Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Pie

Happy Sunday!  Thanksgiving is coming up this week, so I thought I’d share a fall-themed recipe this month - Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Pie.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving!  It’s a whole day of spending time with family and cooking together celebrating all our blessings.

I actually combined two recipes…one from Cook’s Illustrated for their pumpkin pie and one for Cinnamon Streusel.

I started by pre-baking the pie crust slightly.  This keeps the crust from getting soggy.

Then I combined the heavy cream, milk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla.  This recipe uses heavy cream and milk instead of the standard evaporated milk which gives the filling a smoother, richer flavor.

The Cook’s Illustrated Pumpkin Pie recipe also calls for precooking the pumpkin with sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, gingers, nutmeg, and a slightly unusual ingredient: canned yams.

According to their recipe, “Simmering the filling for pumpkin pie is an unusual step, but its benefits are threefold. First, cooking the pumpkin and sweet potatoes drives off moisture and concentrates their taste. Second, cooking the spices along with the pumpkin allows their flavors to bloom. Third, heating the filling allows it to firm up quickly in the oven, rather than soaking into the pastry and causing the crust to become soggy.”

So, I cooked everything together until it became smooth and shiny.

Then I mixed the pumpkin with the custard and poured it into the crust.

While the pie was baking, I prepared the cinnamon streusel topping.  From a failed attempt at making a similar pie last Thanksgiving, I found out that it’s best to let the pie cook for about 10 minutes before adding the streusel.  Otherwise, the streusel sinks to the bottom….still tasty but not nearly as pretty.

I topped the semi-set pie with the streusel and put it back in the oven for another 40 minutes or so.  The recipe called for baking it an additional 20-25 minutes, but mine took about 15 more minutes before the center was set.

But once it came out, it was beautiful!  And did I mention it smelled so good!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!  I hope you have a blessed day!

Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (see note)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup regular oats
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 to 3 teaspoons water

 To prepare crust, roll dough to an 11-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute.  Line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.

While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes.

While pie is baking, prepare streusel.  Combine all ingredients and cut in butter with a fork or fingertips until crumbly.   Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with streusel. Reduce oven temperature to 300 and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes or until pie is set, but still slightly soft in the center.

Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catering a Wedding

Happy Sunday!  This week I’m deviating from my usually cake features to share some pictures from a recent wedding I catered.  I mainly enjoy decorating cakes, but I occasionally get to prepare the food for events too!  It’s a nice change of pace from just baking and decorating.

I had such a great time working with Michelle Street and her parents!  They were absolutely the sweetest family and the event was a huge success.  The wedding ceremony was held at Scarritt Bennett and the reception was at Crieve Hall Church of Christ.  The bride’s colors were deep purple, burnt orange, and celery green – a beautiful combination for an early fall wedding.

 The delicious menu also had an autumn feel to it as well:

Pork Tenderloin with Yeast Rolls and Poppyseed Mustard

Apple and Red Cabbage Salad

Stuffed Zucchini Bites, Spinach Puffs, and Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Tortilla Chips

The Roasted Red Pepper dip was so popular!  So, just as a bonus, here’s the recipe!
7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
6 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cups mayonnaise
1 tbsp minced onion
1 head garlic, roasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small baking dish, mix the roasted red peppers, Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, garlic and Dijon-style mustard.
3. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.

In addition to tea and water, the bride’s family also chose Spiced Apple Cider … oh so yummy!

I received such a sweet note from the bride and groom after the wedding,
Where do I start?!?  The food was incredibly delicious!  I only got a few bites, but it so SO good!  We received so many complements!  We really appreciate your hard work, and for helping us making our day special! Thank you!
~ Michelle and Chris"

And that is why I do what I do!