Pumpkin Cream Puffs with Maple-Caramel Sauce

23 11 2010

Cream puffs (a.k.a. profiteroles) filled with a spiced pumpkin cream and topped with a buttery maple-caramel sauce.

When I want to make an autumn dessert, I think about seasonally appropriate ingredients such as apples, pears, caramel and of course, pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie is a staple at most Thanksgiving tables and spiced pumpkin is popular in everything from lattes to ice cream. As a bonus, scientists have long known that the scent of pumpkin pie is an aphrodisiac so it’s the perfect finale to a romantic dinner.

If you’re looking for something a little different from pie, these cream puffs (a.k.a. profiteroles) fit the bill perfectly.  The pumpkin-cream filling has all the flavours of classic pumpkin pie and the maple-caramel sauce is a decadent and delicious topping (which is also great on ice cream!).  The recipe has a number of steps but none are difficult and everything can be prepared in advance and assembled at the end of the meal.

Click here to see the recipe from Suite 101.com: Pumpkin Cream Puffs with Maple-Caramel Sauce.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins

26 09 2010

A bin of pumpkins at Jean Talon Market, Montreal

If there is one flavour that really says ‘autumn’ it’s pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie is a staple at Thanksgiving and in the past few years I’ve seen everything from pumpkin fudge to ice cream once fall arrives. Some coffee shops even make pumpkin lattes. Combined with warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, pumpkin is a delicious seasonal treat.

To make things easy, I use canned pumpkin puree instead of fresh pumpkin for this recipe.  While fresh pie pumpkins can certainly be used, the quality of the finished product can vary due to the water content of different pumpkins (for a guideline on how to prepare puree from pie pumpkins, check out How to Prepare Fresh Pumpkins for Baking).  If you’re using canned pumpkin, make sure it’s labelled as pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which already has spices added.

To make big, puffy bakery-style muffins, fill the muffin tins up almost to the top. Make sure you grease the top of the tin so that the muffin tops don’t stick.  If the muffins ‘grow’ together during baking, just cut them apart with a knife.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Makes about 8 large muffins

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Oil or cooking spray to grease muffin tin

Topping:

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tin (including top of tin) and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and spices. Stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add pumpkin puree, oil and eggs, and stir into the dry ingredients until smooth. Gently fold in nuts until distributed throughout batter.
  4. To make topping: In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Reserve chopped nuts in a separate bowl.
  5. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling them to about ½” from the top of the cups. Sprinkle the batter of each muffin with cinnamon/sugar mixture and a spoonful of chopped nuts.
  6. Bake muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove muffin tin from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before removing the muffins.

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins





Pumpkin Breakfast Treats

24 11 2009

Pumpkin: it's not just for pie!

With pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving menu this week in millions of homes, there will likely be some leftover pumpkin purée. Why not put it to good use by whipping up some delicious breakfast treats for a house full of guests?  Try these delicious recipes I wrote for Suite 101.com:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins – Pumpkin purée helps keep these muffins nice and moist. Filling the muffin cups almost to the top will make large, puffy bakery-style muffins. The recipe can easily be doubled to serve a crowd.

Pumpkin French Toast – French toast is always popular for breakfast but adding pumpkin and spices makes it even better. It’s also a great way to use up leftover bread. Serve with real maple syrup.

Pumpkin French Toast with maple syrup

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline

19 11 2009

Pumpkin pie with maple-walnut praline and pastry leaves

No Thanksgiving table is complete without pumpkin pie.  Many places sell them but they are very easy to make and cost a fraction of what fancy bakeries will charge.  My version features a basic pumpkin custard that has been dressed up with a crunchy maple-walnut praline and cut out pastry ‘leaves’.  Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you can just make the basic pie without the additions – it will still be delicious.

Pumpkin Pie with Maple Walnut Praline

Makes one 9″ pie

Praline:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil such as canola or safflower

Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups plain pumpkin puree (not spiced pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Uncooked pie crust for two 9″ pies (see Basic Pastry Crust for a good recipe)
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar

To Make Praline:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine walnuts with maple syrup and oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spread walnut mixture so it’s in an even layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, making sure the walnuts do not burn.
  4. Remove nuts from the oven and let cool. Gently break up any pieces that have stuck together with your fingers. Praline may be made in advance and kept covered in the fridge until use.

Preparing the Pastry:

  1. Roll out one portion of pastry dough (enough to fit a 9″ pie plate). Place pastry in pie plate and crimp edges.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick a few small holes in the bottom of the pastry and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Roll out second portion of pastry dough. Cut out leaf shapes using a cookie cutter or knife. Use knife tip to score leaf ‘veins’ into the pastry.
  4. Brush pastry leaves with beaten egg mixture. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Set aside to decorate finished pie.

To Make Pie Filling:

  1. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, sugar, spices, salt and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly mixed and spices are evenly distributed. Set aside. Filling may be mixed in advance and refrigerated until use.

To Assemble Pie:

  1. Pour pie filling into pastry crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until the centre has set.
  2. Remove pie from oven and let it cool completely. Sprinkle praline along edge of crust. Arrange pastry leaves decoratively in the centre of the pie. Serve pie with whipped cream.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.