Pumpkin Pots de Creme

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custards & pudding / desserts & sweets / fall / In the Garden / In the Kitchen / Uncategorized
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I‘m not much for the pumpkin spice hype that comes in play at the first sign of frost. I am however, a pumpkin fiend. I love it sweet, I love it savory. With butter, as butter, warm and spicy; it brings me joy. While we have ripe pumpkins coming off the vine this early September, I’m not quite ready to jump head first into pie mode. This time of year, when it is warm during the day, but the sunrise and set are accompanied by a slight chill, I make custard. Not quite a pudding, pots de creme are a perfect spotlight for a delicate blend of spices and rich pumpkin puree. Something quite important when making these….you must not overcook. Pull these out of the oven before they are fully set.

Pots de Creme
(makes 5-6)

1 cup pumpkin puree
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk {i use goat milk}
generous pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
generous pinch cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg
whipped cream -for serving

If using fresh pumpkin puree, make sure it is very smooth. Set aside. Whisk {either by hand or with electric mixer} eggs and brown sugar until the sugar is completely melted and the eggs seem lighten in color and thicken a bit. Heat the milk, cream and salt in a saucepan until bubbles just start to form. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg until well incorporated. You are tempering the eggs with the hot milk. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and the spices. Run through a sieve into a spouted measuring cup. Use a spatula to scrape as many pumpkin solids as possible through the sieve. Give a good stir.

Pour into oven safe cups or small ramekins. This is meant to be served and eaten in small portions; think demitasse cups, tea cups, small bowls or ramekins. 4-6 ounces each.

Allow any air bubbles or foam to subside. Remove any remaining foam by skimming with a spoon.

Place in a cake pan or casserole dish. Place in an preheated 325F oven. Once in the oven, prepare a bain marie: pour enough hot water in the pan {careful to avoid getting water into the custard} to reach about halfway up the side of your custard cups. The bain marie will help to keep a constant temperature on the custard.

The length of time in the oven depends on the size of your baking vessel. Begin checking at 12 minutes. Tap the cup or bowl and look for gentle ripple (like that of a pebble in a pond). If you have a gentle ripple, then go ahead and remove from oven and allow to cool to warm in the water bath. If the custard isn’t quite done, continue to check every few minutes. If you check on them and they are completely firm, remove from the water bath immediately.

Do not put in the refrigerator hot, but place in the fridge once only slightly warm. Allow to chill completely and serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream

A properly cooked pots de creme is creamy, almost mousse like and silky. Once overcooked it can be a bit grainy and have an eggy flavor to it. Undercooked will result in a runny custard.

Coconut Frozen Yogurt

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churned & cultured / desserts & sweets / ice cream / In the Dairy
coconut frozen yogurt

I‘m going to tell you a secret.  Frozen yogurt is supposed to taste like yogurt that is frozen. It isn’t supposed to taste like sweet cream, or air.  It is a rule that a nation of serve yourself fro-yo stores doesn’t know. Allegedly.

Because we have dairy goats, this recipe uses goat yogurt, but you can substitute with cow or sheep as you like.  The end result has a yogurt tang to it…which is intentional.  It tastes lightly sweet, very creamy and very coconutty.

Enjoy!

 

Coconut Frozen Yogurt

3 cups plain {unsweetened} yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup coconut flakes {sweet or unsweetened–your choice}
1 1/2 cups coconut cream
1/4 tsp coconut extract {optional}

Heat the coconut cream, sugar and coconut flakes in a saucepan until just simmered and the sugar has melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir into the yogurt and add the coconut extract, if using. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours. Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacture’s instructions.

Italian Fig Cookies {cucidati}

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brownies & cookies / desserts & sweets / In the Kitchen
fig3

To be honest this is more of a st. joseph’s day treat than a christmas one but truth be told they are good any time of year. Be warned this is not a fig newton facsimile. These are spicy and heady; filled with riches wrapped in a buttery italian pastry called pasta frolla. My presentation isn’t typical either. These are typically rolled in a tube-shape and cut in sections. On a cookie tray I find them to stay fresher longer, when presented like this.

italian fig cookies
cucidati

pasta frolla
4 cups flour
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter–cold and cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
using a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt a few times to ensure fully mixed. drop in the butter and pulse until the butter has incorporated completely turning the mixture into a powder. add the eggs and vanilla and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball. remove and wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

filling
12 oz dried figs (i use calimyrna)
1/2 cup currants or raisins
zest of 1 orange finely grated
1/3 cup blanched, slivered almonds–toasted
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate–cut into pieces or chips
3 heaping Tablespoons apricot preserves
3 Tbs dark rum
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
light pinch ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
egg beaten with a bit of water for egg wash
powdered sugar glaze or royal icing for decoration
sprinkles for decoration

If the figs are hard and dry, place them in a bowl of hot water to soften, drain and then proceed with recipe. Dice the figs and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to fully incorporate. place the entire mixture in the food processor, fitted with steel blade and pulse until you have a paste. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Roll the dough out to 1/4″ and cut with a small round, plain or scalloped cookie cutter. Place just a small bit of fig on top of half the cutouts. Brush a bit of egg wash with a brush on the outer edge of the dough. Place a second piece of dough on top and press with tines of fork or toothpick to seal. Brush top with egg wash. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. You have to watch to see that they don’t burn, you want them just starting to brown on the bottom. When cool, leave plain or drizzle a bit of powdered sugar glaze (powdered sugar and milk to a runny consistency), or royal icing and add a few sprinkles.