I almost wasn’t going to post today because of a late night out, but then I remembered that it’s Wednesday, and there’s no way I could deprive you all of a Hop Day with Izzy. I mean, look at that bunny face and paws.
I know, late night out on a Tuesday? Well, was for a good reason, I assume you. We didn’t get back until 11 or so, and I normally start writing my posts the night before, so this one is coming at you fresh, straight from my fingers.
Crepes might seem like a challenging food to make, but they’re really quite simple once you get the swirling technique down.
All you need to make crepes is a 10” or 12” non-stick skillet and some wrist action. No crepe pan required.
Crepe batter contains a higher liquid to dry ingredient ratio than pancake batter because you want to be able to spread it around the pan quickly before it sets and cooks. After all, a crepe is just a really thin pancake.
This recipe includes pumpkin puree to give the crepes awesome color and great flavor. Pumpkin can also lend itself to savory dishes, so if you wanted to make dinner crepes out of these, I’m sure it would work well.
I made them to use up the leftover white chocolate pastry cream from this cake, and it was a great combo.
Adapted from Judicial Peach
Makes about 20-25 crepes
5 large eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the batter, making sure to get rid of large clumps. Let the batter rest for about an hour in the fridge. Set a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and once it is properly heated (about 2 minutes) drop 3-4 tablespoons of batter (I like to use a soup ladle) and swirl the skillet quickly to coat. When browned, turn the crepe over with a plastic spatula and cook for another minute. Allow the crepe to cool on a cooling rack or plate. Repeat this process using all the batter and serve with your favorite crepe fillings!
Yesterday Luke and I attended our first and only wedding expo. We were there for one specific reason: to sample the cake of a certain bakery so we could make a decision on where to get our wedding cake.
We accomplished this task about 10 minutes after the expo started. Then we decided to nibble on a few of the provided hors d’oeurves and wander around carefully. I say carefully because we just wanted to see what other kinds of booths there were, and not be assaulted by the salespeople attending them. We already have all of our other vendors set, so we were just there to look.
The woman at the front table was quite surprised to see us leave so early, but no reason to hang about needlessly since our decision was made. With our extra time, we decided to go to the mall, looking for a new pair of corduroy pants for Luke. I ended up getting a pair of jeans at the Gap for $7, but there were no corduroys to be found. We also went to Trader Joe’s, to stock up on some of Luke’s favorite frozen food, as I’ll be away for a few days starting this coming weekend.
Ok, so that’s the life update, now onto the food. I’m sure I must have proclaimed my love for pumpkin baked goods at some point, but here’s another out-of-season recipe to prove it.
These bars are thick and chewy, with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. I also like the pumpkin/white chocolate combination. The original recipe called for semisweet chocolate, but I wanted to do something different. Maybe next time I’ll use butterscotch morsels. Oh goodness….to the kitchen!!!
Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Makes one 9X13” pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cups white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. The mixture will look somewhat curdled, but don’t worry about it. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake bars for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool bars completely in pan. Cut into squares and serve.
It’s been kind of hot in MA the last few days. And I am not a summer person. Especially not in an apartment without air conditioning.
The only up side is I get to see a lot of this.
Izzy is lying down on her side and belly more often to cool off. There’s nothing to make me forget that my bare legs are sticking together than a little black bunny flopping over and spreading out on her little paws.
Luckily, or not so luckily, the heat streak is ending today. I’m happy about it. As cute as Izzy is, I’d rather not start sweating while kneading bagel dough or checking on roasted potatoes.
Or making muffins. I loooooove muffins. I love them even more when they have a secret filling.
And if that secret filling involves nutella, I’ll eat so many I won’t care about that huge blister on my big toe I got from walking too far in flip flops. Damn hot weather shoes.
But muffins make it all better. I know it’s not pumpkin season, but these guys are delicious any time of year.
Nutella Cheesecake Filled Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes about 20 muffins
For the muffins:
4 large eggs
1-½ cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1-½ cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
For the cheesecake filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup Nutella
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add in sugar, pumpkin and oil and beat thoroughly. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, Nutella and egg until smooth.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or place lines in the cups. Place about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter into each liner, then 1 tablespoon of Nutella batter, then top with 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Remove from muffin tin and enjoy!
I mentioned it before, but my pudding score is now completely tilted in my favor. I have now made more successful, cohesive puddings than runny, liquidy ones. Winning.
My mom’s internet is much slower than our connection in the apartment, so there are only a few photos because they take forrrrever to upload.
This pudding tastes just like pumpkin pie filling. Uncannily so. Even though the pumpkin I used was 12 years old. Yep. You read that right, not 1 or 2 years old, but 12. It’s in a sealed can people, without outside contact, how could it go bad? Still, I didn’t tell Luke until after he had eaten it…hehe.
You can use more timely pumpkin if you’d like.
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Makes 4 servings
6 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 3/4 cups 1% milk
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine milk and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Combine pumpkin and the spices and salt in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat, and cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly (do not boil). Divide pudding evenly among 4 ramekins or cups, and cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap if you fear pudding skin. Chill for a few hours and enjoy.
I realize I’ve been talking a lot about Izzy lately because of her recent operation, but I haven’t been posting any pictures of her. I feel this makes me a bad blogger. After all, the pictures are my favorite part of most food blogs. So here are some recent pics of the bun. I’m trying to get a shot of her cute little shaved belly, but she’s sensitive about it. If I get one, I’ll be sure to post it.
Basking in some afternoon sun.
It might be hard to tell, but that piece of hay is actually in her mouth.
Today Luke and I have our first face-to-face meeting with a rep from the catering company we chose for our wedding. We’re also waiting to hear from our wedding planner, who is assigned to us as part of our package with the Crane Estate, our venue. Save the dates are out in the mail too. The ball is rolling here people!
Now on to ice cream. Yes, I realize today’s high in northeastern Massachusetts is 19 degrees. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some tasty ice cream inside, where it’s hopefully warmer.
I’m the type to eat ice cream all year round, especially if it’s a particularly good flavor. Pumpkin pie is Luke’s favorite holiday dessert, so I thought I’d give it a try in ice cream form. It tastes just like pumpkin pie filling. Amazing. Add some whipped cream, and it’s like eating frozen pumpkin pie in a bowl…just without the crust. Which is my least favorite part of pie anyway.
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Adapted from Arctic Garden Studio
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum (optional)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
Set a mesh strainer over a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam.
Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.
Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160º-170ºF.
Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the large bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, then let sit until cool. Chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours or overnight.
Whisk in the vanilla, liquor (if using), and pumpkin puree. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Today, I had a good plan. I knew my milk was closing in on its expiration date, so I decided to make pancakes. Lots of pancakes. Because that’s what I do with extra milk. I don’t drink it…I make pancakes. Except that today I didn’t make pancakes, because my milk had already gone bad.
After taking a whiff, I contemplated whether I could still cook with it. Is that a bad thing? That I stood in front of my sink debating how smelly is too smelly when it comes to milk? Thankfully, my rational side won out, and I poured it down the drain. I should not be that desperate for pancakes.
Instead of pancakes, I’ll eat pie. That’s a rational decision, no? Preferably, chocolate pumpkin pie. I wanted to make this recipe for Thanksgiving soooo bad, but Luke told me to keep it traditional. Boooooring. But I still made a great “normal” pumpkin pie. And totally forgot to take pictures of it. Sorry about that.
Chocolate and pumpkin may not seem like an intuitively awesome combo, but trust me when I tell you, it’s amazing. It actually blew me away a little by being so amazing. I mean, I was expecting a certain level of amazingness, but this pie was definitely 4 levels above my expectations.
Hopefully this pie will open other doors to new pumpkin pie combos. And if not, at least I have a great complement to that “traditional” version.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Pink Parsley
For the Crust:
2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
3 oz (6 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs granulated sugar
2 Tbs packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
For the Pie:
6 oz semisweet chocolate (preferably 55 percent cacao), chopped
2 oz (4 Tbs) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in bowl. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over bottom of crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute. Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and up sides. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
To make the filling, melt the butter and semisweet chocolate together in a large bowl (either using a double boiler, or in the microwave, cooking at 30 second intervals and stirring well after each).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves. Whisk about 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.
Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into the crust. Bake until the center is set but still just a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
Note: I ended up with extra filling. I baked some in ramekins, and some in tartlet pans with extra pie crust I had leftover from other recipes. These little guys baked for about 15-20 mins.