Pumpkin Squares Revisted

I make these every year and they disappear quickly. This year was no different. Not all my pumpkin creations are a success. Playing around with an oatmeal pumpkin cookie, I came up with an inedible concoction. Luckily Bixby and his playmates were not quite so discerning, so it wasn’t a complete waste of ingredients. I was glad to whip a batch of squares up after that to restore my faith in my own cooking.

Pumpkin Squares

Cake:

  •  4 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil or butter
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice (less if desired, I like them spicy)

mixing bowl & 13×9 baking dish, greased

Beat eggs, sugar, butter & pumpkin together, add dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread into baking dish, bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool & frost (frosting below). These are rich, so I would cut them into at least 24 squares.

Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-3/4 cups powdered sugar

mixing bowl

Mix together cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Mix until smooth.

You can frost & freeze in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.  Enjoy.

 

Originally posted 10/2011

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake1

I ordered a DSLR camera today, on a whim. Probably mostly because I was stressed, coffee and sleep deprived. I’ve been looking for one, this was a great price and had good ratings, so I suppose it wasn’t a totally bad decision.

Harley is home and getting better…he’s just not himself yet, so I’m still guarded on his prognosis.

There was no time to put together a recipe exchange today, between work issues and worrying about the cat, but I did have the cake recipe in the back of my head and figured I should post it.

I was staring at a can of pumpkin, thinking I should make another batch of pumpkin bars, when instead it seemed time to try a recipe that had been bouncing around in my head for a while. Taking the basics for the gluten free torte that I’ve made with different flavors (chocolatefruit, clementinechocolate-raspberry) I wondered if pumpkin would work or if the moisture content would be too high to create a good cake.

In the end, it is more like the Clementine cake than the chocolate cakes, moister and denser. But the flavor was excellent and while it won’t replace pumpkin bars for me, if you need gluten free, it’s a nice alternative.

Pumpkin Torte

  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp of pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

In a blender or with a mixer, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add pumpkin and melted, cooled butter, blending slowly until combined. Add spices, mixing well and then add the baking powder, mix until just combined. Pour into springform pan, tap pan on the counter to release air bubbles. 

Bake for 40 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  I always bake on a baking sheet to avoid any spillage. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Pumpkin Patch Edition

pumpkin-bars1a

I made pumpkin bars by request a week or so ago for a friend’s birthday. You should always have whatever sweet treat you want on your birthday. That recipe is here.

It put me in the mood for more pumpkin. I don’t go crazy and want everything pumpkin flavored during the season, I generally stick to pumpkin donuts (Dunkin Donuts are my preferred and difficult-to-acquire style), pumpkin bars and the occasional pumpkin pie. I prefer the Pumpkin Cream Pie that is the featured recipe tonight, to a traditional custard style pie.

That does not mean I don’t have a bunch of pumpkin recipes at my finger tips. To see everything, click here and it will take you to the pumpkin patch, er, page.

Last week when I mentioned tonight might be pumpkin week, several people sent me links to recipes and these two caught my eye:  from Mnemosyne: Mini Pumpkin Pies (recipe here) and a savory, Roasted Pumpkin Soup from Emeril – click here – (sorry I couldn’t find who sent this to me).

Friend of blog, Tes from TesatHome.com posted a good looking and definitely unusual, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry (click here).

And on a non-pumpkin note, this week’s menu of Lemon-Nut Pork Chops and Raspberry Poppyseed Cake is here.

There you go, a nice mix of sweet and savory for your pumpkin cravings. So what are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes? And what’s on the menu for this beautiful fall weekend, food or otherwise?

We’re not done yet…there’s still pie: Continue reading

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

Finally got the cream cheese in between two snow storms. It’s sunny now, I expect by noon the snow to be completely gone and I’ll be cycling by late afternoon. So I took the morning to make this pie.

A week or so ago, a neighbor brought over a slice of store-bought pumpkin cream pie, wanting to know if I had a recipe. It was very good, creamy as opposed to custard style. I preferred that, because one of the things I’m only so-so on is the texture of standard pumpkin pie. This addressed that, while keeping all the flavor.

The slice was heavily spiced and I like that, too. So when I went searching for recipes, none of them had enough spice, so I knew I was going to have to take some risks with the spices.  I tasted in between and continued to add until I felt like I had a good ratio.  I got a good idea from several recipes what would make it creamy and then I just went and played.

The first thing, the crust. I didn’t want a traditional pastry crust because I think those get mushy when you do a custard type pie. I thought I’d do a graham cracker crust until I saw someone use a ginger snap crust in a recipe and thought that would be a great, so that’s the crust I included with this. You can use any type you like and if you want graham cracker, just substitute the same amount of graham cracker crumbs for ginger snap crumbs.

Then I saw a recipe for brown sugar whipped cream and knew that would be perfect for this pie. So when I put it all together, this is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Crust:

  • 2 cups ginger snap crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (more as needed, mine could have used a couple more tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Mix together in a 9-inch pie pan and press around the bottom and sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool while making pie filling.

Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (test after 1/2 and see if it needs more, pumpkin very bland without)
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

bowl, electric mixer

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin, cream, sugar and spices, mix until well combined and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Pour into cooled pie crust. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, until the pie is mostly set, you’ll want the center to still move a bit, it will set completely while cooling and you don’t want to overcook it. I put foil over the pie for the first 40 minutes so it didn’t burn and took it off for the last 10 minutes to caramelize the filling.

You wouldn’t want to do this with a pastry crust, because it needs to bake, but with the crumb crusts they don’t need that baking time. You may end up covering a pastry crust the last 10 minutes if it is browning too quickly.

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, ice-cold
  • 3 tbsp, packed, brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin spice

mixing bowl, ice-cold (I also put the beaters in the freezer)

Whip cream on med to high until it forms peaks. Using your fingers, crumble the brown sugar over cream, so it’s not clumped and add spices. Fold ingredients gently until incorporated. Spread or pipe over COMPLETELY cooled pie and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 pieces

I think this pie is a great Thanksgiving idea and can be made a day or so ahead – it’s actually better the next day.

Whole Grain Stout Mustard

This is the start of what may become a continuing series.  I’ve been enjoying various whole grain or “stone ground” mustards, you may have spotted some of them on various sammiches I’ve pictured here and elsewhere.  It’s not a thing that I thought about before but I have been seeing mentions here and there of making your own condiments-relishes, ketchup, pickles of many varieties.  I saw a recipe for a mustard made with dark (stout) beer and decided to give it a go. _DSC2503 [1024x768]

I’ve lost the link to the recipe so I’ll reproduce it here:

12 oz stout beer

1-1/2 c black mustard seeds (whole)

1 c red wine vinegar

1 T kosher salt

1 t ground back pepper

1/4 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t ground nutmeg

1/4 t ground allspice

Combine all the above in a stainless or other inert bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours.  Dump it all after the soaking into a food processor or blender and pulse until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens.  Ready for use immediately or store in refrigerator for six months.

 

Slowcooker Meal: Molho Beef

Molho is Portuguese for gravy and this dish makes its own.  I don’t remember where I came upon this recipe, but I enjoy it and it’s nice to come home to at the end of a busy day.  It’s like a beef stew, but with exotic flavoring.

Molho Beef

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 pieces (1 lb) thinly sliced steak (round steak, breakfast steaks, eye steaks – the tougher cuts)
  • 1 onion, sliced in rings
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 potatoes, thick slices
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • dash of cinnamon

Slow-Cooker

This is a layering dish. Add oil to Slow-Cooker. Layer ¼ steak, ¼ onion, ¼ tomatoes, ¼ carrots, ¼ potatoes in Slow-Cooker, repeat 4 times. Mix together water, soy sauce, garlic, allspice & cinnamon and pour over mixture. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions, usually about 8 to 10 hours on low.

Making Chili Oil

I was reading through my usual blogs and news orgs this morning and got to Ezra Klein at the WaPo.  The usual wonky stuff, but he is a sorta foodie so he has links to recipes and such like.  A link I followed led to the food guy at the NT Times in a video on how to make hot pepper infused oil.  Piqued my interest because 1) I like chili oil and 2) chili oil is expensive.  I din’t have all the stuff on hand that he mentions in the video, but I did have the basic stuff.  I used some slices of ginger, and tossed in a few allspice berries, a few cloves, a sprinkle of coriander and cinnamon.  And the red pepper flakes, and the szechuan peppercorns.  Fun was had.

Warm the oil (I used peanut oil.) over a low flame, you don’t want it to get too hot or the peppers will burn.  230-240 degrees is about tops.  Conversely, too cool and the flavors won’t infuse.  Anyway, warm the oil and dump in the peppers and the other spices, then let the oil return to heat.  Shut off the burner and set the pot aside to let it steep.  Longer is better although you can use it right away.  Strain the solids and maybe filter the oil through cheesecloth.  I did but it isn’t required.

Have fun!

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Ketchup!

Spent nearly all the day long on this.  It’s been fun, the smell is wonderful, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing this again.  Kroger has Heinz ketchup arrayed by the yard.  This is good, and we used Splenda instead of sugar, and there aren’t any preservatives and yada yada yada.  I reduced 4 apples, 3 onions, 5 cups of Splenda, 1 quart of apple cider vinegar, and 8-10 pounds of tomatoes to make 3 cups of ketchup.  My 12 quart sauce pot was over half full of juice and apples and onions and spices.  I did lose some solids when I forced the ketchup through a sieve twice.  Maybe a cup, and left some more on the sides of pots when I downsized during the sieving.

3 cups.

Used this recipe times four.

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