Saturday, November 12, 2016

Food Friday - Pumpkin: Twists on Traditional

from Tracey G

I'm always looking for new ways to do something that's a well-loved stand-by, lol. I love pumpkin pie, which is funny because I never liked it as a kid. Wasn't my thing, I liked my fruit pies, blueberry especially. I can't say I remember when I started loving pumpkin pie actually, I think I was into adulthood to be honest! But anyway, I thought this recipe for No-Fuss Pumpkin Pie Bites from King Arthur Flour sounded like a fun way to get your traditional pumpkin pie fix, in cute little personal-sized desserts! (probably why I love cupcakes - they are small individual single-serving sized cakes, how fun is that?) Not to mention how easy this treat would be to transport and share - it's already cut, just needs some whipped cream (or not) or honey as my father-in-law prefers and you're good to go! I mean, technically, you don't even need eating utensils, as they are even contained in their own little wrapper to hold on to, peel away and eat!

I did have a mishap though, and ended up making 2 batches. The first batch, I had whipped up in a jiffy - it really is an easy recipe and comes together super quick - and I had about 3 or 4 of the muffin tins filled when I realized I used the wrong flour! I had even specifically bought self-rising flour for this recipe. And since I couldn't find the King Arthur Self-Rising flour in any of my stores (which are only like 3 to choose from, lol), I ordered it from their website to be sure I had it, lol. But what did I do? Not even thinking,  I had used regular flour. So, I hastily dumped the already-filled foil wrappers back into the batter bowl, and stirred in a teaspoon of baking powder as per a quickly looked-up recipe for homemade self-rising flour and hoped for the best. Well, they tasted good, but the texture seemed off, too dry for what I expected them to be like. I really wanted to get them done correctly, so even though they were yummy as is, I made another batch. The 2nd batch was much better because it had a better texture - more pie-like, than my non-self-rising-flour batch. As they state in their description of the recipe, it's reminiscent of the "impossible pie" recipes - and it is, the outer edge makes a sort-of crust, while the middle is more of the pie texture - it all equals up to a big yum factor though no matter what!

They are easy to make, easy to take and easy to eat! That makes them a perfect dessert offering whether you are making them to take to a gathering, making them package up and give away or making them just to eat at home yourself. They certainly live up to their name - they are no-fuss in all aspects!!

The recipe:

from Kris B

Though it still doesn't look like fall outside in Texas, there is definitely a feeling of fall swirling around.  People are wearing sweaters and long sleeves, despite the fact that the temperatures are still consistently in the seventies, because that is what you are supposed to do in November.  Hints of Christmas are popping up in malls and a few peoples' yards, but most importantly, the grocery stores now have their big displays of baking items front and center!  Right now, there is an abundance of orange from those gorgeous cans of pureed pumpkin!  Lol! I realize that you actually can buy puréed pumpkin all year long; for whatever reason though, I only think about it in the fall.

Last fall, I shared my mom's pumpkin quick bread recipe.  It may be my favorite recipe by which to remember my mom.  It is a traditional "sweet" pumpkin bread.  This year, looking for something different, I found King Arthur Flour's Holiday Pumpkin Bread.  It is a yeast bread, not sweet, but has all of the spices that I associate with my mom's pumpkin bread.  Plus, it is braided to add a fancy look to your holiday table...or kitchen counter.

The Holiday Pumpkin Bread is the easiest yeast bread recipe that I have ever made.  It requires no proofing of the yeast.  All you do is throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix them either by hand, mixer with a dough hook, or bread machine, and set it aside to rise for about ninety minutes.  After the first rise, the dough is divided in half.  (It makes two 8"-9" rings.). Each half is then divided into three pieces, from which 18" ropes are made and then braided.  The braids are made into  rings, placed in the two pans to again rise for ninety minutes. Then they bake for 30 minutes.  And then you have two beautiful Holiday Pumpkin Bread rings.  They keep for five days, or may be frozen for several months.  They look like you slaved in the kitchen for days. Lol!

This bread has a great deal of flavor on its own, but a little butter, cinnamon butter, or honey and it becomes a real treat.  My daughter thinks that it would be good with cranberries.  I haven't tried that yet; however, neither of our two rings made it to the freezer so I'll be making another batch before Thanksgiving.  I may give the cranberries a try!

Though I bake a lot throughout the year, there is something different about baking at this time of the year.  It may be the pumpkin...and the cinnamon; or, it may be that much of what I bake during the holidays is shared or given away to others.  I bake for my students as the semester becomes more stressful during the final stretch, I bake for my colleagues because they are grateful for anything that makes its way to the workroom as a quick snack between classes.  I bake for holiday gatherings.  And, I do lots of baking for gifts.  The words "company" and "companion" mean "with bread."  This holiday season, make some bread and break it with those you love.  It is at the table where true community flourishes.

Recipe Link:

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