Monday, November 1, 2010
PUMPKIN LOVE ~ Pumpkin Pots de Creme with Candied Spicy Pecans
Carmen of Baking is My Zen has organized a wonderful pumpkin posting effort called "PUMPKIN LOVE" from 6 different bloggers, me included! I was so thrilled to be a part of this. Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors and really makes me feel like fall is here (which can be challenging in Southern California). I adore all things pumpkin and always look forward to the pumpkin season so I can try out new recipes featuring this delicious and versatile gourd. In short, pumpkin rocks! I think my fellow bloggers would agree and below is a snapshot of the delicious creations these talented bloggers made to honor the humble pumpkin!
Pumpkin Pie Tamales
Bonnie of Sweet Life made Pumpkin Pie Tamales. A cool take on a classic, Bonnie says, "Why should tamales be limited to only dinner...why not dessert?"
Creamy Pumpkin Custard with Rum-Raisin Compote
Jen of NJ Epicurean made Creamy Pumpkin Custard with Rum-Raisin Compote. Jen said she chose this recipe because, "I was sold at the description of this pumpkin dessert - the texture is somewhere between a creme brulee and a light and airy cheese cake.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Rebecca of Beurrista baked up Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. She shared that these are "remembrances of a fun weekend getaway with college girlfriends." I would have liked to be a part of that weekend to get my hands on these whoopie pies!
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes
Carmen, a very talented baker and the hostess of this Pumpkin Love post made Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes. She said, "After making fat free desserts one Thanksgiving, everyone in my family missed the Pumpkin Gooey Cake. It is now a must that I bake this cake for Thanksgiving." You can find the recipe on her blog, Baking is My Zen. Thank you again Carmen for bringing all these pumpkin treats together! I am definitely feeling the "Love" and I look forward to adding all these to my list of pumpkin goodies to bake.
Pumpkin Pots de Creme with Candied Spicy Pecans
And lastly, I made Pumpkin Pots de Creme with Spicy Pecans. When Carmen asked me to be a part of the Pumpkin Love blog post, I was completely flattered and super excited! I wanted to try a new recipe and immediately went in search of pumpkin treats online. I toyed between several recipes, including pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin souffle, pumpkin pots de cream and pumpkin cream pie with gingersnap crust. Ultimately I went with pumpkin pots de cream because I adore chocolate pots de creme and I thought a pot de creme would be delicious with pumpkin. A recipe from Vera of Baking Obsession caught my eye. To see gorgeous photos her pumpkin pots de creme click here. By the way, I plan to make all the other pumpkin recipes I listed above, with the pumpkin cinnamon rolls on the short list!
Back to my pots de creme...these were very easy to make. No mixer required. Just a bowl and a whisk. The only special tool, which really isn't all that special, is a fine mesh strainer. It moves into the special category for me because I don't own one. So I ended up improvising by using my sifter and I sifted my mixture. It worked ok, but I think I should just break down and invest in a proper mesh strainer. Just when I think I have all the basics! If you compare my photos to Vera's you will see her pots de creme look a little silkier than mine. I bet she has a fine mesh strainer!
The ingredients are simple...most of these I already had in my kitchen.
Simply whisk all the ingredients together and then pour into 6 ramekins. The ramekins go in a dish or pan large enough to accommodate them and then you transfer the the dish to the oven and fill it with hot water until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 35 minutes until the pots de creme are set but still jiggle a little. Once cooled, remove the ramekins from their water bath and transfer them to the refrigerator to continue setting, at least 2 hours.
While your pots are cooling you can move on to making the candied pecans. This too is super easy! Just a few ingredients make up the candy coating and you toss the pecans in the mixture.
Into the oven for 5 minutes to "melt" the candied coating and then you give them a stir to spread out the pecans. 10 more minutes in the oven and your nuts are candied. The nuts will brown and the mixture will start to bubble and you know it's done. Then you dump the nuts onto a piece of foil to separate the nuts before the candy hardens. It hardens quickly, so you have to work fast. Note that these are sweet and spicy pecans. The spiciness comes from black pepper and cayenne pepper. I have baked with cayenne before and knew it was too spicy for me so I left it out. The pepper still provides a spicy kick. Or you can leave out the spicy elements altogether!
If you are patient enough to wait for the 2 hour refrigeration period the result is a silky, creamy pumpkin custard. Unfortunately I am not that patient and could only wait an hour. The pot de creme is delicious with a scoop of Haagen Daas Dulce de Leche (caramel) ice cream on top. The ice cream starting melting faster than I could photograph it! I really must try harder to exercise patience.
It's also yummy with fresh whipped cream. I tried that too, but didn't snap a photo. This custard is very similar in taste and texture to pumpkin pie filling, but much more smooth and silky. The candied pecans add a nice crunch and pair perfectly with this tasty custard.
Pumpkin Pots de Cremefrom Vera of Baking Obsession
For pots de crème
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup light cream
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
For candied pecans
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp (generous) freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
Make pots de crème:
Preheat the oven to 325 F and position a rack at the center. Lightly oil six-4-oz ramekins. Have ready a roasting pan that is at least 2 inches deep and large enough to hold the ramekins. Line the pan with a clean kitchen towel and arrange the ramekins evenly in the pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Strain the mixture into a 4-cup glass measure or a bowl with a pouring spout. Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins.
Place the roasting pan with the ramekins on the oven rack and pour hot water into the outer pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are set but still jiggle when you shake them, 30-35 minutes.
Transfer the roasting pan to a cooling rack and remove the foil, leaving the ramekins in the water until the custard reaches room temperature. Removed the cooled ramekins from the water bath and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Wait until they are completely cold before covering tightly with plastic wrap.
Make candied pecans:
Leave the oven at 325 F. Spray a baking sheet with a nonstick spray or line it with a silicone mat. Combine all ingredients except the pecans in a bowl. Stir to blend. Add the pecans, stir gently to coat. Transfer to the baking sheet.
Place a large piece of foil on a work surface. Bake the pecans for 5 minutes. Using a fork, stir the pecans to coat them with melted spice mixture. Continue baking until the nuts are golden and the coating bubbles, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pecans to the foil. Working quickly, separate the nuts with the fork. Cool. Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Serve the chilled pots de crème topped with candied pecans. Offer additional pecans in a bowl on the side.
If you've managed to make through this whole post....look at these gorgeous pumpkins! I had to squeeze this photo in somewhere given this post is paying homage to pumpkin. Happy fall!