Friday, October 28, 2011

Serving Up {Dessert}: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise

I must be like seventy five years old or something!  Why else would I have TWO postings for bread pudding in one months time?

I will tell you why.  Because I found this recipe last year as I was preparing the menu for our Thanksgiving and I lost sleep over it!  And I was not disappointed.  If you like bread pudding (which I do) and you like pumpkin (which I really do) this recipe is going to exceed your expectations!

I have already mentioned what a great recipe for Pumpkin Bread this recipe uses.  The bread is cubed and dried, covered in a custard sauce and then baked until it reaches a soft, pudding-like texture.  It is then combined with a Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise and a Caramel Sauce that will have you seriously licking your bowl clean!


Pictured below: Served the Bobby Flay method.
Layer the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, then the (warmed) bread pudding, a scoop of whipped cream and top with the Caramel Sauce.

Pictured below: a great cheater method with the same delicious result.
Top the (warmed) bread pudding with a scoop of Vanilla bean ice-cream and drizzle generously with caramel sauce.

(recipe adapted from Bobby Flay, Food Network)

Begin by baking one loaf of Pumpkin Bread, recipe here.
Once the bread is cool, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly toasted, turning once, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Custard for Bread Pudding
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
Caramel Sauce, recipe follows
Freshly whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined, remove the vanilla pod, and whisk in the bourbon. Strain the custard into a clean bowl.
Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking glass baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.
Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Spoon some of the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, top with some of the bread pudding and drizzle with the Caramel Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.

Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe here
A great cheater creme anglaise is melted ice cream.  Easy!
Buy (high quality) vanilla bean ice cream and place 2 cups of it in a dish in the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving this dessert.  You want it to be melted and "soft" but not completely runny and definitely NOT warm (thus keeping it in the refrigerator).

Caramel Sauce, recipe here
This is my own variation, basically a simpler recipe than Bobby's, but you could even use a caramel ice cream topping with tasty results.
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in the cream and stir until the sugar dissolves completely and sauce is smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Serving Up {Bread}: Pumpkin Knot Rolls

Pumpkin Knot Rolls have been a Thanksgiving tradition since I've been married.  They are easy enough that I really ought to make them more often than just once a year, but I can't imagine Thanksgiving without them.  They are such a beautiful, golden color!  They look absolutely incredible on the dinner table.

Because there aren't any traditional "pumpkin spices" in this recipe, the pumpkin flavor really is barely discernible.  But I believe the benefit of the pumpkin is in the texture.  These rolls are so incredibly soft that you will wish that Thanksgiving came monthly.

(recipe from Taste of Home magazine)
printable version

2 pkgs. Active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp. salt
5 ½ - 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. cold water
Sesame seeds (optional)

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, pumpkin, 2 eggs, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; kneed until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a 10 inch rope; tie into a know and tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, beat water and remaining egg. Brush over rolls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.
Yield: 2 dozen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Serving Up {Cookies}: Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Icing

I think that brown sugar icing is in a dead even tie with cream cheese frosting as my favorite frosting!  How can you choose between them?
Pair the brown sugar icing with these soft, cake-like pumpkin cookies and you have an absolute heavenly combination.  I can pop an entire cookie in my mouth in one bite - and I have.  A few too many times :)

The recipe calls for shortening - and while I have attempted substituting coconut oil and butter, the shortening really creates the best cookie texture.  I have discovered an organic 100% palm oil shortening that is non-hydrogenated (made by Spectrum Naturals) so I am not having any guilt typing the recipe as written.
Besides, it's not the shortening that is the danger - I'm telling you, it's the frosting!


(recipe from Erin B.)
printable version

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and shortening; add vanilla, egg and pumpkin. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Batter will be sticky. Drop by teaspoons onto dark baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes @ 350 degrees. Let cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Icing
½ cup brown sugar
3 Tbs. butter
¾ tsp vanilla
4 Tbs. milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine butter, brown sugar and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding vanilla and powdered sugar. Icing should be a little thicker than a glaze.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Serving Up {Soup}: Pumpkin Curry Soup

I have mentioned before how much my husband loves curry.  I personally love pumpkin.  This soup is the perfect combination of both.  It's just a bonus that this recipe is ridiculously quick and easy to pull together.  I have been making this recipe for probably 10 years and even my three year old refers to it as "the yummy orange soup".  You can't get anything better than a favorable review from the three year old!

The recipe calls for mushrooms, which I have used in the past and would use every time if I weren't the only mushroom eater in the house :(
The mushrooms are a terrific bonus if you can get away with them, but if you're like me, and you can't, rest assured that the recipe does just fine without them.

(recipe from Taste of Home magazine)
printable version

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 to 1 tsp. curry powder
3 cups vegetable broth (I've used chicken too)
1 can (15 ounce) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
fresh chives, optional

In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder until blended. Gradually add the broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt, pepper and nutmeg; heat through.
Garnish with chives if desired.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Serving Up {Bread}: Pumpkin Bread

You know that a recipe is a hit when every time you walk into the kitchen you find crumbly remnants of the baked good on the counter and floor.  That is the positive way to look at it, right?

For the record, I have had pumpkin bread crumbs on my counter for the past three days.  I just noticed the tupperware is finally empty.  While I won't miss the mess, I am already debating about pulling another loaf from the freezer, where I stashed the "extra" loaf.  Too good!

Pumpkin bread can be tricky because some recipes are really dry.  Really, there is nothing worse than a dry loaf of pumpkin bread.  I have a number of yummy pumpkin bread variations - pumpkin coconut and pumpkin-chocolate being my two favorite variations.  But this recipe is a basic pumpkin loaf that is perfect just the way that it is.  It is moist and stays moist even days after baking.  It is the basis of a Pumpkin Bread Pudding that Bobby Flay did on the food network.  I promise to get to the bread pudding recipe (which is awesome) but this recipe for the pumpkin bread has become my one and only recipe.  It's that good.

A tasty dessert is to slice the bread, or cube it, and pair it with vanilla bean ice cream and some homemade caramel sauce.  The combo saved me two weeks ago when we had two families over for Sunday dinner and my oven element went out!  The pumpkin bread, ice cream, caramel combo was so tasty that nobody had any idea that it was a last minute scramble when my planned dessert went out with the heating element :)

(recipe from Bobby Flay, Food Network)
printable version

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and oil at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times.
Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Serving Up {Snack}: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you end up carving (or cooking) a pumpkin this month, don't let those delicious seeds go to waste!

I had about a cup worth of seeds after I cut up my sugar pumpkin for the Roasted Pumpkin with Sage and Shallots recipe.  I decided to rinse the seeds and try toasting them.  They turned out really good and it was so easy to do!


seeds from one pumpkin (about 1 cup)
olive oil

Rinse the seeds to remove them from the pulp.  Place in small sauce pan and cover with water and salt generously.  Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the stove and drain the seeds.  
Place the seeds on a small baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt generously.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until they begin to toast.  Turn them over halfway through the baking time.

***I added a small amount of curry powder to my seeds before toasting them and it was a yummy flavor boost - you could really flavor them with anything if you wanted to get creative!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Serving Up {Vegetable}: Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots and Sage

For the next couple of weeks I am going to be a bit out of commission, but I am leaving some (pre) posts of some of my favorite pumpkin recipes.  I LOVE pumpkin and October is the perfect month to enjoy pumpkin in all of it's glory.  Enjoy!

I have carved pumpkins before, but never in my life have I cut apart a pumpkin with the sole purpose of cooking and eating it.  Until this recipe.  My sister-in-law passed it along to me and I have wanted to make it for a while, but it's hard to find sugar pumpkins to purchase except during the month of October.  So take your chance now and try this recipe before the pumpkins are gone for another 11 months.  
(I found my pumpkin at Trader Joe's and it was the perfect size)

This posting is really two recipes - both completely simple, yet very gourmet.  
The first recipe is for the Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots and Sage.  
Once you have your pumpkin roasted, there is a recipe to follow that pairs the roasted pumpkin with pasta and goat cheese.  
I really liked both recipes, but goat cheese is a bit of an acquired taste and I don't think it went over very well with the kiddos.  If goat cheese isn't your thing either, make the Roasted Pumpkin and serve it as a side with anything.  I am not exaggerating - it was so sweet that I felt like I was literally eating candy.  So good!  I hope you think so too.


(recipe from Martha Stewart)
printable version

1 medium sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2 inch chunks
4 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
3 Tbsl olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Divide pumpkin, shallots, oil and sage between two large rimmed baking sheets.  Season with salt and pepper and toss.
Roast until the pumpkin is tender, 30-35 minutes, tossing once nad rotating sheets halfway through.

(recipe from Martha Stewart)
printable version

12 ounces rigatoni
2 Tbs. butter
5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Roasted pumpkin with shallots and sage (recipe to follow)
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large pot of boiling slated water, cook pasta until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.  Add the butter, cheese and pasta water; toss until butter has melted.
Gently fold in oraste pumpkin; season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Serving Up {Candy}: Halloween Bark

Does your neighborhood do the "Boo" for Halloween?  It's the treat that you get on your doorstep that you must reciprocate to two other neighbors within the next 24 hours.  My kids love it - I kind of dread it.  Last year we got "boo'ed" twice.  After the first "boo" I put the picture of the ghost in our front window, which ought to ensure that we don't get "boo'ed" again.  Our second "boo-ing" occurred at our back door, which doesn't have a visual of our front window.  This year I may photocopy the picture and place it in all of our windows just to be on the safe side.

I realize that I'm being a bit ornery and may have just defeated my purpose of posting this fun, delicious recipe that would be just perfect for a "boo" treat.  Oops!  But really, this is a fun Halloween treat that would make a great treat (if you can't get out of getting "boo-ed :)

I prepared early this year and made a double batch of the bark and stuck it in my freezer so that we would be prepared should the (dreaded) "boo-ing" occur.  So far no "boo" has occurred, but we are down to only a sandwich sized ziploc of the bark remaining!  I guess that speaks to the deliciousness of the recipe!

(recipe from Homebased Mom)
printable version
14 whole Oreos, broken up into thirds or quarters
1 1/2 cup pretzels, broken into pieces
1 lb. white chocolate or white chocolate melts
1 cup candy corn
Halloween sprinkles

Break the cookies, pretzels and about 3/4 of the candy corn onto a parchment lined cookie tray.
Place the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until it is completely melted and smooth.
Pour the chocolate over the cookie/pretzel/candy mixture.  Toss gently with a spatula to ensure everything gets coated.  Sprinkle the remaining candy corn over the top and sprinkle with Halloween sprinkles (optional).
Place in a cool place and allow to cool and harden.  Once the chocolate has set up, break it into bite sized pieces.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Serving Up {Soup}: Thai Coconut Ginger Broth

I admit that this picture is not a good photo.  And there is no way the looks of it will make you jump up and add it to your "to try" list.  But hear me out.  The picture doesn't look good because this is something you make/sip when you don't feel good.

As we enter the "virus" season, make sure you have these ingredients on hand.  I generally leave the chicken out of it when I am ill - I just want the brothy goodness.  There is something healing about pouring this into a mug, holding the warm mug in your hand and sipping the delicious brothy flavors of chicken, lemon and ginger.  It warms all the way down and you can feel good that you are actually putting something healthy into your body when you need it the most.

Here is to a healthy fall, but should you need it, you will be glad to have this recipe.

(recipe from Food Renegade)
printable version

1 quart chicken broth
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp dried chile flakes
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt (to taste)
1-2 cup pulled or cubed cooked chicken (optional)
1-2 green onions, chopped (optional)
chopped cilantro (optional)

Bring the stock to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top and add coconut milk, lemon juice, chile flakes, ginger, and optional chicken. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into soup bowls or mugs and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Serving Up {Muffins}: Pear Pecan Muffins

I get most of my fall produce from a local co-op that purchases directly from local farms and orchards.  It is a terrific option for me - I am supporting local growers and in return I get great prices and amazing produce.  Last month I bought 45 pounds of bartlett pears.  They came to me still a bit green, but after just a couple of days they were perfectly ripe.  They were soft and juicy and the flavor was divine.  We enjoyed them plain, on top of greens and I even managed to bottle about half of them (with the help of my mom).  Seriously delicious!

If you, too, have delicious pears at your disposal, this is a great recipe to make on a crisp fall morning.  You can use fresh pears (as long as they are ripe) or I have been known to use canned pears when I have wanted these muffins when pears are not in season.  When I got this recipe it was called "Pear Walnut Muffins" but I always prefer pecans over walnuts so I changed the nuts and the name of the recipe.  I guess you could leave the nuts out altogether, if you are in to that kind of thing :)

(recipe from Pam H.)

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I have substituted buttermilk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 large (ripe) pear, peeled, cored and chopped fine

Prepare your muffin tin by greasing or using liners.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.  Gently fold in the chopped pear.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Top with finely chopped pecans and additional brown sugar.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until they test done.