Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
(Adapted from Gourmet Magazine / Gourmet Today cookbook)

1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned fresh or solid pack pumpkin (I loved it with the fresh!)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old brioche (about 1 loaf) or baguette or crusty bread (I prefer my homemade brioche)
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Whisk together cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, and spices in a bowl.

Cut brioche loaf into 1 inch thick slices. Slice the slices in thirds horizontally and in fourths horizontally. Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle the pecans over the top, followed by the brown sugar.

Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. The custard in the middle should be "just" set. It will continue to "bake" after it is taken out of the oven. Take care not to overcook it or the edges will be dry.

Serve warm or chilled. May be made ahead of time and reheated.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Teri's Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I looked up various recipes on line and then made my own variation. These turned out really crunchy and didn't hide the pumpkin taste.

Teri's Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Plump, clean, freshly "harvested" pumpkin seeds.
Ghee (2 tablespoons for each 3 cups of pumpkin seeds)

Pick the pumpkin goop from the seeds. Discard thin, flat ones. I do not rinse them. Dry on parchment paper or baking sheet over night.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Melt approximately 2 tablespoons of ghee in a glass bowl. Put pumpkin seeds in bowl and coat with ghee. Spread in a single layer on a jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides) or cake pan. I prefer stoneware. Roast for approximately 1 hour, stirring after the first 20 minutes and about every 10 minutes thereafter until golden brown.

Remove from oven and place pan on baking rack to cool enough to handle. Transfer the seeds to a rack or pan lined with a sheet of parchment paper and paper towels. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt. Place another layer of paper towels on top to blot any additional oil you want to have removed.

Notes: I prefer ghee because it has more flavor than oil, but is absent of the butter fats which can easily burn. Some people like to soak the pumpkin seeds in salted water before drying them so the salt taste is inside the seeds. I prefer less salt, so I add mine at the end.

Celeste's Avoid The Ick Tea

I worked with Celeste about 9 or 10 years ago. When I posted last night that the flu had hit our house (via my grandson) she gave me this recipe. It is warming and really not too bad tasting. I sweetened it with just a bit of honey - not much - as I prefer to allow the original tastes of things to come through.

Avoid The Ick Tea

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, cut into thin slices
3 dried red chili peppers (I used Thai chili peppers, but 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili peppers will work too).

Place the above ingredients in a tea strainer and steep 7-10 minutes. I have a covered tea cup / strainer combination that kept the water warm. Add honey or sugar to taste.

Not too bad - I'll let you know how it works!

Baking Pumpkins

Baking Pumpkins

Pumpkin (I like the big guys, others will debate this)
Food processor or with even more patience a potato ricer, or sieve.
Storage Plan

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Trim stem. Slice pumpkin in half. I prefer around the middle instead of stem to stern. Clean out the guts taking as much of the thready stuff as you can. Tip up like a bowl and place in the oven. Cook until fork tender in most places. This will take a few hours. Cool.
Slice into long slices from the cut to the stem or bottom center. Peel or slice off skin. Scrape any remaining threads and the tough area around the original cutline. Cut or smoosh pieces into workable sizes for the food processor. Work in batches until all is smooth.

I like to freeze 1 cup batches in the large muffin tins. This imakes it easy to thaw and measure in the future. It could easily be canned at this point too (not my forte).

For use in recipes - thaw so there are no remaining ice crystals. Measure into recipe just like you would with canned pumpkin. Remember when baking pies that you need to add your pie spices! The color and texture will be lighter, more yellow. The flavor will be brighter.

My biggy pumpkin (fills a reusable grocery bag) makes about 30 cups. I bought the pumpkin at the Farmer's Market this year for $3.00. Nice math.