Pumpkin Spice Scones

pumpkin-scones2

My longtime blog readers (hi Mum and Dad!) will know that pumpkin is the official flavor of October in our house, meaning that I’ll find some way to add the squash of the gods to most – if not all – of my recipes this month. While I got a bit of a late start on my baking this fall (seriously, where has October gone?!), I’m still determined to squeeze at least a couple of pumpkin treats into the mix before turning yet another page on the calendar.

First on the agenda: Pumpkin Spice Scones.

Given that its probably destined for legend status in our family, this recipe deserves a bit of a backstory. My mum – a great lover of scones – has been searching for the perfect pumpkin scone for years (possibly decades). Perfection is, of course, entirely subjective, and she gets that, but she actually had only one relatively simple requirement: she wanted her pumpkin scone to taste like pumpkin. Easy, right? Not so much. Every place she tried – from Starbucks to Trader Joe’s, and every trendy-but-not-nailing-it bakery in between – kept serving up orange-hued scones containing pumpkin pie spice but NO PUMPKIN TASTE. She even tried recipes recommended by family and friends – including those that, thank goodness, contained actual pumpkin – but something was missing. She was getting discouraged, and starting to lose hope (at least about scones). So when my parents came to visit late last month, I was determined to crack the case for my mum and send her home with the best pumpkin scone recipe of.all.time.

I scoured the Internet, as I so often do, for help in this endeavor. Recipes for scones “just like Starbucks!” popped up left and right (no thank you!), and it took me a while to weed through recipes that made no such claim yet still used the same ingredients. I finally stumbled across the winner – and what a winner it was! – from Once Upon a Chef. Mum, meet pumpkin scone perfection!

We’re convinced that a few things about this recipe really make the pumpkin taste stand out, including the use of dark brown sugar (instead of white) and the addition of molasses. Both impart a stronger flavor, which helped these rise (no pun intended) to a different level. We also loved the no holds barred approach to the spices, particularly the cloves. These were, hands down, the best scones we’d ever baked.

Just when we thought they couldn’t get better, along came the glaze. We couldn’t decide between a simple sugar glaze – made using confectioner’s sugar and cream – and a spiced pumpkin version, so … we made both. That’s right – the best scones ever, dipped in two A-M-A-Z-I-N-G glazes (recipes courtesy of Inspired Taste). They were gone in a matter of hours, and I’ve been craving them ever since. The Month of Pumpkin, off to a truly delicious start. Enjoy in moderation!

 

{Better than Starbucks!} PUMPKIN SPICE SCONES

Yields: 12 scones

For the scones:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1 large fresh egg
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter

For the sugar glaze:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or cream

For the spiced glaze:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or cream
  1.  Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pumpkin, egg, heavy cream, molasses and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Process for 20 seconds to combine be (sure no lumps of brown sugar remain).
  4. Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch chunks. Add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal — it should look unevenly crumbly with some pea-size chunks of butter within. Add the pumpkin mixture and pulse just until the mixture comes together. The dough will be very sticky, and you should still be able to see some pea-size clumps of butter.
  5. Lightly flour a clean countertop or work surface. Dump the sticky scone dough onto the floured surface and dust the top lightly with more flour. Using your hands, gently knead the dough until it comes together into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half. Dust your work surface with flour again and form each half into a 5-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Using a sharp knife dusted with flour, slice each circle into 6 even wedges (cut each circle in half, then cut each half into thirds). If the dough starts to stick to the knife, dust the knife with more flour. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes. To see if they are done, peek at the bottoms; they should be slightly browned but not burnt. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, make the glaze(s).
    1. For the sugar glaze, add the confectioner’s sugar to a medium bowl, then add one tablespoon of half and half. Stir, then judge the consistency (the glaze should slowly drizzle from the spoon). If it’s too thick, add a little more half and half (a little goes a long way). If it’s too thin, add a little more confectioner’s sugar. Dip each cooled scone directly into the glaze, then place glaze-side up onto the cooling rack.
    2. For the spiced glaze, combine the confectioner’s sugar, pumpkin puree and spices. Add one tablespoon of half and half, stir, and check consistency (adjust in the same way as you would the sugar glaze). Use a spoon to drizzle a zigzag pattern across each scone. Wait 15 minutes or until the glaze has set, then enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

 

I’ve been looking forward to making these yummy pumpkin cinnamon rolls since discovering the recipe last year on the brilliant and beautiful blog Sweet and Savory by Shinee. Because pumpkin and cinnamon rolls deserve each other, and I’m nothing if not a slightly reckless matchmaker.

I was hoping I could try this recipe after the arrival of my household goods, as the use of a rolling pin makes rolling infinitely (and obviously) easier. But as usual, my sweet tooth and reckless abandon won out as I found myself pulling all the ingredients off our market shelves without hesitation last week. Fast forward to Sunday morning, when I then found myself staring down step 5 with a smidge of doubt and a dash of disappointment. “Roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle approximately 18 x 15 inches”, you say? Hmmm. Perhaps I should have waited for my rolling pin to arrive after all. But I’m nothing if not resourceful (and a little reckless – did I mention that?), so I scoured my pantry for something – anything – to get my rolls back on track. Can of soup? Too small. Husband’s obnoxiously giant bottle of protein powder? Too unwieldly. Half empty, mostly stale old tube of Pringles? Now we’re talking.

Long story short, you too can make these incredibly delicious cinnamon rolls with a can of Pringles that should have been thrown away two months ago. Or a rolling pin, if that’s your thing. Just make them. Because pumpkin and cinnamon rolls should have gotten together a lonnng time ago. Because it’s still socially acceptable to pimp pumpkin. And because they’re freaking amazing, and you haven’t made cinnamon rolls in a long time (or maybe ever?!). Enjoy in moderation!

 

PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS

Yields | 12 rolls

Inspiration | Sweet & Savory by Shinee

For the dough:

  • 1 standard package (0.25 oz; 2 ¼ teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) buttermilk
  • 1 egg

For the filling:

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

For the glaze:

  • 4 oz (110gr) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 7oz (200gr) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) Pumpkin spice coffee creamer
  •   1 tsp vanilla extract

 

To make filling:

  1. Mix together brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Set aside.

To make dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry active yeast and warm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl with yeast, add pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg and flour mixture. Knead* for about 6-7minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  3. Transfer the dough into large oiled bowl. Cover it with wet towel and put it in a warm place for an hour to rise. I put it in a microwave with glass of hot water.
  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle about 18x15in. Pour melted butter and spread it evenly. Leave about half an inch on opposite edge of the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the butter. Wet the opposite edge of the dough that has no butter and filling.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Bake the rolls in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is nice and brown. Cool on wire rack while making the glaze.

To make glaze:

  1. In mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese, condensed milk and Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Pour over the warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.

 

*Note: You don’t need a stand mixer to make this recipe. You can easily mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and knead the dough by hand for 6-7 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

 

Mini Samoa Doughnuts

Mini Samoa Doughnuts

 

Every Halloween for the last few years, I’ve tried my hand at a new doughnut recipe. I’ve struck gold in the past with flavors like Apple Cider and spiced Pumpkin, and had high hopes that these little guys – fashioned after the Girl Scout cookie classic, Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites) – would be just as yummy. Mission accomplished! The combination of sticky caramel, crunchy toasted coconut and semi-sweet chocolate was divine, if not a wee bit messy (which just means ooey-gooey delicious, right?). The recipe below makes 12-15 miniature doughnuts – perfect for a brunch treat or a morning meeting in the office. Enjoy!

Tip: Make sure that you use a slightly thickened (but still drizzly) caramel sauce rather than a caramel syrup. The thickness of the sauce helps the coconut adhere to the doughnut’s surface, preventing the whole thing from falling apart while eating.

 

MINI SAMOA DOUGHNUTS

Yields | 12-15 miniature doughnuts

Inspiration | Damn Delicious

 

For the doughnuts:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg

For the toppings:

  • ¼ cup salted caramel
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

     

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a mini donut pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, vinegar, butter and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  4. Scoop batter evenly into donut pan. Place into oven and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until donuts are slightly browned and spring back when touched.
  5. When the donuts are done, cool for 10 minutes and dip the top into the salted caramel. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and drizzle with chocolate.
  6. Allow chocolate to set before serving.

 

Sweet Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup

Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup

 

SWEET APPLE PANCAKES WITH CIDER SYRUP

Yields | 6 servings

Inspiration | Taste of Home

 

For the pancakes:

  • 2 cups complete pancake mix
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup grated apple
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup apple cider or juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

  1. In a small bowl, stir the pancake mix, water, apple and cinnamon just until moistened.
  2. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, for syrup, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in cider until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Stir in butter and lemon juice. Serve with pancakes.

 

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

 

This recipe for ‘Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread’ is from allrecipes.com, and really IS worth every 6000+ 5-star review it’s received. I’ve included two versions of the recipe below: one to the (almost) exact specifications of the original, and one lighter version. Both create a soft, moist, amazingly yummy bread that rivals any bakery or cafe loaf.

Please note that these recipes make three 7×3-inch loaves. Both versions freeze quite well – so by all means make a full batch if you’d like – or cut the ingredients in half or into thirds. These also make fantastic muffins, served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or cream cheese icing. Or, throw in raisins, chopped walnuts or chocolate for an even richer loaf or muffin. Enjoy!

 

PUMPKIN BREAD (ORIGINAL VERSION)

Yields | 3 3×7-inch loaves

Inspiration | AllRecipes.com

  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius. Butter three 7×3-inch loaf pans; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract, oil, water and sugars until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour in pre-heated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean.
  4. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, remove pan, and cool thoroughly.

 

PUMPKIN BREAD (LIGHTER VERSION)

Yields | 3 7×3-inch loaves

  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat white flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  1. Follow instructions for original version above.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries

 

Every once in a blue moon, my baking takes a decidedly healthy turn – and boy oh boy, am I glad it did today! These baked zucchini “fries” are so crispy and flavorful, I would gladly eat them in place of the potato variety (and that’s really saying something, considering my deep love of all things potato!). They’re a great vegetable option for finicky kids, picky spouses, or those looking to shed fat and calories without sacrificing great taste. I ate every bit of cheesy breading that ended up on the aluminum foil after baking, and I bet you will too – enjoy!

TIP: The key to crisp “fries” in this recipe – and in others using vegetables with high water content, such as squash, eggplant, or cucumbers – is disgorging (or degorging). This involves sprinkling the sliced surface of the zucchini with salt, waiting approximately 15-20 minutes, then rinsing and patting dry. The salt causes the excess water inside the zucchini to expel through osmosis, thus preventing sogginess in the final product. Don’t forget the rinse and pat dry, however, to avoid needlessly salty “fries”!

 

BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI FRIES

Yields | 4 servings

Inspiration | Food.com

 

  • 4 small fresh zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten

 

  1. To disgorge zucchini, sprinkle sliced surface liberally with salt. Wait 15 minutes, then rinse with water and pat dry. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius).
  3. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  4. Dip zucchini strips into egg, then into crumb mixture. Place on baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Serve with ranch or honey mustard dressing.

 

 

Baked Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta

Baked Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta

 

BREAKING NEWS Y’ALL: it’s pumpkin season!!

You didn’t know, right? Well, it IS kind of a secret. It’s not like you’ve been getting pummeled with all things pumpkin-flavored, pumpkin-scented, and pumpkin-hued since August, yea? Did anyone even bother to tell you it was FALL?!

Truth be told, I like pumpkin. In fact, I f___ing love pumpkin. I haven’t met a pumpkin recipe I don’t like, and eagerly await Fall each and every year so I can go cray on the pumpkin baking. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin doughnuts. Pumpkin custard. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkined pumpkin, with pumpkin. I want it all.

It might therefore come as a bit of a surprise that – before this week – I had only once tried my hand at a savory pumpkin dish. Why waste perfectly good pureed pumpkin on something that isn’t, well, filled with equal parts sugary deliciousness and creamy yummosity? Because, my friends, sometimes perfectly good pureed pumpkin can be mixed with chicken, bacon, sage and garlic, and make the dreamiest baked pasta EVER.

I had my doubts about this recipe. I don’t care for onions, and wasn’t convinced I would like the combination of chicken, bacon, and pumpkin. Silly me – this was SO tasty. My husband – who also doubted he’d like this – was instantly hooked as soon as he took a cheesy, velvety, pumpkiny bite. It is the perfect Sunday dinner; while a little extra cooking time is needed, you’ll have delicious leftovers for days!

It’s good to see you, pumpkin season. Stick around for a while, won’t you?

 

BAKED CHICKEN BACON PUMPKIN PASTA

Yields | 8-10 servings

Inspiration | Pinch of Yum

 

For the pumpkin sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 18 ounces pureed pumpkin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • Pinch of freshly grated (or just ground) nutmeg
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the pasta:

  • 1 lb uncooked pasta
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled, cooked bacon (as little or as much as you want)

 

To make the sauce:

  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cut the onion into thin slices and add to the melted butter. Keeping the heat on medium-low, cook the onions until they are caramelized and deep golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. For a little extra sweetness, add a splash of white wine as they’re cooking.
  2. While the onions are caramelizing, puree the garlic, pumpkin, chicken broth, milk, olive oil, salt, sage, nutmeg, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Add to the caramelized onions in the pan and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the chicken, cooking for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove from the water; when cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into the pumpkin sauce. Add the crumbled bacon, if desired.

To make the pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, stopping a little early so they are still firm enough to hold their shape in the oven. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Toss the cooked pasta, chicken, bacon and pumpkin sauce with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Transfer to a greased baking dish, top with remaining cheese and cover with greased foil to prevent sticking. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin-Ginger Pancakes with Freshly Whipped Cream

pumpkin-ginger-pancakes-final

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

 

While most people lament the arrival of cooler temps in the waning days of summer and early days of fall, I couldn’t WAIT to unearth and dust off my collection of soup recipes this week. After three wonderful – but very hot – years in southern California, Germany’s crisp mornings, drippy afternoons, and windy evenings are utter perfection in my book. Soup weather, how I’ve missed thee!

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for Zuppa Toscana F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Oh my goodness – it did not disappoint! This is quite simply one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten. The combination of spicy Italian sausage, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and slightly crisp kale is heavenly. And the broth – oh, the broth! Perfection! My husband and I intended to eat this as leftovers over the course of a few days, but alas, it did not see a second day. Yep, we ate all 12 servings. Two people. In one day. We’re still sad it’s gone, and speak of it fondly. It is that good.

Enjoy, and you’re welcome!

 

ZUPPA TOSCANA

Yields | 12 servings

Inspiration | Olive Garden & Food.com

  • 1 lb ground mild or hot Italian sausage
  • 4-6 Russett potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 slices raw bacon, snipped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 8 cups water
  • 7 tsp Better than Bouillon chicken base
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional), to serve
  1. In a large pot on medium-high heat add the ground sausage and crushed red pepper flakes. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage until it is browned and fully cooked through. Pour the cooked sausage into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pot add the olive oil, chopped onion, and bacon until the onions become translucent and begin to brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  3. Add wine to the pot and stir well to de-glaze. Combine water and Better than Bouillon chicken base, mix well, and add to the pot.
  4. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, approximately 20 minutes. (Note: You may wish to add more salt, but be careful – the chicken base is very salty. Taste for saltiness after each addition.)
  5. After the potatoes are done, add the cooked sausage back into the soup. Using a large spoon, skim off most of the fat from the sausage that floats onto the surface.
  6. Add the fresh kale and stir in to allow the leaves to soften slightly. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream. Stir.
  7. Add freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
  8. Garnish each serving with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream1

Rustic Apple Galette

Rustic Apple Galette

Happy first day of Fall, baking gods and goddesses!

The first dessert feature of the season goes to this rustic apple galette: a free-form, crusty tart filled with lightly sweetened apples. I found the recipe – originally contributed by the legendary Jacques Pépin and Grace Parisi – in the September 2003 edition of Food & Wine magazine. I made only minor variations (because seriously, you don’t fool around with a Pépin creation!), and absolutely LOVE the result. With buttery, flaky crust and insanely delicious filling, this tart is already lodged in my ‘make this again ASAP’ folder!

A couple of notes: first, this is – HANDS DOWN – the best and easiest pie crust I’ve ever made. I’ve experimented with dozens of recipes over the past decade, and this one beats them all by leaps and bounds. The dough is incredibly easy to assemble and manipulate (there’s no chilling required!), and bakes up like an absolute dream! Second, I highly recommend following Pépin and Parisi’s instruction to use Golden Delicious apples. As the picture above indicates, I used Granny Smiths – this was an unfortunate mistake. While they hold up well to baking, I found them slightly too tart for this recipe. If you aren’t able to find Golden Delicious at your local grocer or farmer’s market (as I wasn’t), substitute with a sweeter variety like Honeycrisp, Mutsu or Pink Lady.

This galette is heaven served warm with vanilla bean ice cream. If you’d like to make ahead or have leftovers (good luck!), the baked tart can be stored overnight at room temperature and reheated in a 325 degree Fahrenheit (160 degree Celsius) oven. Enjoy!

RUSTIC APPLE GALETTE

Yield | 6 servings

Inspiration | Food & Wine

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter (cut into 1/2-inch pieces), + 2 tbsp, melted
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 3 1/2 tbsp finely granulated sugar
  • 4 large Golden delicious apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices)
  1. In a large food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups flour with the salt. Add the cold butter and process just until the butter is the size of peas (approximately 5 seconds). Sprinkle with ice water and process just until moistened (approximately 5 seconds). Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a disk and roll into a 16- or 17-inch round approximately 1/4-inch thick.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the parchment. (Rolling the dough around your rolling pin helps considerably with this step!)
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and sprinkle over the dough. Arrange the apple slices on top in overlapping concentric circles to within approximately 3 inches of the edge. Fold the dough over the apples in a free-form fashion. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Refrigerate the unbaked tart for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Bake the tart in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and golden and the crust is deep golden and cooked through. Slide the parchment onto a wire rack and let the tart cool slightly before serving.

*Re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca*

Pumpkin Eggnog Custard

Pumpkin Eggnog Custard

It’s with great sadness that I post my last pumpkin recipe of the year. This one – for pumpkin eggnog custard – happens to be one of my favorites, as it’s essentially pumpkin pie filling with a hint of eggnog. The result is a creamy, rich pumpkin pudding without the hassle of a pie crust. Because seriously, crust … ain’t nobody got time for that!

While I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie spice (I like the ability to control the amount and variety of spice in the custard), use it if it’s all you have on hand. I also find the custard bakes more evenly when the ramekins are placed in a hot water bath (instructions are below). Enjoy!

PUMPKIN EGGNOG CUSTARD

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 large fresh eggs

15 ounces pumpkin puree

6 fl. oz. evaporated 2% milk

6 fl. oz. eggnog

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

2.  Mix sugar, salt and spices in a small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture and stir until well combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and eggnog.

3.  Divide custard batter between 6 ramekins and place in large casserole dish. Add hot water to the dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean. Serve cold or slightly warm.

(re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca)