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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are YOU Ready For Thanksgiving?

Happy Tuesday! Today I realized that Thanksgiving is next week. Don't get me wrong, I knew it was soon...I just didn't realize how soon. Among the millions of things that need to get done, baking is definitely one of them (and maybe near the front of the list for me). Here are 2 more recipes (did I start this last week? It feels like a million years ago!) that help bring a blah table to Ba-BAM! Be warned: these are hard work! Be sure to prepare a few staples as well!


For the elegant frou frou style...
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise
Bobby Flay

Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • Pumpkin Bread, toasted and cubed, recipe follows
  • Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
  • Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce, recipe follows
  • Freshly whipped cream
Pumpkin Bread
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces (scant 1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple schnapps
Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
Directions
  1. 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. 
  2. 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. Strainthe custard into a clean bowl. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  6. Spoon some of the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, top with some of the bread pudding and drizzle with the Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.
  7. 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. 
  8. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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 thebatter 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. 
  11. 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.
  12. Combine the cream, apple juice, star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean, small saucepan and place back over low heat while you make the caramel. 
  13. Combine the sugar, water and, vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring, until it's a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.
  14. Bring the half-and-half and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a medium saucepan. 
  15. Whisk together the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until at the pale ribbon stage. Slowly whisk in the hot half-and-half, return the mixture to the pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a bowl and set over an ice bath. Stir until chilled. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


If it's pie you want...
Four and Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Melissa and Emily Elsen

Ingredients
Pie Crust
  • 1 recipe your favorite (2-crust) butter pie crust
Salted Caramel
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (recommended: Maldon sea salt flakes)
  • Apple Filling
  • 4 to 6 lemons
  • 5 to 6 medium to large apples*
  • *Cook's Note: A mixture of Crispin, Granny Smith, and Cortland is nice if you can.
Apple Filling Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Assembly
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (flake)
  • Special equipment: Mandolin for slicing, and a pastry brush.
Directions
To make the pie crust:
  1. Prepare one 2-crust batch of your favorite all butter pie crust. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width or as desired. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling.
To make the salted caramel:
  1. Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.
  2. Cook's Note: This process can take awhile depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, if the caramel begins to smoke, you've burned it and you'll have to start over.
  3. Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam - be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.
  4. Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Set the caramel aside while you prepare the apple filling.
To make the apple filling:
  1. Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples. Cook's Note: A mandolin works great for producing very thin slices.
  2. Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside.
  3. To make the apple filling seasoning:
  4. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and Angostura bitters. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.
To assemble the pie:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees F (depending on the hotness of your oven).
  2. Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples, and then the caramel again. Cook's Note: Save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled.
  3. Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.
  4. Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. The apples should be just soft.
  5. Let the pie cool, then slice and enjoy.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Insert New Thanksgiving Dessert Here.

Happy Hump Day! The Chrismakkah commercials are already upon us and that can only mean one thing - Thanksgiving is almost here! In a holiday full of traditions, it can be hard to sneak in a new dish or two without getting push back...but let's try it! Between the display of apple and pumpkin pies, cranberry bars and chocolate tarts, sneak in one of these delicious recipes and see how fast they're gone!

Not-so-traditional cakes...
Cranberry Streusel Cake
Nancy Olson

Ingredients
Batter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Filling and Topping
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (10 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch-round springform cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer at low speed, beat in the butter until it looks like coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sour cream and vanilla. Beat the egg mixture into the dry ingredients at medium-low speed just until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the cranberries with the lime juice, zest, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Spoon the mixture over the cake batter.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, oats and brown sugar, then stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the chilled butter until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the topping over the cranberries and bake the streusel cake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely, then remove the ring and serve.

Spice Cake with Bourbon-Pecan Frosting
Grace Parisi

Ingredients
Cake
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Frosting
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk (optional)
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup ground toasted pecans
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; butter and dust with flour. In a bowl, mix the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt. In a cup, mix the milk with the vanilla.
  2. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and scraping down the bowl.
  3. Scrape the batter into the pans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until springy. Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Peel off the paper, turn the cakes upright and cool completely.
  4. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar at low speed. Beat in the cream, vanilla and salt, then beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes longer. Beat the bourbon and toasted pecans into the frosting.
  5. Spread 1 cup of frosting over a cake layer and top with the second layer; frost the top and sides. Let stand 1 hour; serve.

Ginger-Squash Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
Jean Anderson

Ingredients
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup finely shredded peeled butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (about 4 ounces), divided
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat squash, brown sugar, butter, egg, ginger, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl to blend. Fold in flour mixture and 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Transfer to pan, spreading to edges (layer will be thin). Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool.
  2. Bring cream just to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla; whisk until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, about 20 minutes. Spread over cake (layer will be thin). Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup nuts over.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cut into 16 squares and serve.


Not cake, not pie, just out-of-the-box...

Pumpkin Turnovers
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina SozaMuy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor
Ingredients
Fresh Pumpkin Filling
  • 4 to 5 pound pumpkin (orange or striped)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 16 ounces piloncillo or 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
Empanada Dough
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Glaze
  • Canned evaporated milk or egg white
  • Cinnamon-sugar mixture (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar)
Directions
Make pumpkin filling:
  1. Rinse off the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap. Using a serrated knife cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the pumpkin seeds. Scrape out the stringy layer (pulp) with a spoon. Discard seeds and pulp. Cut pumpkin into 3- to 4-inch slices leaving the skin on.
  2. In a steamer or large pot, steam the pumpkin in the 2 cups of water, making sure to keep the lid on tight, for 20 to 40 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender. The pumpkin is ready when your fork slides easily into the flesh.
  3. Let the pumpkin cool. Once cooled, scoop the pumpkin flesh off the skins and into a mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the steamed pumpkin with a potato masher and strain the liquid into a bowl. Reserve the liquid and set pumpkin puree aside.
  4. In the same large pot, put the reserved liquid from the pumpkin (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup) and add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Bring liquid to a boil and then remove from the heat. Replace lid and let steep for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove cinnamon and cloves and add pumpkin puree to the liquid. Add the piloncillo and over medium-low heat let it melt into the pumpkin puree, stirring occasionally so it will not burn or stick to the pot. The pumpkin puree will turn a dark color with the piloncillo making it sweeter.
  6. Once the piloncillo has melted, lower the heat to low and let simmer uncovered until all the water evaporates. Remove from heat and allow pumpkin puree to cool down before refrigerating, about 15 minutes.
  7. To help puree set, place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. If some liquid separates, remove it with a spoon before using so the filling is not watery.
  8. You can make the empanada dough after your filling has chilled.
Make empanada dough: 
  1. Mix the first 3 dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening. It is best to use your hands. Add the eggs, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Continue to work in with your hands until you have a soft dough. Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Assemble and bake empanadas:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take out half the dough and split it into 12 equal balls of dough.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough balls into small round circles. Place a small dollop of pumpkin filling on one half of each of the dough circles. Wet the bottom edge of the circles with water to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough to cover filling and seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the edges. This also makes for a pretty pattern when baked. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  4. Brush each empanada with some canned evaporated milk or egg whites, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Puncture the top of each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking.
  5. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes on middle rack in the oven. If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack and continue to bake for the last 5 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Enjoy the empanadas warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate baked empanadas for a few days. Reheat in a toaster oven or bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving baking!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pie in the Face

Happy Wednesday everyone! One of my favorite parts of fall is the idea of making dozens and dozens of pies! I love the endless possibility of fruits now available; unique fall-friendly combos to explore. Here are a few pie recipes that need to be in your repertoire.

Black-Bottom Peanut Pie
Marcus Samuelsson

Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • One 11-ounce box vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans—split lengthwise, seeds scraped
Filling
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 teaspoons molasses
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
Directions
  1. MAKE THE CRUST Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderately low heat and cook, swirling, until browned, 9 minutes; let cool. Process the cookies, sugar and vanilla seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Add the browned butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened; transfer to a 10-inch glass or ceramic pie plate and press the crumbs over the bottom and up the side to form the crust. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and set; let cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
  2. MAKE THE FILLING Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth; pour into the cooled crust and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, corn syrup, butter, molasses, salt and eggs, then stir in the peanuts. Pour the filling over the chocolate. Transfer the pie to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and bake the pie for 50 minutes longer, until the filling is almost set. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, 4 hours.


Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie
Sarah Patterson Scott

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Filling:
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Scotch
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Whipped cream:
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Scotch
Directions
For crust:
  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until very coarse meal forms. Add 3 tablespoons ice water; using on/off turns, process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if too dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill 1 hour.
  2. Roll out dough to 12-to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively. Chill dough until firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line crust with sheet of foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil with beans. Bake until just beginning to turn golden brown, piercing with fork if bubbles form, about 15 minutes longer. Cool completely.
For filling:
  1. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, butter, and salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil until deep brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Scotch, then cream (mixture will bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Return to medium heat and stir until most caramel bits dissolve. Strain butterscotch mixture into small bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  2. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and pumpkin in large bowl. Whisk in eggs, then spices. Add reserved butterscotch mixture; whisk to blend. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk before using.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour filling into crust. Bake until just set, about 50 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store at room temperature.
For whipped cream:
  1. Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, and Scotch in medium bowl until peaks form. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk if necessary before serving.
  2. Cut pie into wedges. Serve with dollop of whipped cream.


Spiced Kabocha Squash Pie with Pumpkin-Seed Crumble
Rhoda Boone


Ingredients
For the pie crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen for 15 minutes
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces and refrigerated for 15 minutes
For the filling:
  • One 2 1/2-pound kabocha squash
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 large egg yolks plus 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the crumble topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup shelled, roughly chopped, and toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Special equipment:
  • 9-inch pie pan
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with 1 rack on the bottom rung and 1 rack in the center of oven. Place 1 rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack to preheat.
Make the pie dough:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and shortening and pulse until coarse, pea-sized crumbs form, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons ice water and process until the dough just holds together, about 30 seconds. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers: If it is very crumbly, add pulse in more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time (2 tablespoons maximum). Do not over process.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and push together into a rough ball. Knead a few times to combine, then flatten into a disc with smooth edges (no cracks), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roast the squash:
  1. Meanwhile, cut the squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash, cut-side down, on a rimmed baking sheet and add a splash of water to the pan. Bake in center of oven until the squash flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Reduce the oven to 375°F.
Roll out the dough:
  1. Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin then unfurl it into the 9-inch pie pan. Lightly press it into the pan. Leave 1 inch of dough hanging over the edge, trimming any excess dough. Tuck the dough under itself, then crimp the edge as desired. Chill at least 30 minutes.
Make the crumble topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder to combine. Add the butter and massage with your fingertips until the mixture becomes clumpy and moist. Add the pumpkin seeds and mix until incorporated. Chill at least 30 minutes.
Fill the pie and bake:
  1. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out enough flesh to measure 2 1/4 cups and place in a blender. (Discard the skins and reserve extra squash flesh for another use.) Add cream, sugar, molasses, eggs, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the blender. Puree until filling is smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell (do not overfill) and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the top with the crumble mixture. Place on preheated rimmed baking sheet on bottom rung of oven. After 30 minutes, rotate baking sheet and move to center rung of oven. Bake until the filling is set and the crumble topping is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more. (Cover the crust edge with foil or a pie shield if it starts to brown too much.) Transfer pie to a wire rack and cool completely, about 3 hours. Pie will keep up to 2 days, loosely covered with foil, at room temperature.
Do ahead: The pie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled, or frozen for up to 3 months; thaw before using. The filling can be made up to 1 day ahead; bring to room temperature before baking. The crumble topping can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Happy baking!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cake: Two Ways

Happy Thursday! I've been busy updating my website and my facebook page with pictures of birthday cakes and other delightful goodies! Have you checked them out yet? Holiday ordering season is coming up - which always brings discounts - so stay tuned! In the meantime, here is my tip of the day. While making a four layer deliciously rich chocolate cake, I chose to do a Nutella mousse filling and a mocha buttercream, leaving me with an excess of frostings! My tip for today is to take the frostings you've made and make another batch of cupcakes! To fill a cupcake, use a large round pastry tip to carefully dig out the center of the cupcake. Use a piping bag with a slightly smaller tip to gently fill the cupcakes. Be careful not to push to hard - the cupcake will explode! Top with the buttercream and you've got a fresh batch of baked goods ready to share!

As a cake...

...or as a cupcake!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Party Treats

Happy Thursday! One day closer to the holiday of ghouls, goblins, and CANDY! Halloween is almost upon us, and with that comes the trick-or-treaters and parties...and the party recipes! Here are a few to delight all of your guests, young and old.

Classic...
Halloween PopcornTreats
Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (12-ounces) mini marshmallows
  • 6 fun-size caramel peanut chocolate bars (such as Snickers), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 (3-inch) chocolate chip cookies, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped salted almonds,
  • 1/2 cup orange and black chocolate candies (such as M and Ms)
Directions
  1. Spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable cooking spray, and lightly spray a baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a 3 quart or larger, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and popcorn over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and shake gently. Cook until all the kernels have popped, about 3 minutes. Place the popcorn in the prepared bowl.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Using a spatula, sprayed with cooking spray, stir until the popcorn is coated. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the chocolate bar pieces, cookies, almonds and chocolate candies. Using a spatula, gently press the toppings into the popcorn. Allow the mixture to dry for 1 hour.
  4. Break into 2-inch pieces and store airtight in a plastic container.
  5. Serving Suggestion: Place in small plastic bags and seal with colored ribbon.


An elegant twist...
Rice Puddings with Caramel Gala Apples
Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

Puddings:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Caramel apples:
  • 2 medium Gala or Fuji apples (13 to 14 ounces total)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Whipped cream (for topping; optional)
Directions
For puddings: 
  1. Bring 3 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Add rice and boil 10 minutes. Drain rice; discard cooking water. Rinse saucepan. Combine milk and sugar in same saucepan; bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rice; reduce heat to medium and simmer until rice is very tender, most of milk is absorbed, and pudding is thickened but still creamy and reduced to scant 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract. Transfer rice pudding to medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pudding; let pudding cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.
For caramel apples: 
  1. Peel apples; quarter through stem end and remove core. Cut each apple quarter into 4 slices, then cut slices crosswise into thirds. Combine sugar and lemon juice in medium nonstick skillet. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and syrup is medium amber color, occasionally swirling skillet, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter to skillet and swirl until melted (mixture may bubble vigorously). Return skillet to medium heat; add cider and pinch of salt and bring to boil. Add apples and simmer until tender, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup whipping cream and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Transfer apples with caramel sauce to heatproof bowl. Cool caramel apples until lukewarm or room temperature. DO AHEAD: Caramel apples can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Stir over medium heat until just warm before using.
  2. Divide half of caramel apples among 6 Martini glasses or lowball glasses. Top each with rice pudding, dividing equally. Top with remaining caramel apples, dividing equally. Garnish each with dollop of whipped cream, if desired, and serve.

Controversial candy or bodacious brownie?
"Candy Corn" Pumpkin Blondies
Genevieve Ko


Ingredients
For the blondies:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the icing:
  • One (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Orange and yellow food coloring (preferably gel paste) for decorating
Directions

Make the blondies: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9- by 13-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper, and butter again.
  2. In a medium saucepan, cook the pumpkin over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pumpkin pie spice and butter until the butter melts. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Let stand until room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the brown sugar into the pumpkin mixture, then stir in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  5. Place a large cutting board on top of the pan of blondies. Invert the pan and cutting board together, then lift off the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Cut the blondies into 3 even strips lengthwise, then cut each strip into 10 triangles with approximately 2-inch bases (you will have 1 smaller triangle on each end). Transfer the triangles to a large serving platter, flat bottom sides up.
Make the icing: 
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt. Beat on low speed until well-mixed, then raise the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Decorate the blondies:
  1. Transfer half of the icing to another large bowl and tint with orange. Transfer two thirds of the remaining to another bowl and tint yellow. Divide the orange, yellow, and white icings among 3 piping bags or resealable plastic bags. Snip small holes in the corner of each. Pipe the icings on the blondies in stripes to resemble candy corn: a thin strip of yellow along the wide end, a thick strip of orange in the center, and a small white tip. Let stand until set.
Do Ahead: The blondies can be tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. The iced blondies can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

Happy (Halloween) baking!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Not Just Pie

Happy Tuesday everyone! Pumpkin on the brain here in the tri-state, and pumpkin spice in the air (since August, shockingly). I recently made pumpkin cupcakes with maple mascarpone frosting, While they tamed a craving for pumpkin goodness, they didn't quite quench the entire thirst I have for the fall deliciousness. If you're anything like me and pumpkin spice lattes (without real pumpkin, no less!) don't do it for you, here are a few ways to pumpki-fy your life.

Pumpkin Doughnuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze
Bon Appetit, October 2004

Ingredients
Spiced sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Doughnuts
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Canola oil (for deep-frying)
Powdered Sugar Glaze
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Whipping cream
Directions
For spiced sugar:
  1. Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
For doughnuts:
  1. Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin in 4 additions. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.
  2. Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.
  3. Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F. Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.
For powdered sugar glaze:
  1. Whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Add doughnut holes to bowl of spiced sugar and toss to coat. Spread doughnuts on 1 side with Powdered Sugar Glaze. Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Fudge
BHG

Ingredients
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 (10oz) pkg cinnamon-flavored pieces
  • 7oz jar marshmallow creme
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions
  1. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set pan aside.
  2. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage (20 to 25 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)
  3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer from saucepan. Stir in cinnamon-flavored pieces until melted. Stir in marshmallow creme and walnuts.
  4. Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. Let fudge cool to room temperature. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut into squares. Cover tightly and chill for up to 1 week. Do not freeze. Makes about 96 pieces.

Pumpkin Gelato
Martha Rose Shulman

Ingredients
  • 1 quart low-fat milk
  • ½ cup unrefined brown (turbinado) sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 ¼ cups very finely blended pumpkin purée, canned or made from 1 1/4 pounds fresh (see below)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Combine the milk, sugar and honey in a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator. Alternatively, set the bowl inside a bowl of ice water to chill quickly.
  2. Place a bowl or a container in your freezer. Freeze the pumpkin gelato mixture in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrape into the chilled bowl, and freeze for at least two hours before serving. If making this dish ahead, allow to soften for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
Note: To roast the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Place the pumpkin pieces on the baking sheet, drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive or canola oil on top, cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until thoroughly tender. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a strainer or colander set over a bowl or in the sink. Allow to cool and drain. Peel the pieces, and purée in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
Advance preparation: This will keep for a couple of weeks in the freezer.


Happy baking!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rhubarb All Year Round

Happy Hump day! Last week I was given some fresh rhubarb from one of my students' parents. After giving it much thought (honestly, not that much - I knew just what to do!) I decided to make strawberry rhubarb muffins to take with me on an upcoming visit to my sister. Two ingredients that are just out of season, but delicious nonetheless. I found a recipe that yields moist, giant muffins (I made regular-sized muffs and changed the timing) and the results were delightful, for any time of year! Lizzy Bee's Note: these are VERY moist. It's important to make sure there's no crumb, or a dry crumb, on the muffins when you insert a tester/toothpick to check if it's done. If you aren't following the jumbo muffin timing, this is especially important. Keep checking!

Jumbo Strawberry-and-Rhubarb Muffins
Georgia Pelligrini

Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups diced strawberries
  • 1 3/4 cups diced fresh rhubarb
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Coat 6 jumbo muffin cups with nonstick baking spray. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the 3/4 cup of sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, beat the butter with the eggs until well combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 2 alternating additions, then fold in the diced strawberries and rhubarb and the grated lemon zest.
    Butter and eggs

    Dry ingredients

    Mixing the wet into dry

    Fruits
  2. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle the tops generously with sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a rack to cool before serving.
    Measured with an ice cream scoop

    Freshly baked

    Muffins cooling on the rack
MAKE AHEAD The muffins can be stored in an airtight container overnight. Reheat for 5 minutes in a 375° oven.


Happy baking!