How she managed to grow up in this house and not drink coffee is a mystery.  She’s not into tea either.  It’s shocking!  She’s left out when the rest of us sit around enjoying the serenity and civility of  good cup of coffee (or tea, when the English relatives stay with us).  As a good Mama, I am trying out some hot chocolate recipes so she can join us for a cuppa.  Last year I found a winner in Chai Hot Chocolate.  This year, and just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving, I have found another winner, Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate, which I found posted at Good Life Eats.

Note:  I upped the cocoa powder a bit, reduced the white chocolate a bit and upped the milk a bit because I found it unbearably sweet at first.

When I tasted this concoction, it was just crying out (yes, crying out) for coffee.  So I gave it some. YES!  Beautiful!  Perfect!!!  So, not only do I have a delicious Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate for my daughter, but the rest of us can enjoy Pumpkin Spice White Mochas!  (To make a mocha, combine equal parts of the base mixture and a very strongly brewed coffee–see recipe below).  YUM!

I love it when things work out like this!  Everyone in the family gets just what they like, with almost no extra work. Aaahhh, I can’t wait until they all get home and we canhave a cuppa together!  Having a cup of coffee, or a cup of tea, together is an honored ritual the world over, and for good reason.  Take the time!

Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

6 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 bag (11 ounces) white chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard, NOT Nestle)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon allspice

In a heavy saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk, white chocolate, and cocoa powder. Cook over medium heat, whisking periodically, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, and ginger. Add the remaining milk, 1 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Makes six servings.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Pumpkin Spice White Mocha

Brew some very strong coffee, 1 cup ground coffee to 4 cups water.  For each serving combine equal parts of the strong coffee and the Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate from the recipe above.

Isn’t this a perfect recipe for a family to enjoy together this time of year? Thanks SO much for stopping by my kitchen today!

29 Oct 2010 Rum-Pum Pumpkin Bundt Cake

It’s Fall!  The goal is to eat a pumpkin rich food every day, right?  Today, Rum-Pum Pumpkin Cake!  I’ve been making this cake since I cut the recipe out of a newspaper in the nineteen-eighties.  The cake is moist, pumpkin rich, studded with 2 cups of dried fruit and nuts, with a splash o’ rum, a hearty heap o’ cinnamon and topped with an orange-cinnamon glaze.  What’s not to like?

Bundt cakes serve a lot of people, so invite the neighbors over for coffee and cake.  It’s a fun thing to do, and there’s no stress if you do it on-the-spur-of-the-moment.  While the cake is baking, send this email,  “Hi Neighbors, I’ve baked a cake, and we can’t eat it all ourselves.  Soooo, we’d like to invite you to drop by our house for coffee and a slice of pumpkin cake between 3 and 4 PM this afternoon.  Stay for 10 minutes, or stay for 30…just come on by! Come as you are, of course. We’ll see you soon.”  See how easy that is?  Now, no one would blame you if you wanted to close the blinds, encircle the cake, and eat it all yourself…the choice is yours!

Rum-Pum Pumpkin Cake

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 ½ cup vegetable oil OR 3/4 cup applesauce plus 3/4 cup  veg. oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons dark rum (The rum flavor is not very pronounced.  If you want a stronger rum flavor, use rum extract for part of the rum)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon (yes, 2 tablespoons–it works, and is not overpowering)
2 teaspoons grated orange peel (optional)
2 cups dried fruit (Last time I used 1 cup dark raisins, 1/2 cup cherries, and 1/2 cup apricots. Use any dried fruit that appeals to you, or that you have on hand.  I think golden raisins and snipped apricots are especially good. Dried cranberries are also good)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I substitute 1 cup diced chopped and peeled Granny Smith apple)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with a baking spray or butter and flour.

Mix pumpkin, oil, applesauce and sugar together with an electric mixer.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in rum.

In another bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and optional grated orange peel.

In a third bowl combine the dried fruit, and the nuts or chopped apple.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoonful of the flour mixture over the dried fruit mixture and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Add remaining flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat well.

Stir flour dusted dried fruit and nuts/chopped apple into pumpkin-flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 1 hour.  (Original recipe said 1 hour and 25 minutes, but I have never had to cook the cake for that long.

Remove cake from oven when done, cool for 3 – 5 minutes, then turn out to a baking rack to cool completely.

When cool, drizzle with cinnamon-orange glaze.

Cinnamon-Orange Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange extract OR grated rind of one orange
2 tablespoons dark rum

Beat all ingredients together until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake.

Now invite some friends over (or close the blinds).  Enjoy your impromptu party to welcome Fall! Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.

26 Oct 2010 Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta

A few weeks ago my friend Nancy and I went to a free cooking class at Williams-Sonoma.  We like free. Part of the free class was a sales pitch, which we had to sit through before the the free food was served.  We were shown $300 pans we couldn’t cook without, $500 blenders to blend and boil soup (I am not kidding), and a $12 bottle of Pumpkin-Parmesan Pasta Sauce that would change our lives.  We like free; a $12 bottle of pasta sauce was out of the question…, but that boiling blender was sooooo tempting. I still dream about it. But I digress… After downing the free samples (and not being that impressed), I went home to Google Pumpkin-Parmesan Pasta Sauce Recipes.  Five popped up. I compared them. Combined them.  Made them. I fed the first batch to my grandson. He loved it (and he doesn’t love everything).  My daughters had the leftovers and they said the words that make me swoon, “This is really good, Mom”.  I love those girls. Feeling I was on the right track, I upped the spices a bit, and made another batch for my Dining For Women group. They liked it too! YAY! They asked me to post the recipe. I love those women.  I hope you bought an extra can of Pumpkin Puree. You are going to want to use one to make this recipe at least once this season.  It’s tasty, it’s different, it’s nutritious and it’s just the thing to be eating this time of year and, drum roll please, it’s FREE!

My only caution about this recipe: don’t make it ahead of time.  Make it, and then serve it immediately. Right after combining the sauce with the pasta, it’s all nice and creamy, but it doesn’t take long for the two parts to congeal into a big blob.  Other people didn’t seem to mind, but I did. Perhaps I need to add more liquid to keep it creamy longer?

I wanted to serve the sauce with cheese tortellini or cheese ravioli tonight, but I forgot to buy some, so I had to make do with what I had in the cupboard, Rotelle. I’ve also made this with with Penne and Bowties, too, and both were good. But I really wanted to try it on cheese ravioli 🙁  If you try it on ravioli, let me know how it is, please!

I serve this as a side dish.  Recipe will serve 6-8.  This sauce goes together quickly.  Not as quickly as opening a $12 jar of sauce, but almost!

Pumpkin-Parmesan Pasta Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped shallot (about ¼ cup)
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 box pasta (penne, rotelle, bowtie)
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. ground sage
½ tsp. nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Fill a pasta pot with water, bring to boil, add salt.

While the pasta water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a skillet and stir in onions and shallots.  Saute until translucent.  Stir in minced garlic and saute for another minute or so.

By this time, your water should be boiling.  Stir in pasta, and cook according to package directions.

Add pumpkin, broth, cream, vinegar and spices to the onion/shallots/garlic mixture in the skillet.  Simmer on low for 5 minutes or so.

Gradually stir in 1/3 of the cheese to the sauce.  When that cheese has been incorporated, repeat with another 1/3 of the cheese.  Then repeat again with remaining cheese. Stir in chopped fresh sage.

By this time, your pasta should be cooked.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Stir the drained pasta into the sauce.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Serve immediately. Enjoy!  Happy Fall!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Raise your hand if you are a pumpkin junkie! (I am, I am!!)

16 Oct 2010 Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

I took twelve slices of this cake to my clay class yesterday.  I think it made everyone very happy.  The class was certainly more social than usual!

I’ve had a request to post this recipe, so here it is, just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving. It looks great, doesn’t it? This is truly a special event cake.  The pumpkin doesn’t really add taste, but it sure enhances the chocolate and keeps the cake moist.  The cake tastes sooo good. The frosting is cream cheese, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and a bit of cinnamon. YUM! (I think the frosting is the magic of this recipe) To gild the lily (I think that’s the right expression) the whole thing is glazed with bittersweet chocolate.  How can this be anything but good?

You can do this! My instructions are pretty explicit so if you have trouble with them, let me know! This has been Abby’s signature cake for a few years now, and a couple of her friends request it for their birthdays (even August birthdays!). This recipe is from a 2007 “Country Living” magazine.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

For the Cake:

1 ½ c. flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark is good)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. butter, softened
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. sugar
3 eggs plus one egg yolk

Preheat oven to 375º. Line the bottoms of two 9″ cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter (or spray with Pam for Baking). Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In another bowl stir together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then the egg yolk. Reduce speed to low and beat in 1/3 flour mixture, and then 1/3 pumpkin mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until cake passes the toothpick test, about 35 minutes. Cool, frost and glaze as directed below.

For the Frosting:

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ stick butter, softened
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
3 T. cocoa powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
Maybe, 2 – 3 T. cream (you might not need ANY…)

orange paste food coloring, optional (the orange color, with the cocoa, makes for a sort of rust colored frosting.  I like it, but it’s purely optional.  There is no food coloring on the top, whole cake picture.  The second picture, the fuzzy close-up one, does have some orange food coloring in the frosting.)

Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Stir in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, orange color, if using, and enough cream (IF needed) to make a stiff spreading consistency. Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers, and use the remaining frosting for the tops and sides. Chill cake for a minimum of 30 minutes before glazing.

For the Chocolate Glaze:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. butter
3 T. corn syrup
½ c. heavy cream

Place chopped chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small bowl. Heat heavy cream until boiling. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture in bowl. Let sit for 3 minutes then blend with whisk until smooth. Let glaze sit for 15-45 minutes to thicken slightly. Pour the glaze on top of the chilled and frosted cake. Smooth out glaze to edges, and then let drip down the sides. Refrigerate to set glaze.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. This is one of my “signature” cakes.  You have to make it at least once this Fall.  Send me a picture when you do!