Tag Archives: Fall Desserts

Squash Harvest Bread

This bread makes me miss Seattle. My last couple of years in Seattle, I was lucky enough to be walking distance to Macrina Bakery, a gem of this city. I would walk down the street with my then boyfriend, and we would stop in for a quick pastry and coffee before the work day. I loved these mornings walking through Queen Anne. When I moved, I made sure to buy a copy of their cookbook as I knew how much I would miss this bread.

It’s much warmer in LA of course, but now that fall is here I love making this bread, and the recipe calls for 2 loaves, which my office mates are always quite happy about. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

*I was too lazy to hunt down all of the nuts needed so this is a modification of their original recipe

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Recipe

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (or roasted squash purée)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and oil two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Spread the walnuts and pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. You can also do this on the stove by putting them over medium heat in a pan stirring frequently so they do not burn. You can tell when they are finished by the fragrant toasted smell and they will start to turn slightly golden, beyond of course their normal nut color. Let the nuts cool and roughly chop them into smaller pieces and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and half of the chopped nuts. The remaining half will be for garnish. Mix together.

In a stand mixer, combine oil and sugar and beat with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the pumpkin or squash purée and mix for another 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and add in the flour mixture in small amounts, waiting until it is full combined. Mix in the buttermilk until all of the ingredients are just combined. You do not want to over mix or it will make the bread dense.

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top of each loaf.

Bake loaves on center rack for one hour, or until golden brown. Test the center to make sure it is fully cooked with a skewer or thin knife, it should come out clean when the loaves are finished. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin pie is my favorite of the Thanksgiving desserts. However for me, my favorite time to eat it is for breakfast the following morning. I believe that pumpkin pie is so delicious, that it should be showcased on its own with a hot cup of coffee. Can you tell I’m ready for the long weekend already? Work has been so busy, as it always is this time of year. It’s the end of the year push for advertising. My life right now consists of two very different extremes. Crazy days at the office working on the myriad of commercials we’re bidding on, then quiet days on the weekend with pie, testing out different recipes.

I was going to post a different recipe for this pie, but it wasn’t right. I roasted a butternut squash, and pureed it turning it into a fall squash pie. While my co-workers loved it, there was something just a little off to me, and I knew I could do better. This time I went back to my tried and true recipe. Organic canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, and a mixture of spices. Simple, traditional, and delicious. Crust by Martha Stewart, because Martha just knows.

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Recipe

Pie Crust by Martha Stewart

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup iced water

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. Quickly dice the butter into pea sized cubes and put the butter into the flour. You want to move fast to keep the butter as cold as possible. With your hands, breakdown the small cubes of butter until the flour butter mixture resembles coarse meal. Next put in the iced water, 1 tbs. at a time, using a fork to combine. The amount of ice water depends mostly on environmental factors, such as the humidity and temperature of where you live. Use just enough until the dough comes together. Next dump onto the counter top and combine into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After the dough has chilled, lightly flour your work area, and top of your dough. Roll out, rotating frequently, and adding a light dusting of flour when needed to keep from sticking. Place rolled out pie dough into your pie dish decorating the edges as you like. Put the pie crust in the freezer while you make your filling.

  • 1 15oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 12oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sugar and spices. Next mix in the canned pumpkin puree and mix to fully incorporate. Shake the can of evaporated milk thoroughly before slowly mixing into your pumpkin sugar mixture. In a small bowl beat the eggs and stir it into your pumpkin mixture. Take our your chilled pie crust and carefully pour it into your crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the baking temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 40-50 minutes. Test the center of the pie by inserting a knife into the center of the pie and it should remain clean when you remove it. Or you can jiggle the pie slightly, and it should remain firm. Cool for 2 hours on a wire rack and enjoy.

Rustic Apple Crumble

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This time of year I could bake apple desserts everyday, this is not even an understatement. The funny thing is that I am not a huge apple eater generally. Occasionally I’ll grab one for a snack, or slice up with peanut butter on the side, but really we’re looking a few times a year tops. When it comes to apple desserts however, and the turn of summer to fall I can go all out.

I’ve been reading Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette food blog since about the very begging of food blogs. If you haven’t visited her site please do, she is a wonderful writer, and her blog is full of both beautiful photos, and amazing recipes. She wrote a few years ago about this apple crisp recipe, from Nigel Slater, that I have been wanting to make ever since originally seeing it. Other apple cakes and pies always seemed to get in the way, and I’m glad that I finally gave this one a chance. My co-workers also loved it.

apple crisp 2Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater

My favorite part of this recipe, which is the first time I have tried this technique, is that you cook the apples, butter, and sugar together for a few minutes to caramelize before baking. I think by doing this it really deepens the overall flavor. Also a note on apples. I like using Granny Smith apples, they don’t break down as much as others when you bake them, and I think the tart flavor complements the sweet, but feel free to use whatever you like best.

For the filling

  • 4 granny smith apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar. I had turbinado sugar on hand.
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter

For the topping

  • 7 tbs. cold unsalted butter cut into pea sized cubes
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbs Turbinado sugar
  • 1-2 tbs. ice cold water

Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices. Heat up a medium sized sauce pan on medium heat and add the butter until it melts and starts to foam. Add the apples and sugar and stir well to coat the apples. Let the apples cook for about 5 minutes or until the juices thicken into a golden syrup. Place cooked apples and juices into a pie dish.

To make the topping dice the butter into pea sized cubes and put into a medium sized bowl. Use your fingers to incorporate together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the ice water and incorporate together until lumps form. Evenly distribute crumb topping over apples and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and the dessert bubbles on the sides of the dish.