Pumpkin Pie

PumpkinPie_3

I think I’ve finally settled into my new flat – it’s only been 2 months! Baking has proven to be a challenge, as the oven cooks a bit unevenly. I was so looking forward to this pumpkin pie until it caught a little bit and the wonderful even color on top got marred by a few dark spots. Oh well, still tasted delicious.

Pumpkin pie is a very American dessert it seems. Most people in our London office had never had it before, so I had to show them what they were missing!!

Ramping back up into baking regularly again since we’ve moved has been a bit of a test of willpower. I’ve recently joined a gym again and have been trying to be good about snacking – something that is incredibly difficult when you’re a baker! But I’ve been good and I’ve stuck to only sampling the tiniest of slivers. At least this time!

This pie is incredible, and tastes wonderful served with a dollop of whipped cream!

Ingredients

  • 1 batch sweet shortcrust pastry (I added a tiny bit of cinnamon to my pastry this time as well)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk

Pumpkin-Pie

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (approx 175°C). Roll and place your pastry into the pie dish. Gently prick the bottom with a fork (don’t go all of the way through though!), line with baking paper, then fill with your ceramic baking beans. Blind bake your pastry for 10-15 minutes, then set aside to cool. Once cool, remove the baking beans by lifting out the baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together all of your sugar, spices, and eggs. Then add in the pumpkin. Once everything is combined, stir in your evaporated milk.

3. Place the pie in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it bakes evenly. Test it with a cake tester to ensure it’s cooked all the way through. If you’d like to add a pastry garnish like the ones I’ve done, add the pastry cutouts about 10-15 minutes before the pie is finished baking so that you don’t burn them.

4. Once your pie is ready, let it cool completely, then serve with whipped cream!

PumpkinPie_2

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkinchocolatechip

The past couple weeks have once again been a whirlwind. My mom just came for a visit the past two weekends, so we spent some time wandering around London. On top of that, Ben just finished his time at university and has started a new job! All in the same week! He’ll be working in the graduate program while he finishes writing his PhD thesis.

This week, I just whipped up a quick batch of pumpkin cookies. I made these cookies last year and they were incredibly addicting. This year, I decided to ramp it up a bit by adding in chocolate chips, making them even more delectable! They were an easy bake to satisfy my sweet tooth while still allowing us to get back into our routines.

To make these super-quick cookies, check out the original pumpkin cookies recipe, and just add 2 cups of chocolate chips!

Pumpkin Cookies

Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I am seriously on a pumpkin spree. This week I made pumpkin cookies, which came out really puffy and soft, like fresh gingerbread. I think they’d be perfect drizzled with chocolate or, even better, in a pumpkin whoopie pie with a maple and pecan filling. Hmmmm, I may actually have to make those soon!

These cookies were delicious, and addictive. I think I ate about five of them! Big thanks to Diamonds for Dessert for the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (or cooked and mashed up)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (approx 1750°C). Line a few cookie sheets with baking paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Once everything is incorporated, add in the pumpkin.

4. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and mix until the dough forms. Spoon out even portions of the dough in about 2-Tablespoon sized portions (or you can use my favorite gadget, the cookie dough baller!).  Take a fork and dip it in a bowl of water and gently press the top of the ball down to form a criss-cross pattern and to form the dough into a slight oval.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm. They will get nice and puffy. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

Ask anyone who knew me growing up and they’ll tell you – Halloween is my favorite holiday. I used to go overboard making my own costume every year, determined to have the best one out of everybody. It’s a shame that Halloween isn’t really a “thing” here in the UK – it actually made me a bit sad not dressing up, carving a jack-o-lantern, or going to Halloween parties, pumpkin patches, or haunted hay rides. *note to self – must throw a Halloween party some year.

And fall is pretty much my favorite season from a culinary perspective. It marks the beginning of the best cooking and baking season that leads up to Christmas. One of the best seasonal ingredients is pumpkin. Cooking with pumpkin just instantly signals fall – so I special-ordered a few cans of pumpkin to load up for a few rounds of pumpkin baking.

As a Halloween treat to my co-workers, I decided this week to throw together a batch of pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. As I was baking these on a weeknight and ended up staying up pretty late, I completely forgot to take photos. Luckily I had a photo from another time I baked these a few years ago. So while I apologize for the poor-quality photo, I will not apologize for the presence of Jack Skellington.

If anything, he just adds a bit of the Halloween spirit.

 

Ingredients

For the cupcakes (makes 24):

  • 2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (or cooked and mashed up)
  • 3/4 cup milk
For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup (57.5 grams) butter, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound (1 box, about 4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375° F (approx 190°C). Place cupcake liners into the pan.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs. Once everything is incorporated, add in the pumpkin.

4. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients, alternating each addition with the milk. Make sure everything is blended in and smooth before adding the next addition. If you’d like, you can also add in some chopped walnuts or pecans at this stage. Once the batter is completely mixed, fill your prepared cupcake pans – filling each cup about 2/3 full.

5. Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Once they are ready, let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese in your mixer until it starts to become creamy. Then turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add in the sifted icing sugar. Finally, add in the vanilla and mix until it is completely blended. The consistency of this frosting is best spread on with a spatula, rather than piped. If you’d like a stiffer frosting, then add more sugar.