Baked Pumpkin Spice Pudding may seem like more of an afterthought than the perfect finish to a Thanksgiving meal. It’s not as sleek as the quintessential Pumpkin pie but it’s just as tasty and easier to make. Who needs that pesky, often soggy pie crust? Make the best of pumpkin pie by simply throwing the ingredients in a casserole dish and baking until set. The result is a pudding with the same spice and flavor of pumpkin pie, minus the crust. Add a dollop of whipped cream and this smooth creamy delight may not only make it on the dessert menu but on the breakfast menu too…and lunch…and afternoon snack.
I love to peruse cookbooks and almost every time I open “The New York Times Cookbook” by Craig Claiborne, I find at least 2-3 recipes I didn’t notice previously and can’t wait to try. This classic book has many fall and holiday recipes. I probably won’t be able to make all of them this year but I couldn’t resist this baked pudding, or what I will now refer to as my new version of pumpkin pie (never had much luck making the pie version anyway).
Fresh pumpkin and canned pumpkin usually seem interchangeable in baked goods. That statement may sound criminal but I usually don’t notice a huge difference in baked desserts (more so with soups and savories). However, I prefer fresh pumpkin in this delicious Baked Pumpkin Spice Pudding with Whipped Cream recipe. Canned pumpkin is still tasty but Mr, Claiborne calls for fresh in his 1961 version and this classic pudding deserves it. So skip the pie this year and make this pumpkin pudding. Go ahead, eat it straight out of the casserole dish, I won’t tell.
Baked Pumpkin Spice Pudding
4 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree or 1 ½ lbs fresh pumpkin
¾ cup half and half
2 tablespoons rum
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Peel the pumpkin, remove seeds, and cut into small pieces. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash thoroughly. Cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a soufflé dish.
Beat the egg whites until thick stiff.
Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Combine the yolks with the pumpkin puree, half and half, rum, sugar, and seasonings. Mix thoroughly until blended. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
Place the mixture in a buttered 1-quart soufflé dish. Set the dish in a pan of hot water and bake 40-45 minutes. Serve at once sweetened, topped with whipped cream.
In the shadows of super trendy pumpkin lies the sweet potato. A classic Thanksgiving favorite that still remains somewhat of an underdog yet a staple fall root veggie. I would like to think it is slowly gaining in popularity – and not just in the format of a French fry. Sweet potatoes are versatile and fun to bake in many different forms. These bread rolls are a soft treat and a great way to get two dishes from one batch of mashed sweet potatoes (or a great way to use up leftovers).
Believe it or not, the base of this recipe maybe considered a classic. I’m still in the process of growing my classic cookbook collection and I found this Sweet Potato Roll recipe in my newly purchased “Beard on Bread” cookbook (more recipes to follow!), by great American foodie and Paula Peck mentor, James beard. I of course made a few adjustments. I added raisins that had been soaked in apple cider (to maintain their plumpness after the rolls are baked). The raisins can be eliminated for more savory rolls. I love the combination of raisins and bread so this was a natural addition I couldn’t resist.
This bread roll recipe requires yeast, so it does require time and patience. If you’re not accustomed working with yeast, don’t be scared. Once you understand the basics, it’s fairly easy and the same concepts can be applied to all different types of bread. There are two tips I find helpful: 1. a warm liquid and a sugar or sweetness to initially activate the yeast 2. kneading the dough until it’s soft and springy. I won’t say this will make your bread rolls foolproof but it will definitely help. Warm sweet potato rolls slathered with butter are worth it. The sweetness and texture of the mashed sweet potatoes create soft flavorful rolls that are the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal (or Thanksgiving leftovers).
½ cup raisins
¼ cup apple cider
2 packages of active dry yeast
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup warm water
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon salt
3-3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup mashed sweet potatoes or yams
2 tablespoons honey
Place raisins in a small bowl and add apple cider. Set aside.
Combine yeast with one tablespoon of the sugar and the warm water in a mixing bowl and let proof for 5 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, butter, salt, and 2 of the eggs to the yeast mixture, and stir to blend well. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, then stir in the mashed sweet potatoes.
Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead for 2-3 minutes, adding only enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the board. When the dough is smooth and springy to the touch, shape it into the ball. Put in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough, then shape it into a ball and let rest for 2 minutes. Pull of equal pieces about the size of golf balls and shape into balls, about 2 dozen of them. Place them on a buttered cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart or in if you want rolls joined, about ¼ inch apart in a 9-inch cake pan or spring form pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the remaining egg with the honey and brush this mixture onto the rolls. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom and are a lovely brown color.
Makes 2 dozen.
Meatballs may not make you think of Mexican food. I would like to take credit for developing some sort of Italian/Mexican fusion soup, but Mexican Meatball soup is an existing dish. Frequently referred to by its Spanish name, Sopa de Albondigas, this basic soup can be made a number of different ways. Some include vegetables, rice, and herbs while others are mainly just meatballs, usually made of beef such as sirloin. I like additional inclusions in my Meatball soup and this spicy version chock-full of tasty textures and flavors, really fits the bill.
Although my grandmother had an affinity for Mexican food and some of her recipes (like Refried Beans) are amazing, this soup was adapted from “The New York Times Cookbook,” by Craig Claiborne. This fairly massive everything cookbook was originally written during the early 1960’s, around the same time as my grandmother’s cookbooks. Claiborne, the New York Times food editor and reviewer at the time, often wrote favorable reviews and tidbits about my grandmother and her cooking and baking. With her frequent trips to Mexico, I like to imagine my grandmother exchanging authentic Mexican cooking tips with Claiborne.
This recipe might not be traditional, but it is hearty and delicious, especially on a cold fall (or winter) day. So what differentiates this Mexican Meatball Soup from the other recipes you might find? For starters, the addition of chipotle peppers. The spicy inexpensive pepper that shares a name with the well-known restaurant chain, adds heat and a little smoky flavor to the soup – but be careful not to add too many, they get pretty spicy when the base of the soup is pureed (I learned the hard way).
Another highlight of this soup are the meatballs themselves. I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful and moist these simple beef meatballs were. They really are the best part of the soup (as they should be). Simple ingredients, a little spice, and a touch of authenticity that my grandmother would appreciate, makes this soup another oldie but goodie for the recipe books.
½ lb ground sirloin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ¼ cup finely chopped onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ chopped coriander leaves
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes
1-2 chipotle peppers (canned), finely chopped
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1 very small zucchini (less than ¼ lb), diced
4 cups chicken or beef stock
1 cup tomato juice
¼ cup white rice
sour cream (optional)
Place the meat in a medium mixing bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a small skillet and add ¼ cup of the onions and 1 teaspoon of the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions wilt. Let cool briefly and add this to the meat. Add the breadcrumbs, coriander, oregano, cumin, egg, and salt and pepper to taste (about a teaspoon of each but you can test the seasoning by cooking a mini meatball from the mixture). Mix well.
Shape the mixture into 24 meatballs of equal size.
Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until just browned on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and add remaining onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent.
Add the tomatoes and the chipotle peppers and let simmer about 10 minutes, stirring often. Pour the mixture into the container of a food processor and blend thoroughly.
In the same saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and diced zucchini. Saute until just barely softened. Return the tomato chipotle mixture to the saucepan.
Add the stock, tomato juice, and ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Add rice and the meatballs and let simmer about 20 minutes, until rice is cooked through. Carefully skim the surface as the soup cooks. Serve in hot soup bowls garnished with additional chopped coriander and sour cream.
Brussel sprouts have always seemed like a vegetable for adults. Even though I actually enjoyed eating all kinds of vegetables while growing up (beets and lima beans were odd favorites of mine), I don’t recall eating them as a child. These mini cabbage-like healthful buds have also increased in popularity over the years. But like most cabbage and other stinky vegetables, they aren’t particularly appealing to children. The trick is to add a touch of sweetness. The caramelization in these honey roasted brussel sprouts make them enticing for both children and adults alike.
This roasted squash salad with brown butter apple cider dressing may sound fancy but it’s not. Even though the piles of winter squash at the fall farmers markets look beautiful and fun, squash can be a little boring in both preparation and taste. This dish changes that. It combines fancy sounding flavors with various winter squash to make a salad that’s not only pretty, but tasty too. Classic roasted squash simply includes butter or olive oil, salt, and pepper. It is then baked and maybe topped with a maple syrup. Not bad. But not great. Add pears, pecans, raisins, sage, and little brown butter, and roasted squash becomes an amazing salad or show stopping side dish.
It’s safe to say that pumpkin is officially out of control. You know a flavor profile has reached new highs when Oreo comes out with a seasonal version. There are worse flavors we could obsess over. Candy corn, for example, seems to be a budding trend that I just don’t quite understand. Candy corn has very little flavor. It’s just sugar and corn syrup – does this mean America’s next fall obsession might be straight sugar? Pumpkin is at least versatile and technically a vegetable (requiring very little processing even in its puréed form).
Cabbage tends to have a bad reputation. The semi-pungent leafy vegetable has many different recipe applications and seems to be gaining popularity despite the negative stereo-types that surround it. Most of this newly found popularity comes from recent trends in fermentation, particularly Korean food such as kimchi. I still find cabbage a bit daunting. Its extra-large leafy head often looks like enough to feed a small army. Some grocery stores manage to sell halves instead of whole heads, which I’ve found helps this issue. But the best way to conquer cabbage is to find a handful of delicious recipes that make the infamous smell less…well…stinky. Sweet balsamic vinegar and fall’s favorite fruit rescue cabbage in this braised dish. It’s sure to top your list of best cabbage recipes, or at least your list of cabbage recipes worth repeating (most of us might not have a “best recipe list” for cabbage yet).
Every fall I try to think of fun and different Apple recipes to take advantage this awesome autumn fruit with its growing number of varieties. My grandmother has many tasty Apple dessert recipes in “The Art of Fine Baking.” I’ve been baking my way through them and posting those such as Apple Cheesecake Puff and Sauteed Apple Cake on this site. The majority of these Apple recipes are more refined desserts, fit for a crowd or dinner party. I often crave something easier, something that takes the idea of Apple pie but simplifies, making it guilt-free in the process. Well maybe not entirely guilt-free, but at least more so than a traditional Apple pie or the over-the-top (but awesomely delicious) Stuffed Baked Apples with Homemade Caramel Sauce I made last year. These sweet cinnamon baked apple snack stacks are the perfect compromise.
As we say good-bye to summer, I give you this lovely Peach Lemon Thyme Upside Down Cake. Local ripe peaches are still available at farmers markets around New York and New Jersey while fresh herbs such as lemony thyme remain abundant in many of our gardens. Pair these seasonal favorites with buttery cake, and summer may finally feel complete.
This is one of my favorite dishes but also one of the hardest to photograph. The best photo setup would probably have the chicken in some kind of rustic clay pot or stoneware, surrounded by the lemon ginger sauce with a sprinkling of bright green cilantro and colorful ramekins containing chutney and raita on the side. Unfortunately, I don’t always have such luxuries at my disposal. But this doesn’t stop me from making amazingly delicious Indian food (and it shouldn’t stop you either).