September 24, 2012

The Great Pumpkin Challenge

So it's fall apparently... how did that happen??  It seems like just the other day we were still sweltering.  Oh well, another summer gone and there's no looking back!

And what says fall better than pumpkin!?  Today I had this crazy idea that everything I made would have pumpkin in it.  So I bought a great big can of pumpkin puree and went nuts.  Pecans actually... haha.  I hope you guys will all forgive me for posting about a savoury food, but it goes with the story!

First came the cocktail.  A "pumpkin harvest" courtesy of the LCBO magazine.  Normally I am not a fan of creamy drinks but it tasted mostly of spiced rum and the little froth that formed on top from the whipped cream was great.

Next came the main course.  I had the idea of swapping out pizza sauce for pumpkin puree and added some cream cheese for extra creaminess.  The toppings were stolen from a delicious pumpkin pasta recipe that my sister once gave me: bacon, wilted spinach, caramelized red onion, and chevre.  Paired with a homemade pizza crust it was amazing!

And finally, the dessert.  A classic pumpkin pie with maple glazed pecans and a slump of soft-whipped cream.  So delicious! And seriously, everyone should maple glaze all the nuts they have in the house right now.  It's the easiest thing in the world!  If only I had known sooner...

Pumpkin Harvest
(From LCBO Food and Drink)
1 oz. spiced rum
1/2 oz. amaretto
1/2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
1/4 cup whipped cream
2 oz. milk (or cream, but I prefer it a little lighter)
Dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake sharply and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pumpkin pizza
Your favorite pizza dough recipe
Equal parts pumpkin puree and cream cheese
Wilted baby spinach
Fried bacon
Caramelized red onions

This one is pretty self explanatory.  To make the sauce, blend pumpkin puree with room temperature cream cheese, and salt and pepper to taste (I may have splashed in a little balsamic vinegar).  Spread on pizza crust.  Distribute toppings evenly.  Bake in a preheated 500C oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the crust thickness.  This is one HOT oven!! 

Maple glazed pecans
Place approximately 2 cups pecan pieces onto a non-stick frying pan over medium heat with 1/3 cup maple syrup.  Heat until pecans are toasted and syrup caramelizes (about 3 minutes).  Seriously, it's that easy!

Top your favorite pumpkin pie, or vanilla ice cream... or just pop in your mouth as a snack! 

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