Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip MufinsI think these are my new favourite muffins! They are fluffy, moist and packed with great flavour. What makes them even better is the jack o’lantern silicone muffin tray that I gave my wife such a hard time for purchasing. My 3 year old loves the little faces on the bottom of the muffins when they come out of the tray. These are definitely a festive treat with a coffee or tea on a cool fall morning.
The Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 16 muffins and takes 20 minutes to prep and 18 - 20 min to cook.
2 cups pastry flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, salt, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, baking soda and baking powder and pour into a large mixing bowl through a sifter.

Add the chocolate chips and stir in evenly. Place the bowl aside.

In another bowl, beat the eggs until frothy and pale yellow. While beating, add in the sugar, oil and roasted pumpkin and continue beating until uniform.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix enough just to incorporate. Do not over mix, the mixture should be lumpy.

Evenly distribute the muffin mixture in greased muffin trays. Place in the oven and cook for 16-20 minutes. Metal muffin tray alert! If you are using a metal muffin tray you will want to monitor the muffins very closely to ensure the bottoms do not burn. I use silicone and clay to ensure the bottom do not burn before the center is cooked. To check doneness you can use the old toothpick trick! Enjoy!
Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

If you are looking for something a little more gourmet than pumpkin pie for a romantic dinner, but still want to keep the fall flavours, this pumpkin creme brulee hits the spot. Contrary to very delicate traditional creme brulee, the pumpkin adds a little more texture to the dessert. The pumpkin creme brulee is a combination of the most delectable pumpkin pie filling and the classiness of the creme brulee.

The Recipe: Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Serves 6 and takes 30 minutes to prep and 1 hour to cook. Cools overnight.
1 3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup white sugar
7 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch finely ground sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 cooked pumpkin puree

6 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degree. Fill a large casserole dish with 6 ramekins and water half way up the ramekins. Place the casserole dish in the oven while pre-heating and preparing the dessert.

Over medium heat, melt the brown and white sugar in the cream, ensuring you do not burn the cream. Set the pot off the heat. In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks until they are a soft yellow color and frothy. Add about half the cream mixture while whisking to ensure the eggs yolks do not curdle. Once well integrated, add the remaining cream while whisking. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the sea salt to a fine powder. Add the sea salt, vanilla, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Using a fine mesh steel seive press the pumpkin puree through and into the mixture, this may take a little bit of work depending on how fine the pumpkin is pureed. Whisk the mixture to ensure all the ingredients are smooth.

Carefully remove the casserole dish from the oven. If you are feeling confident you can pour the mixture directly into the ramekins, about 2/3 high, although I would recommend transferring the mixture to something with a spout before pouring in the ramekins. Return the casserole dish to the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, the creme brulee can be removed from the oven once the mixture is firm. Place in fridge over night.

Once ready to serve combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin creme brulee and either place directly under the broiler (with the oven door open) or use a kitchen blow torch (available at most specialty shops) until the sugar is melted. Enjoy!
Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

This is wonderful fall soup with the hearty fall flavours associated with pumpkin but also a surprising little kick and some sweetness to round things out. Add a drizzle of heavy cream just before serving to make this even more rich, although if you want to make it vegan you can drop the cream/milk and use vegetable stock.

The Recipe: Pumpkin Soup
This recipe takes about 30 minutes if pumpkin is precooked, Serves 4
Two cups of pureed pumpkin
3 tbsp butter
1 cooking onion diced
3 carrots diced
4 stocks of celery diced (if you want a more rich orange colour leaves these out)
4 cups of stock
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup of milk (the higher the fat content, the richer the soup)
1 tbsp of whipping cream per bowl

Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat and add the butter, onion, carrots and celery. In a separate pot heat the stock to a simmer and turn of the heat. Sautee, stirring frequently for about 7 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Add the pumpkin, salt, sugar, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cayenne and continue cooking for another 2 minutes until the pumpkin is brought up to heat.

Stir contents and pour into blender HOT CONTENTS IN BLENDER ALERT, be careful, use a tea towel over the lide and hold tight. Add enough of the stock to be able to puree the contents in a blender until very smooth. Return the contents to the saucepan straining it though a metal seive. This is very important, as it will ensure your pumpkin soup is silky smooth, however it will take some work and you probably have some leftover mash in your seive that will not go through.

Add the remaining stock to the saucepan and add the milk. Bring the pumkpin soup up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and put in bowls.

To get the pattern like in the picture, drizzle the whipping cream lightly in a sprial over the soup, then with a knife, starting in the middle, drag the knife to the edge of the bowl and repeat about 8 times going around the bowl. Serve and enjoy!

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, October 19, 2009

How To Roast A Pumpkin

I realized that although I have been posting pumpkin recipes all week, I have failed to highlight the most important part....roasting the pumpkin. It is not complicated, but it does take a little time and it can be a challenge to cut the pumpkin in half. Surprisingly I do find that the safest and one of the easiest ways to cut the pumpkin is with a cheap pumpkin carving knife for kids. The knife does not have any sharp edges and can be found in most stores that sell Halloween candy.

Usually the best and easiest pumpkin to work with is a small one, but you can use bigger ones if you don't like wasting the jack o'lantern. A small cooking pumpkin about 5" tall will yield about 3 cups of puree. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. With your knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Carefully take the stock off the top of the pumpkin. Scoop out the stringy pieces and seeds with a strong spoon. In a cookie sheet with sides place the pumpkin halves, open side up. Place about 1/2 cup of water in the pan and put in the oven. The cooking time will depended on how thick the pumpkin is, but it will take the better part of an a hour for most pumpkins. The pumpkin is ready when a fork is able to penetrate the pumpkin without any effort (the pumpkin is very soft). Let the pumpkins cool. Remove the flesh with a spoon by scraping it out, leaving only the skin behind. Voila! fresh pumpkin.

Click Here to Read More..