Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

7 Dec

Recipe source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Ina Garten on tradition: “Every family has traditions–events that they repeat year after year. These traditions give us all a sense of place and community…. Traditions reassure us that we belong together, and for me, that’s so grounding. I love them all.”

One of my family’s traditions at Thanksgiving is that I make dessert. This is mostly because I volunteered, because for a lot of years, dessert was the only kind of food I really liked. As you know from a few posts ago, I made pecan pie for my family and co-workers this year. But I was still left with another Thanksgiving dessert-making opportunity at my monthly cooking group, Gourmet Friends. We have a Thanksgiving-themed get-together every November, and it’s a great chance to test-run the recipes we might be considering for our families.

pumpkin banana mousse tart

This pie is a really nice subtle, elegant twist on classic pumpkin pie, which let’s face it, is a bit pedestrian. My palate is a bit too snobby nowadays for plain ol’ pumpkin pie.

The crust is a basic graham cracker crust, though, to which I can only say, why mess with a good thing? All that’s involved here is graham crackers, butter, sugar, and cinnamon. If you have a food processor, it takes about 5 seconds to break up the crackers, and another two minutes to blend it all together.

pie crust

The filling is a bit more complicated, but not impossible. The most important thing to know about it is to make it in advance. You’ll need to heat half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a double-boiler, then add in egg yolks (being careful to temper them so they don’t scramble), then a mixture of dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest. The orange zest was one of the things that really attracted me to this recipe!

pie filling

After that mixture has cooled, you will fold in a whipped cream mixture, pour it into the baked crust, and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

pouring pie filling

Finally, the last step is to cover the pie with a whipped cream topping and chill again. Ina suggests sprinkling the top with orange zest, which I think is a classy idea.

whipped cream

I don’t have a picture of a cut slice because I was too busy noshing on it… always a difficulty for me when pie or cake is concerned! But inside this looks very similar to a traditional pumpkin pie. Actually – it’s kinda like this picture I’m shamelessly stealing from a Google search:

pie slice

Ina’s recipe doesn’t call for a pecan-caramel topping, but now that I’m looking at it, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea! I guess I’ll just have to make this again… pity…

RECIPE – Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

I wrote this recipe for my entertaining series for California magazine. It was inspired by a pumpkin mousse that my mother had made for years for Thanksgiving. It’s lighter and much more flavorful than that cloying old pumpkin pie. People really do go nuts for it.

Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 ripe banana, finely mashed
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Decoration
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Orange zest, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.

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Pumpkin Pudding

4 Oct

Recipe Source: Skinny in the City email newsletter, Top 6 Skinny Foods for 2010

This is a really simple, unusual, delicious breakfast for the Fall and it’s full of fiber and protein. It’s rich, creamy and very satiating. Chances are good you’ll be satisfied far longer with a bowl of this than a bowl of your normal breakfast cereal. It also makes a nice post-lunch dessert if you’re a slave to that sort of thing… *cough*

All you do is combine 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt with 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree and a few spices (I like 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice). You can whisk it together or whip for a few seconds in the blender and voila! Pumpkin puddin’.

Pumpkin Bread

24 Sep

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.
~Jim Davis

Recipe Source: bread – online somewhere, years ago / frosting – allrecipes.com

I love the fall, and some years (including this one), my birthday lands on the first day. I love all things Fall – leaves turning color and the concept of change that they represent, crisp cool air, and spice and pumpkinstuff everywhere. So every fall, I make homemade pumpkin bread.

pumpkin bread

At first, my mom made it from a box mix. But when I moved, I couldn’t find the mix, and eventually I wasn’t satisfied to wait for the extra loaves she made me when I visited. I searched online and ended up settling on this recipe. I’ve made it in loaves and muffins, and frosted muffins to make cupcakes.

pumpkin muffin

Often, I like to buy decorative mini loaf pans at Michael’s ($1!) and give them as gifts to co-workers and friends. Since Fall gets jilted by everyone thinking Winter starts the day after Thanksgiving, I like to make a special effort to celebrate this season.

 mini loaf pan

RECIPE – Pumpkin Bread

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
3 cups white sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
4 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two loaf pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugar, oil and eggs. Stir in pumpkin. Slowly blend the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Pour the batter into two prepared loaf pans.

Bake for about 60 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.

pumpkin cupcake

And since I mentioned cupcakes, I will suggest a frosting. You didn’t think I would be so cruel as to overlook frosting, did you?

RECIPE – Allspice cream cheese frosting

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter, and allspice.

Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk until the mixture is spreadable.