Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin Recipes’

Pumpkin Puffs

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

angelsweb

A while back I wrote about the ways in which cooking and music can both be viewed as folk practices. We start with a melody (or a recipe) that has been handed down for generations and put our own little tweak on it, allowing it to evolve.

As Christmas approaches and we’re surrounded by holiday music, I’m struck by another way in which cooking and music resemble each other.

My neighbor Alice Parker, a composer and conductor who excels at getting groups of people to sing with all their hearts (even if they don’t think they can sing!), often exhorts her singers to leave the notes on the page behind.

Music, she says, isn’t notes on a page. It’s what fills a room when singers and instrumentalists lift their eyes off that page and start interpreting the emotions behind the notes.

Music is something concrete plus a group of people coming together plus a little bit of magic.

That description also applies to cooking—particularly at this time of year, when we frequently cook alongside our families and neighbors.

This recipe came together in a group. My apartment complex in Virginia hosts cooking demonstrations from time to time. We thought it might be fun to try a holiday cookie swap. It took place last weekend. Community members brought their own cookies and recipes. As they munched and we talked I threw together a couple of batches of cookies (including my seasonal illumination cookies).

I naturally wanted to try baking something new … or at least new-ish. Those of you who read a lot of my writing will recognize the concoction below as a combination of two formulas: a basic pumpkin pie and the cranberry cream puffs I made a couple of years ago.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but it seemed worth trying. Luckily, I had lots of help filling the puffs from my fellow apartment dwellers.

(I wish I had photos of the event, but we were too busy cooking to remember to take them! I did take one of the final product and one of the filling.)

In end, we decided that this “new” holiday recipe was a definite keeper. So I offer it to you, along with my wishes for a delicious Christmas and a healthy, happy, peaceful new year.

pumpkin puffsweb

Pumpkin Cream Puffs

I know it sounds as though this recipe has a LOT of steps. You can do much of the preparation in advance however. The custard may be done the day before and refrigerated. Ditto the caramel sauce (and you can always skip that and just dust a little confectioner’s sugar on top of your puffs).

Even the cream puffs can be made in advance and frozen for a day or two. Refresh them by baking them, lightly covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. If you prefer to purchase frozen cream-puff shells, feel free to do so. The filling is the important part of the recipe.

Ingredients:

for the custard:

1-1/2 cups pumpkin or winter squash puree
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger or allspice (or a bit of each)
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
2 eggs

for the cream puffs:

1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature (place them in warm water for a few minutes to achieve the right temperature)

for the optional caramel sauce:

1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

for the filling:

2 cups heavy cream
confectioner’s sugar and vanilla to taste (we used about 2 tablespoons sugar—maybe a little more—and 2 teaspoons vanilla)

pumpkin fillingweb

Instructions:

for the custard:

Make the custard early—ideally the day before—so it will have plenty of time to cool.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease a 9-inch pie dish. Combine the custard ingredients, and place them in the pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until firm. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature; then cover it and refrigerate it until you are ready to assemble the puffs.

for the optional but good caramel sauce:

In a heavy, wide-bottom pan that holds at least 2 quarts slowly melt the sugar over medium-low heat. You may push the sugar in from the edges with a heavy spoon or heat-resistant spatula, and you may shake the pan over the heat. Try to avoid stirring the sugar, however. Be very careful; melting sugar can be extremely hot.

When the sugar has melted and turned a lovely caramel brown, remove it from the heat and whisk in half of the cream, followed by the other half plus the salt and vanilla. The sauce will bubble furiously.

If for some reason the sauce seizes (that is, the sugar hardens and doesn’t get absorbed by the cream), put it back over low heat until the sugar melts. Set the sauce aside. If you are making it in advance, cover and refrigerate it when it gets to room temperature so that it will last until you are ready to use it.

for the puffs:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets or line them with silicone.

In a medium saucepan bring the water, butter, and salt to a rolling boil. Throw in the flour all at once. Using a wooden spoon stir it in quickly until it becomes smooth and follows the spoon around the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

Let it rest until it is cool enough so that you can stick your finger in and hold it there for a few seconds (this takes very little time).

Place the dough in a mixer bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each egg. Make sure you continue beating for 1 minute after the last egg goes in. The dough will be stiff.

Drop teaspoonsful of dough onto the cookie sheets, leaving enough space between them so the puffs can expand to golf-ball size in the oven.

Bake the pastries until they puff up and begin to turn a light golden brown—about 15 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and quickly use a sharp knife to cut a small slit in the side of each puff. (This keeps the puffs from getting soggy.) Return them to the oven for 5 more minutes. If the puffs seem in danger of burning, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.

Remove the puffs from the oven and cool them on wire racks.

for the filling:

Just before you are ready to assemble your puffs, whip the cream until it is thick and forms nice peaks, adding the sugar and vanilla toward the end of this process.

Use a whisk to break up the pumpkin custard. Gently fold it into the whipped cream.

for assembly:

Carefully cut open each puff in the middle; you will find that each of them has what King Arthur Flour (from which I slightly adapted the puff recipe) calls a “natural fault line.”

Decorate the bottom of each puff with the pumpkin-cream mixture and replace the top. Drizzle a little caramel sauce on top if desired. (If you prefer a little confectioner’s sugar, go for that.)

This recipe makes about 40 cream puffs. You may make fewer puffs by making them a little bigger—or even more puffs by making them smaller.

Merryweb

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Teri’s Pumpkin Cake

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Teri's Pumpkin Cake web

 
Before I get to today’s recipe, I’d like to remind readers about my beloved Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival, scheduled for TOMORRROW—Halloween!
 
Anyone within shouting distance of western Massachusetts should definitely come (and perhaps enter the festival’s pudding contest). This event offers food, music, and lots of fun.
 
You may come as you are, of course, but there WILL be a prize for best costume for those who feel like dressing up.
 
AND I wanted to mention that we have a winner in the drawng for the book The Perfect Pumpkin. Congratulations to Madge Solomon of Falls Church, Virgnia! I hope to have another drawing soon.
 
Now, on to a perfect Halloween recipe. This cake is ideal for the season—moist, full of good things (a treat), and a little surprising (a treat).
 
I learned to make it from my graduate-school friend Teri Tynes. Teri is smart, vivacious, and just plain fun. Her award-winning blog, Walking Off the Big Apple, is the thinking woman’s (and yes, the thinking man’s) guide to New York.
 
Teri uses her vast knowledge of American culture and history to view the city through the prisms of art, literature, fashion, and photography.
 
I love to make her pumpkin cake at this time of year and think of her.
 
The Cake: 
 
Ingredients: 
 
1-1/2 cups canola oil
2 cups sugar
3-1/8 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups mashed pumpkin
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
 
My friend Chas grew this lovely little pumpkin.

My friend Chas grew this lovely little pumpkin.

 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (or spray it with Baker’s Joy). Mix the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Combine 3 cups of the flour and the other dry ingredients and add them to the oil and sugar along with the pumpkin. (Reserve the remaining flour.) Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
 
In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/8 cup flour with the nuts and raisins. Add them to the batter. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with raisin frosting. Serves 10 to 12.
 
Teri’s Secret Raisin Frosting
 
This icing is a bit tricky. It can almost burn if you don’t stir carefully. It looks a little strange and lumpy as it goes on the cake, but the texture of the final product is one of its joys. I love the fact that it’s SUPPOSED to look messy since most of my baked goods look that way anyway.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins (plus a few more if you can’t resist; I usually just throw them in impulsively)
1 generous handful of flaked, sweetened coconut
 
Instructions:
 
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut and raisins. Let the frosting stand for a minute (or maybe 2 or 3) to cool slightly. Spoon and spread it generously over your pumpkin cake.  
 
I was hoping to look exotic and gorgeous in these glasses, like Halle Berry in "Catwoman." Instead, I'm afraid I look more like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"--creepy and middle aged. In any case, I wish you a Happy Halloween!

I was hoping to look exotic and gorgeous in these glasses, like Halle Berry in "Catwoman." Instead, I'm afraid I look more like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"--creepy and middle aged. Oh, well ... Halle, Gloria, and Tinky all wish you a Happy Halloween!

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November in the Hills: Embracing the Darkness (Part I)

Sunday, November 9th, 2008
Heather's Pumpkin Bread

Heather’s Pumpkin Bread

 
The blaze is gone.
 
The burst of color in our hills has muted. The sun is making itself scarce. The grays of November have arrived.
 
I’m not sure why November always takes me by surprise. It comes along every year. Nevertheless, during the glory of early autumn optimism fills my heart just as leaves fill the streams, and I nurture a tiny hope that the color and warmth will decide, just this once, not to retreat.
 
When instead of an eternal October we get a very real November, my dog, my cat, and I grow a little grumpy. Truffle and Lorelei Lee gather by the woodstove earlier and earlier each day, training their glare on me until I relent and light a fire.
 
I appreciate their viewpoint and enjoy the fire myself. Nevertheless, I find that the best cure for the November blahs is to leave my hearth and seek out people who look forward to this time of year—who instead of huddling inside embrace the darkness out of doors.
 
One such person is my neighbor in Hawley, Massachusetts, Cyndie Stetson. Cyndie is famous (one might almost say notorious) locally for the lavish Halloween display outside her home. The high point of her year comes in late October and November. An avid watercolorist, Cyndie uses her artist’s eyes to perceive much more variety in our hills than I.
 
“I love the colors in November—the browns, the purples, the grays,” she told me recently. “I love seeing and hearing the geese going overhead. I love growing pumpkins and gourds. When I was a kid, we grew gourds and sold them at my grandmother’s on a stone wall. So I grow gourds every year.”
 
The darkness and the cold give Cyndie permission to act creatively, unleashing her imagination in a way that the light of summer and early autumn cannot. “I feel more energetic at this time of year,” she said with a smile.
 
Here’s a terrific pumpkin bread recipe to help you celebrate gourd season along with Cyndie.
 
Thanks to Heather Welch of M&M Green Valley Produce in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, for sharing it. The boozy raisins are my own addition, and they’re optional, especially for kids.
 
This makes 2 big loaves so you may want to make 3 smaller loaves and reduce your cooking time. On the other hand, the big loaves have a lovely contrasting texture—crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside.
 
 
Part of Cyndie's Display (Courtesy of Lark Thwing)

Part of Cyndie’s Display (Courtesy of Lark Thwing)

 
Ingredients:
 
1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
3-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
 
In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, water, and sugar. Beat in the eggs.
 
In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir them into the pumpkin mixture JUST until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
 
Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check the bread at the hour mark. If it is brown on the outside but still very soggy on the inside, reduce the heat to 325 degrees, and continue to check every 5 minutes until the toothpick test works. Remove the bread from the pans, and turn it onto racks to cool. Makes 2 loaves.
 
Truffle was allowed a SMALL piece of pumpkin bread.

Truffle was allowed a SMALL piece of pumpkin bread.