Let’s get one thing outta the way. I kinda love October…in a BIG way! New food becomes seasonal, leaves turn amazing colours and the temperatures become a little bit more bearable. Oh and there’s Halloween! If you’re a Halloween-hater or nay-sayer then I’m afraid we can’t be friends. It just ain’t gonna happen. It’s become my family’s steadfast tradition at this point – December belongs to reindeer, candy canes and Father Christmas; October is ghosts, vampires and all things nocturnally unspeakable! The Season of The Witch reduces me to giddy school-kid levels of excitement and anticipation. The opening staccato of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme giving me bats in my tummy (you see what I did there?) In the space of a couple of days I’ll transform our house from a 2.4 family dwelling in to a suburban Gothic haven.
However enough about that- you’d didn’t come here to read of my penchant for ghouls, ghosts and creatures of the night. It’s impossible for me to think of October and Halloween without thinking of pumpkin. Image can be a powerful thing and as soon as the calendar turns to October 1st, scenes of those orange orbs of rustic goodness flood my brain- pumpkin patches; Jack O’Lanterns; pumpkin pies. So it only seems fitting to present to you some recipes as an homage to the humble Cucurbita Pepo. As always I try to give you something a little different not so much in the Pumpkin Pie variety of recipes! All of these recipes use canned pumpkin. I have enough labour what with all the carving and excavating of pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns so I try to avoid it in other areas. When using canned pumpkin be sure to use those which are 100% pure pumpkin puree.
Brown Butter & Tonka Bean Pumpkin Madeleines with
Chai Caramel Dipping Sauce
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon mixed spice
- 1 Tonka bean, grated
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/4 cups cooking cream (35%)
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoon chai spice mixture
To make the madeleines
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 12-shell madeleine pans with baking spray or cake release. (Or brush with melted butter and coat with flour, tapping out the excess flour)
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is a brown color, It will now start to have a “nutty” smell. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool (You’ll notice small brown/black particles. Don’t worry these are all part of brown butter!)
- In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, mixed spice and tonka bean. Mix to combine and set aside until needed.
- In a stand mixer bowl add the eggs and sugar and with the whisk attachment mix on medium-high until the mixture is light in color, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until combined.
- After removing the bowl from the mixer, fold in the flour mixture gently by hand. Once the flour is completely added, gently pour in the cooled melted butter and fold it into the mixture until completely incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure no pockets of unmixed ingredients
- Pour the madeleine batter into a large piping bag (fitted with plain circular nozzle, or snip the end of the bag off)
- Fill the prepared trays with batter in each mould to 3/4 depth
- Bake the madeleines for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and golden
- Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack
*Keep in an airtight container for up to for 2-3 days. The madeleines can also be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated in the microwave or in a 350F oven before serving.
To make the dipping caramel
- In a heavy-based saucepan combine the brown sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Increase the heat and allow the sugar mixture to deepen in color, approximately 240F (Soft Crack on sugar thermometer)
*excercise care in these next few steps!
- Remove the saucepan with the melted sugar from the heat and add in the salted butter. Whisk briskly and carefully so that it melts and becomes incorporated into the sugar mixture. It may hiss and spit so please take care!
- Next add the cream in a steady stream and stir to fully incorporate. Again take care at this point.
- Stir in the chai spice mixture
- Pour into the small ramekins or mini-milk bottles to serve with the pumpkin madeleines
*The final caramel sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. I find it’s best if removed from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to allow it the return to full “saucy goodness”. If you prefer it warmed, heat in a microwavable container in 10-15 second bursts until it at desired temperature
Cinnamon Cheesecake stuffed Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground gloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups (caster) sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Cinnamon Cheesecake Filling
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup (caster) sugar
- 4oz Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
To make the cheesecake filling
- In a bowl beat together the filling ingredients until fully combined and smooth
- Transfer to a piping bag and set aside until needed
To make the pumpkin loaf
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
- In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
- In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
- Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals
- Remove the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips
- Pour the mixture equally between the two prepared tins to 1/2 level
- Pipe a stripe of cheesecake mixture from the piping bag into each tine. Ensure that the cheesecake mixture doesn’t touch the sides of the loaf tin
- Once all the cheesecake mixture has been used, use the remaining pumpkin batter to fill up the loaf tins. Level the tops of the mixture
- Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tins until fully cooled. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed
*These loaves get better over time- after a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture.
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons ice-wine syrup
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside until needed
- In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 10 mins)
- Add the egg, vanilla, ice-wine syrup, pumpkin puree and continue to mix until well combined
- Add the flour mixture a heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined, with your mixer set to low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Remove the fully mixed cookie dough from the bowl, divide into two and wrap in cling-wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or preferably overnight
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F, line two cookie trays with baking parchment, and dust a work surface with confectioners (icing) sugar)
- Remove one of the batches of dough from the fridge and on the dusted work surface, roll to a thickness of 4-6mm. Cut out shapes using dusted cutter cutters. Lift the cookies with a spatula or palette knife and place on the lined cookie sheets.
- Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. I find it works best baking them a tray at a time, so that whilst one tray is in the oven you can cut and place the cookies for the second tray
- When baked remove the tray from the oven and let cool for 1 or 2 minutes before again using a spatula or palette knife transfer the baked cookies to racks to cool. Be aware that the baked cookies will be soft but they will firm up upon cooling
*The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.
There you have it- three wonderfully, tasty ways to use the season’s stalwart staple…and not a pumpkin spice latte in sight. Enjoy!
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thankgiving and a sookily fun and safe Halloween from here in The Kitchen.