Fall can be a melancholy season; the temperature drops, chill and damp sets in. The days grow shorter and the nights longer and in our bones we can feel the coming of winter. But there are consolations; the sight of changing leaves and their fresh damp smell on the ground or the scent they give when they burn, there’s relief from the dog days of August, there’s All Hallow’s Eve and Thanksgiving. And most especially there’s some really great food. Autumn meals have a special palate of flavors and aromas that are uniquely their own to reflect the seasonal harvest. The only thing better, I’ve found than being near a warm oven on a cold and rainy day smelling something delectable rising inside, is eventually eating the final result. We all love our pumpkin pie, apple cobbler, and cranberry nut bread but the autumnal harvest is even greater than this and here are some delicious baker’s recipes that are a little off the beaten track to help you store up for winter!
Obviously this recipe can be used with ground ginger but fresh ginger is especially available this time of year. Squash admittedly is not something that generally comes to mind in the context of desserts and pastries but with proper sweetening and seasoning it actually makes an excellent filling for pies and tarts such as this one. Consider it for Sunday night dinner or even as something new for Thanksgiving!
For the Crust
24 ginger snaps (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Filling
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. For the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine gingersnaps and sugar; process until finely ground. Add oil and pulse until crumbs are moistened. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press into bottom and up sides. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
2. For the filling, set a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch of water; bring to a boil. Place squash in pan, cover, and steam until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
3. Place squash in food processor and process until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs, brown sugar, half-and-half, fresh ginger, salt, and nutmeg; process until smooth. Place cooled crust on a rimmed baking sheet and pour filling into crust. Bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate to cool completely, at least 1 hour.
Fresh cranberries are only in season for a certain number of days a year so why not make the most of them? Consider topping this cake with powdered sugar or vanilla ice cream.
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon kirsch (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of milk
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly flour and grease a 9×13 pan.
2. Beat eggs and sugar together for 5-7 minutes; the eggs will increase in volume quite a bit, streaming into ribbons when you lift the beaters. They will also turn pale yellow.
3. Add butter and extracts and beat for 2 minutes. Add the milk and salt and mix for another 30 seconds.
4. Stir in flour and fold in cranberries. Pour into greased pan.
5. Bake 45-50 minutes
Like squash sweet potatoes usually get relegated to side dishes with the rare exception of sweet potato pie. But there are other ways to use them, too. This recipe can be the cornerstone of a unique seasonal breakfast treat!
6 cups sweet potatoes or yams, shredded
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbs. orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 baking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, honey, egg, and egg whites and stir with a fork until mixed well.
2. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.
3. Drop the batter by about 2 tablespoonfuls into hot pan to make several pancakes. Flatten slightly with a spatula until about 3 inches across.
4. Cook the pancakes until golden on both sides.
To make the topping: In a large skillet, stir together brown sugar, walnuts, orange juice, and cinnamon. Add the apples and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the apples are tender and the brown sugar has melted to form a syrup. Serve with the pancakes.
It is a little known fact that autumn is the season of gooseberries as well as apples. These berries aren’t as recognized as they once were but consider trying them for a change of pace in this cobbler or in a good gooseberry pie.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter flavored shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
32 ounces frozen gooseberries thawed
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1. Combine flour and salt then cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Sprinkle water over mixture and stir with fork then shape dough into ball.
3. Combine berries, sugar, flour and lemon juice and stir well then set aside.
4. Divide dough in half.
5. Roll half of dough to 1/8″ thickness and place in lightly greased rectangular baking dish.
6. Spoon berry mixture over pastry and dot with butter.
7. Roll remaining half of dough to fit top of cobbler and place over berry mixture.
8. Make slits in dough or cut into strips and sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
For those of you looking for a cheesecake alternative for your Thanksgiving menu look no farther! We have a decadent dish, with the comfortable traditional flavors of pumpkin, maple, and pecan, with the cheesecake texture and experience we all love.
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Maple Pecan Glaze:
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
3. Add pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken. Cool 1 hour. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.
To serve, spoon some Maple Pecan Sauce over cheesecake.
Maple Pecan Glaze
In medium-sized saucepan, combine whipping cream and pure maple syrup; bring to a boil. Boil rapidly 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened; stir occasionally. Stir in chopped pecans. Cover and chill until served. Stir before serving.
Whether using gooseberries or apples, going traditional or contemporary, vegan, or dairy delightful, just remember to have fun and put your kitchen to good use! Harvest season won’t last forever you know.