Tag Archives: Pumpkin

Thanksgiving, and the Verdict – Triple Silken Pumpkin Torte

26 Nov

Hello again, everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of family, friends, love, great food, and of course thankfulness. :) I had a great double thanksgiving–one on Thursday, and one on Friday! I love this time of year. There are so many things to be thankful for– for my family with all their wonderful imperfections and amazing love, for my friends with all their steadfast support, for the blessing of an education, for the opportunity to live in this great country (despite its issues), and most of all for the free Grace we’ve been given in Christ. It’s times like these when I am reminded most that I am still a work in progress–I fail so many times, but with His gift of the good news of grace I can stop trying to be perfect with my own will power, stop feeling guilty, and instead turn my life into a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) out of gratitude for what He’s done for me. And I can hold onto this and be full of gratitude despite my circumstances. And gratitude is what Thanksgiving is about, right? This is a perspective I must remember and foster all year round. What are you thankful for this year? It could be a job in these tough times, a new friend, warm Fall clothes, a fabulous new book? Leave a comment below to share what you’re thankful for!

What did you eat for Thanksgiving? On the first Thanksgiving I had with one half of my family, we had a lot of delicious Vietnamese food, and then on the second day, a more traditional fare of Cornish game hens and all the wonderful sides that go along with it (chestnut stuffing, SO YUM). Of course, we dug into the Triple Silken Pumpkin Torte that I shared with you all on Wednesday!

First slice

Since I had never made this torte before, and wanted to save cutting into it for our Friday dinner, I didn’t know exactly 100% what to report back on the flavor, or what I might have changed in the recipe at the time of my first post. Here’s a little update on all of that, based on my preferences, so you have  some ideas on how you might want to alter the recipe for the future.

Tastes: I loved this torte! As someone who isn’t a huge fan of the homogenous pumpkin filling in traditional pies, and who appreciates a greater mix of flavors, this was the perfect Thanksgiving dessert for me.

  • One thing I loved about this pie was the pumpkin/ginger flavor. I opted to use fresh ginger root instead of the more common ground ginger spice (in the little jar from McCormick or the like) and it was phenomenal! I’ve tasted many desserts made with that powdery-like cabinet spice, and never really thought much of the flavor it brought through. On the other hand, I noticed that the fresh ginger immediately made my ingredients fragrant and heavenly smelling. A big plus! This may be because of my strong affinity for ginger, so you may or may not agree with me, but I think this addition really added a wonderful dimension to the torte. Verdict: Stick with fresh ginger.
  • I was a little concerned that the maple cream layer didn’t have enough maple taste–when I tasted it before I put it into the mold, it tasted more sour (like the creme fraiche) than maple-y. After I got feedback from my family, however, they loved how the cream layer tasted, and thought that more maple sugar would have overpowered the pumpkin layers and not really allowed them to shine. Verdict: Keep the cream layer sweetened with 4 tsp. maple sugar. :)
  • The top layer (caramel pumpkin chiboust) was very sweet! I moderately liked the way it tasted, but my family likes subtley sweet desserts, and commented on this strongly sweet flavor. To remedy the possibly over-sugary taste, next time I will reduce the amount of caramel made, or allow it to “burn” a little longer to get a warmer flavor, or both! Verdict: Modify top layer recipe to contain less sugar, or cook the caramel longer.

Textures: The overall texture of this torte was very light, which I enjoyed. Although each slice contains a lot of carbohydrates and fats, the texture made me believe I wasn’t eating a ton of dessert.

  • The pie crust recipe used was the typical short crust pastry (recipe in this post) that I utilize in most of my pie desserts. It’s formulated for tarts and the like, because its higher flour to fat ratio makes it crumblier rather than flakier. However, I find it so easy and almost just as tasty as real pie crust (I’m not super picky in this area). It’s flaky enough for not containing any shortening, but I would really have loved to get the traditional pumpkin pie feeling of a real pie crust in this torte. Especially since the filling is so light, I would have liked to feel a heavier crust. Verdict: Next time, use a pie crust.
  • The term that describes this torte is silken, so the fact that I didn’t add gelatin to the top layer really screwed that part up. The top layer was more of a very light mousse-y texture than a silken, creamy texture. The lightness of the folded-in egg whites needed to be complemented by the stabilization of gelatin, but wasn’t, which resulted in quite a foamy top layer. This created a bit of interest because the torte got lighter in density as you rose up the layers, but even so, I really made a mistake in not adding the gelatin. There was very little “silken” nature, and because there was no gelatin, I doubt that what I made qualified as a true “chiboust.” Verdict: Don’t skip the gelatin! The recipe in the post reflects this addition.

Second Slice

There you go–a little bit of my personal take on Thanksgiving, and a little bit of my deliberation over perfecting this recipe. I hope this helps any of you who were thinking about making this treat for a holiday meal/party/potluck, and who wanted a little bit more information on the final taste test! Are there any other tweaks or alterations you would make? Any tips that pop into your mind that would make this torte more phenomenal? Please let me know in the comments! I appreciate constructive criticism–I love to learning about baking, and it can only make me better, right? :)

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, friends! I’ll be reuniting with a bunch of old school friends that are in town for the holiday. It’s going to be pretty epic, and I am way excited!

Triple Silken Pumpkin Torte

23 Nov

It’s the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving! I hope all of you are joyful and full of peace at this happy season. There is so much to be grateful for! If you’re hosting your Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve probably got your menu planned out, most of your food prep waiting in the fridge, and your house all cleaned and shiny. If you’re like me, however, and only think about dessert, I bring you the mother load of pumpkin treats! YES. Or at least that’s according to several pie contests in which this torte won the Grand Prize. :)

Can I tell you about this torte?! (Rhetorical question, because I’m going right ahead and doing it anyway). This torte contains three different, perfectly complemented flavored layers that are light and creamy. I have yet to taste this baby (waiting till Thanksgiving), so I’m judging all this based on the quality of the recipe. And it’s a good one, peeps. But I will let you know exactly what the final verdict is once I’ve tasted it , with a picture of it plated and all. :) I just wanted to get this recipe up in case any of you wanted to try this tomorrow. Although it may be time-consuming and may produce a sink full of dishes, this torte is truly a showstopper. Check out this picture I found via Google on this website:

Of course, mine doesn’t look as impressive. I’m going to have to work on the photography/food presentation skills. Anywaaaay, since this is a pretty long process, I took the liberty of taking some step-by-step pictures, in case those help you at all. I know I loved step-by-step photos when I first started reading food blogs!








Triple Silken Pumpkin Torte
Makes 8-10 servings

Pumpkin Custard Layer
Dough for a 9-inch pie crust. (If you need a good recipe, this post [or this post] contains the shortcrust recipe I use 75% of the time.)
1/4 c. Granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. Finely minced ginger
1/2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
2 Eggs
1/2 c. Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 c. Pureed Pumpkin (canned, or the like)
1/2 c. Sour cream
3/4 c. Heavy cream
2 1/2 tbsp. Brandy

  1. Roll out your pie crust and place it into a 9-inch springform pan, with a little lip on the sides. Make sure you allow your pie crust to rest for 30 minutes so that it doesn’t shrink when you bake it blind. Allow the crust to cool.
  2. Heat your oven to 325 F. Whisk the sugar, ginger, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the eggs and whisk till smooth. Then add the pumpkin, brown sugar, brandy, heavy cream and sour cream, mixing until smooth.
  4. Pour this mixture into your pre-baked pie shell, cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, and bake the custard layer in the oven for about 1 hour, or until just set. The middle will still be jiggly, but when you cool it, it will firm up nicely. Refrigerate

Maple Cream Layer

3/4 c. Heavy cream
1/2 c. Creme Fraiche
4 tsp. Maple sugar

  1. Combine the cream and the creme fraiche, and whip it until it starts to gain volume and thicken.
  2. Add the maple sugar and continue to beat until the cream is stiff.
  3. Pour this layer into your springform pan and smooth out the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate!

Caramel Pumpkin Chiboust Layer

1/2 c. Heavy cream
2 tbsp. Brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Finely minced ginger
1/2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
3 tbsp. Water, divided
1/2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Unflavored gelatin
3/4 c. Pureed pumpkin

3 Egg whites
1/8 tsp. Cream of tartar
3 tbsp. Granulated Sugar, divided

  1. In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.* Try not to whip it too much, or it will curdle.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, minced ginger, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  3. In another separate small bowl, bloom your gelatin by combining it with the 2 leftover tbsp. of water. Stir well and set aside.
  4. In a non-corroding saucepan, make the caramel. Put 1 tbsp of water and the lemon juice into the pan along with the 3/4 c. of granulated sugar. Stir this until you get a homogenized mixture, and then don’t touch it anymore. Heat this over medium-high flame until you get a deepish caramel color, or 335 F. As a reference, this may take about 5 minutes. Remove this immediately.
  5. While the caramel is cooling down, whisk in your gelatin, brown sugar mixture, and pumpkin. Set this aside.
  6. With an electric mixer, whip your egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat, adding the 3 tbsp. of sugar in a steady stream. Continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
  7. To break up some of the caramel pumpkin mixture, add about 1/3 of your egg whites and fold in. Then fold the remaining 2/3 egg whites gently. Fold in the whipped cream.
  8. Pour this chiboust into your springform pan over the cream layer, and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 2 hours.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the springform pan, and gently unmold. You can set it on a fancy cake plate and garnish with additional whipped cream, if you like. Use a hot knife to cut each slice. Enjoy!

*TIP* It helps to whip cream in a cold metal bowl. Don’t ask me why. :)

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Adapted from LA Times Food

Pumpkin Belgian Waffles

21 Nov

Hello again, long lost blog.
Yes, it has been over a week since I’ve posted anything delicious! Bad blogger, bad! I’ve been pretty busy y’know, just studying for the test that will determine my future, aka the MCAT (I’m signed up for January 28–crazzzzy).

However, it ISSS Thanksgiving week, one of the best weeks of the year, and I would be remiss if I didn’t post at least one Fall-y treat for y’all, especially since this is the holiday that’s mostly centered around food. Hence my return! On the other hand, it is called Thanksgiving, so  more importantly than enjoying food, it’s time to be grateful for all that we’ve been given, and to re-commit to using those blessings to bless others. D’awww :) Now before I waste any more time, let me bless you with these scrumptious waffles.

Oh my goodness folks. These waffles made my life. They’re supposed to be “Belgian,” but I read somewhere that authentic Belgian waffles are yeasted, and these are not, so I decided to put some bananas (quotation marks) around the word. Do not be concerned, however! These are still SO delicious, and on the plus side, the lack of yeast makes it very quick to whip up a batch! I served some to my mom in bed because she was having a bad week, poor mom. Yeah, these crisp, pumpkiny, clouds of air definitely do the trick!

The vegetable oil is the secret ingredient to creating a crunchier waffle, and distinguishes this batter from pancake batter, which makes a soft and pillowy product. I loaded these with pumpkin pie spices (all the ones you see below), and they turned out the most gorgeous orange color, perfect for a cool fall morning. Serve these with generous helpings of powdered sugar, maple syrup, apple butter (SO YUM), just plain old wonderful full-fat real butter, chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar, caramel sauce, anything your heart desires. Yum, I want seconds.

I hope you enjoy, and that they can brighten your Thanksgiving week! I know there’s so much food prep that goes into Thanksgiving, but if you want to go the extra mile, make these in the morning for the loved ones that you stay with before/after Thanksgiving! These would be the perfect breakfast treat to surprise them with when they wake up from your couch, or when they stagger in the door from the outlet mall/Best Buy Black Friday sales. :)

Pumpkin “Belgian” Waffles
Makes about 6 Waffles

2 scant c. sifted All-purpose flour
3 tbsp. Granulated sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs, separated
1 c. Milk
1/3 c. Vegetable oil
1/2 c. Pureed pumpkin (canned or freshly made)
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Allspice/Mace/whatever other yummy warm spice strikes your fancy

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff (forms peaks on beaters that do not fold over).
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks well and stir in the milk.
  4. Combine the egg yolk mixture and the dry ingredients until just moistened.
  5. Mix the pumpkin, the spices, and the vegetable oil together, then add the mixture.
  6. Fold in the egg whites gently just until no streaks remain.
  7. Your batter is ready! Ladle dollops onto your waffle maker as instructed. We have a Krups, and it takes approx 4-5 minutes to make them brown and crisp! *

*TIP* If you have a toaster oven, crank it to 200F and put all of your finished waffles in there until ready to serve! A regular oven works as well, but takes a lot more energy, and being the half Nor-Cal girl that I am, I must say that waste would be quite undesirable. ;)
*TIP #2* Make sure your baking powder is nice and fresh for this one, otherwise you may end up with a tough and chewy waffle instead of a crisp and airy one.

Do you have a waffle maker? Are you a fan of pumpkin? Who do you think would enjoy these? Let me know in the comments below if you tried these, and how they turned out!

Harry Potter-Inspired Pumpkin Pasties

27 Oct

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love Harry Potter? Nor have I! I’ve been a big fan of the books ever since my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kraus, introduced them to our class. I would wait patiently until that time after P.E. when we would finish up assignments quietly while she read to us out of the first, and then the second book. I just loved that imaginary, exciting, and magical world, and hoped that in a couple months when I turned 11, I would receive a letter by owl asking me to attend Hogwarts.

Unfortunately I never was visited by an owl, so now I must resort to other ways of coping with being a muggle–hence, these Pumpkin Pasties, inspired by the Harry Potter Cookbook! I don’t own this cookbook, so I am improv-ing this recipe from what little I know of pumpkin pies. :) These palm-sized treats are perfect for Fall because of the deep/spicy/warm flavors, and are also great for this Halloween weekend, especially if you’re planning on enhancing the spirit of your Luna Lovegood costume with some Harry Potter foods!

Being so portable, these little empanada-type hand-pies are also wonderful for popping into your hubby’s lunch for work, or your daughter’s brown bag for school (this is one thing she won’t be trading with friends)! They’re also awesome for people who prefer a larger crust-to-filling ratio. Do I need to say anything more? Probably not, but I will– the ingredients are SO simple and basic, and these hardly take up any time. Literally, I only spent about 30 minutes of actual hands-on action in the kitchen making these delectable treats. Honeydukes, meet your match. ;)

I decided to make these because my bf’s sister is coming home for the weekend from college! She is a huge Potter fan (we saw the last installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at midnight together), and I think she would appreciate these. Here’s to you, Emily!

Short Crust Pastry
Makes about 7 pastry shells

2 c. All-Purpose flour
1 c. Unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
2 tbsp. Cold water
1 tsp. Vanilla extract

  1. Sift your flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into slices about 1/4-inch thick and put these into your flour mixture.
  3. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it looks like cornmeal. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can also use two knives or merely your fingers, but I find that it works much better with the tool. Read more about this cutting technique in one of my posts here.
  4. Mix the vanilla and the water together, and sprinkle it over your mixture in the bowl. Use a fork to toss. After about 30 seconds of tossing, I like to start pressing my fork into the dough that is starting to form, causing it to lump together more. If your dough looks too dry… I say trust in this recipe, it’s my go-to ultimate favorite! Don’t add more water, just press as much as you can with your fork. The dough will come together in large lump.
  5. Dump out your lump onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press the lump together with your hands to form a ball, flatten the ball, and wrap in the plastic wrap. Put this in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the gluten proteins develop.

Great, now you’re finished with the crust! This takes about 10-15 minutes

Pumpkin Filling
Makes enough for 7 hand-pies

1 can (15 oz.) of Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 c. Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger

  1. Merely stir all these ingredients together with a spatula or what have you!

Easy as… dare I say it?… PIE?

Assembly

  1. After your crust has rested, take it out of the fridge for about 5 minutes. At this time, set your oven to 400 degrees F. Then flour your surface and your rolling pin, and roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Try roll from the middle, and not back-and-forth.
  2. Use a 6-inch saucer or other template to cut circles out of your dough.
  3. Place about 1/3 c. of the pumpkin filling on one side of the circle. Fold the other half over, and press the edges together with the tines of a fork. Continue until all the dough is used, gathering the scraps and re-rolling as you go. Cut slits in the tops of the pasties to let steam out.
  4. Place all the pasties on a baking sheet. Beat one egg, and brush the egg over the pasties with a pastry brush. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cool before digging in!

So, what do you think? Are you a fan of pumpkin? Would your special someone like to take this handy taste of fall with them to the office? Who in your life is a die-hard Potter fanatic? Got any tips or tricks that I could use to hone my baking skills? Leave a comment below to let me know!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Stay safe :)

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