Two years ago yesterday I made this post, and to date it’s my most popular post of all time. It didn’t garner a lot of attention when I stuck it up there, but daily it’s my most-visited, most-pinned item – by thousands. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. My second-most popular post of all time? Wattle fencing. Third? Cleaning your dishwasher. What is WRONG with you guys? You have seriously weird tastes.
So the Pie thought it would be fun for me to re-create the post to see if it’s just as good the second time, so here I go: but with way more pizzazz than the first time. HOLD ON TO YER BUTTS.
Making this for a second time, I’m reminded of how stupidly easy it is, which might be part of its allure. I mean, it feels like I’m making it out of a box, it’s so simple. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and spraying a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. I am doubling this recipe so don’t be alarmed by the sheer amount of pumpkin cake you see here.
Grab a large bowl and dump in 1 15oz can of unsweetened pumpkin purée. Crack in 4 eggs, tip in 1 cup vegetable oil, and plop in 1 cup sugar (I reduced this from the last recipe). Give it a thorough whirl with a whisk so it’s gloriously and uniformly orange. Next, in a whole other bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (that’s another small change from the last one).
Dump that flour stuff carefully into the pumpkin stuff and be thorough with the mixing again.
Smooth the batter (wasn’t that easy?) into your baking dish and shove it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Set that glorious orange cake on a wire rack to cool completely. Now you can whip together your amazing cream cheese frosting. I’m doubling the icing amount on this one because I believe that cream cheese icing is the greatest thing in the world and everything needs more of it (this is also why I reduced the sugar in the batter).
In the bowl of a mixer, plop 8oz/250g plain cream cheese that is room temperature (to avoid lumps) and 1/2 cup softened butter, with a few drops vanilla extract. Beat that smooth and then add in 2-4 cups icing sugar until it’s the consistency that you like.
Spread that amazingness generously on your lovely dark orange cake and EAT IT.
Thrifty me, I still had some cream cheese icing leftover from the General’s Spider-Man cake, so I used it on my second cake. It looks a little funny but it tastes just as good!
There’s a joke going around that you can tell it’s fall on college campuses because all the undergraduate girls are dressed in yoga pants, wearing Ugg boots, and hefting pumpkin spice lattes.
When I was in undergrad, yoga pants hadn’t yet become the lazy fashion statement they are today, Ugg was something you said when someone punched you in the stomach, and the pumpkin spice latte was just a twinkle in the eye of the corporate coffee giants. In fact, I have only recently discovered the pumpkin spice latte. AND IT’S AWESOME. Still, you’d have to pay me quite a bit of money to wear yoga pants outside the house these days …
Anyway, if you think that makes me seem old, let me tell you more. Back in the early nineties, when Starbucks was just starting to become trendy on the Canadian west coast, the latte was a new beverage to be reckoned with. My mother and I taught ourselves how to make them, just to see if we could (you see where I get it from?). We used one of these fantastic wee espresso pots. Total old school.
Now, I had not used my latte-making skills in over twenty years, until I was scrolling through my Feedly and came across Just a Smidgen’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix recipe. Upon finding this I knew that I had to dust off my skills (and my coffee maker) and git ‘er done! And if you’d like to grown-up-ify this recipe, try adding a bit of fall spirit!
The mix itself is super easy to concoct: stir together 4 tablespoons pumpkin pie purée (the plain stuff we keep on hand to feed to Gren), 3 tablespoons sugar (or the sweetener of your choice, adjusted to taste), 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (you can get My Baking Addiction’s recipe here), and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Shove that into a glass canning jar and chuck it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Now for the latte. If you’ve got a fancy espresso machine with a fancy milk foamer/steamer, then by all means go ahead and use that sucker. I don’t drink these things often enough to justify losing that much counter space to another machine, so I have my ancient espresso percolator, which is easy peasy to use. Just fill the bottom section up with water.
Then take the mesh cup and fill it with ground espresso.
Then screw on the top piece.
Plop it on the burner (if you’re using gas like me you’ll want to make the flames the same size as the bottom of the pot, else you may burn yourself horribly).
For each latte you want to serve, plop 2/3 cup milk (your choice as to what kind) in your steamer or in a small pot. Add in 1 heaping teaspoon of your pumpkin spice latte mix for each latte you are serving and whisk it in.
Heat the milk until it’s steaming (don’t let it boil or you’ll get skin), whisking to keep it frothy (or use your fancy machine).
Your espresso ready? Good. Add a couple shots to your mug. I’m feeling feisty so mine’s a double.
Add in your pumpkiny milk.
I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream on beverages, but if you want to get luxurious with this puppy you should add some to the top of this, sprinkled with a bit more pumpkin spice. And that’s it!
**EDIT: And if you’re feeling adventurous, I’ve just discovered that it makes a great addition to your morning porridge!**
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups brown rice flour with 2 tablespoons ground flax meal (optional) and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. It occurs to me after the fact that you could also use a mixture of brown rice flour and quinoa flour, seeing as quinoa is the new superfood for dogs these days. Very trendy of you.
In another bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs with 1 3/4 cups (or 1 14 oz can) of pure pumpkin purée (not the pie filling) and 1/4 cup peanut butter (all natural, with no added salt or sugar, please).
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until a shaggy dough forms — you may need to use your hands.
Sprinkle with more flour and stir that in if it’s still tacky.
Take the dough and form it into a small ball with your palms. Flatten it into a patty and place it on the baking sheet. Angle your thumb sideways on one side of the cookie and press it into the dough. Use the point of one of your fingers to make four indentations along the curve of your thumbprint. So it looks like a wee paw print. Cute, eh?
Bake for about 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookie. A finished cookie is crisp and dried out.
Allow them to cool completely on a rack and store them in the fridge to keep them fresh for a couple weeks. At room temperature in an airtight container they’ll keep for about a week.
Gren obviously enjoyed testing them. Here he is waiting for my okay.
Scarfing down the first piece.
Discovering the second.
Scarfing that one too.
Are there no more?
Gren was nice enough to share with some of my coworkers’ dogs, and this was the review:
Right. So. In my effort to effectively use all the pumpkin purée left over from our Pumpkin-Off, all 14 cups of it, we are starting to get sick of pumpkin (though the amount of fibre that has been added to our diet is extraordinary).
The solution? SOUP. Most pumpkin soup recipes call for a single can (a little less than 2 cups) of the stuff, but I’m just gonna giv’er and dump in the rest of what I got. BLAM. It came out to about 2 1/2 cups.
I don’t really feel like blending this soup, because the pumpkin is pre-puréed, so I’m just going to cut everything else up really small. It’s a really quick recipe, too, no need to simmer for a long time, so you can make it, say, just before lunch, and then eat it right away.
First I got my spices ready: minced garlic, a little bit of cumin, some curry, and a bit of chipotle.
And the incidentals: lemon juice (don’t mock my plastic lemon, it’s the best I can do in Newfoundland), chicken broth, and coconut milk.
Then my vegetables: three carrots, an onion, and a red pepper.
The carrots I scrubbed and grated with the skins still on. That’s good vitamins for ya.
The red pepper and onion I diced up.
In a large saucepan, then, heat up a bit of oliveoil on medium-highand toss in your onions. Cook those until they’re softened.
Then add in your cup o’spices, and stir that around for a minute or so.
Chuck in your grated carrot and diced pepper and stir that around as well, spritz it with lemon juice, then add in your coconut milk and stir until fully incorporated.
Add in the pumpkin finally (it was already cooked, so I didn’t want to overcook it), and pour in the chicken broth until you’ve reached a consistency that you like. Let that simmer for about 20 minutes and that’s it, you’re all done.
Season with salt and pepper, and a little more lemon if you like. At the eleventh hour I added a teaspoon ground cloves to boost the pumpkin.
This one came out a bit spicy, because I guess my curry was hotter than I had previously thought. I would recommend serving with a bit of yogurt or sour cream.
I get a lot of questions from readers I meet about my husband. The main one is, “why is he called the Pie?” Well, I’ll tell you why. And this goes back about nine or ten years, back when we had first met, and long before we started dating. It’s really a great story. I’ll tell it to you here:
One day, he told me that he really liked pie.
Yep. That’s the whole story. That’s why he’s called the Pie. And now you know. I hope you aren’t too disappointed.
Sometimes, the Pie’s favourite pie is blueberry. Sometimes it’s apple. I can’t keep track. But I know that pumpkin pie, even though it doesn’t qualify as a “true pie”, is at the top of my husband’s list of favourite pies. And now that I have sort of mastered the art of vodka pie crust, and especially considering the amount of pumpkin purée I have in my possession, it is a logical choice, and this recipe looks lovely. So here it is, a pumpkin pie that is so from scratch with its home-made pastry crust and fresh pure pumpkin that it’s almost like I made it entirely by hand-stitching individual atoms together (I can do that, you know).
So, now. It’s been a while since I made that vodka pie crust from Smitten Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated, so I think I’m going to lay it all out for you again, just so we both can get some practice. If you like, you can take some more of Smitten Kitchen’s tips on better pastry from her second tutorial. Like her, I’m not a fan of shortening, so I went with an all-butter version of the crust today. And this dough recipe makes enough dough for two single crusts, so I guess that means I HAVE to make two pumpkin pies. I will try to sneak one into the freezer so the Pie doesn’t eat it too fast. That way later on when he grumbles about having no more pie I can dramatically reveal that he is wrong. I like doing that.
For the pastry, you need to make sure everything is cold. If your kitchen is frigid, like mine, this is easy. For everyone else, just keep chucking stuff in the refrigerator if need be. Ingredients. Tools. Bowls. You name it.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt.
Cut 1 1/4 cup cold butter into cubes and make sure it’s cold (re-chill it after you cut it before adding it to the mix).
Dump that into the flour and use a pastry blender to chop it into tiny buttery-floury pieces. You want to keep going and going and going, using a knife to clean off your pastry blender occasionally, until you end up with a mixture that closely resembles cornmeal.
Put a dishtowel under the bowl to keep it from sliding around on you.
Here’s the right consistency. You still need whole chunks of butter in there but you want them small.
Drizzle 1/4 cup cold vodka (keep that baby in the freezer) and 1/4 cup ice water over the mixture.
Use a big rubber spatula and a folding motion to bring everything together.
You don’t want to stir so much as squish and squash everything into one big blob. It will be pretty tacky, but that stickiness will disappear when the vodka burns off in baking. You can use your hands to gently squish the remainder together, but don’t work it too much. If you feel you need to add more liquid, drizzle a bit more vodka onto it, but just a little.
Divide your blob into two even pieces and flatten them into disks. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap for at least 15 minutes, and for up to 2 days.
When your dough is sufficiently chilled, lay a piece of plastic wrap out on your work surface. Unwrap one of the disks (keep the other in the fridge) and place it in the centre of the plastic wrap. Place another sheet of wrap over top.
Working from the inside and moving out, use a rolling pin to flatten your disk into a nice round piece of pastry. You’ll need a rough circle of about 12″ in diameter to fit in a 9″ pie pan. Most plastic wrap is about 12″ wide, so you can use that as a guide.
Notice how you can see gobs of butter in my dough? That means I will have some lovely flaky pastry. As the butter melts it will leave a little open space, which will fill with steam from the vodka and water, which will in turn expand the empty space, making the proper pastry flake.
Chill your flattened pastry again for a bit. If you put it on a baking sheet and chuck it in the fridge you should be good. When you’re plopping it in your pie pan, make sure to remove the bottom layer of plastic wrap before rolling it over a rolling pin or folding it into quarters to place it in the pan. I’ve done both methods here, so you can see what I mean.
Gently lift the edges of the dough to make it easier to press into the bottom of the pan without tearing.
Trim off the excess pastry from the edges of the pan.
I used a fork to press the edges more firmly down onto the glass. Chuck those back in the fridge when you’re done.
I had some scraps left over from trimming, so I cut up a small apple, sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, and rolled out the scraps again to form a small circle.
I put the fruit on one half, folded it over, and pinched the edges shut. Then I put it in a sprayed pan and baked it with the pie.
For the pie filling, you need some pumpkin purée. You can be lazy and buy the stuff that already has the eggs and spices in it and whatever and just dump that in your pre-bought frozen pie shell but that’s just not cool here at Ali Does It. Make sure if you’re using canned pumpkin that it’s pure pumpkin, without the sugar and salt and all things spicy.
Now, you American folks are likely working from the 14 oz can of Libby’s or whatever it is you have. Fourteen ounces is about 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin goodness. Here in the FAR NORTH of Canada we have E.D. Smith pumpkin, which comes in 28 oz cans (~3 1/2 cups), so we generally use half a can for one pie, a whole can for two. And of course I’m working from a I-have-way-too-much-pumpkin-purée-in-my-fridge perspective. So I will be using that instead of the canned stuff.
Preheat your oven now, to 425°F and position a rack in the centre of the oven.
Beat up 4 eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in 3 1/2 cups pumpkin purée, 2 cans (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk (I believe some countries sell condensed milk in 400 mL cans — I would just use the whole can anyway for a slightly sweeter pie), 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
Take your pie shells out of the fridge and divide the mixture between them. You may end up with extra filling (lord knows I always do). I emptied it into a smaller pie pan and baked it as-is, for a sort of pumpkin pudding.
Chuck the pies (and whatever else you now have on the go) in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375°F and keep baking for about 35 more minutes, until the pastry is all golden and lovely and you can stick a knife in the centre of the pie and bring it out clean again (i.e. the filling has set). You can see that our crustless pie and the turnover turned out equally well, though with them in the oven everything took an extra 15 minutes or so to cook. Let the pie cool completely on a rack and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can heat it up again if you like. We enjoy ours with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. Yum!
Because we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters this year (or any year), I was able to take the pumpkins from our pumpkin-off and cut them up shortly after we carved them in order to make use of all that lovely pumpkin flesh. And I ended up, after hacking and cutting and boiling and puréeing, with 14 cups of usable pumpkin goo. So you’re going to get a lot of pumpkin recipes. I hope you like pumpkin.
I have never made crème brulée before. But for many years, the Pie and I were in possession of a tiny butane brulée torch. Then about two years ago I decided we were never going to make crème brulée and I got rid of it. And THEN, after doing that, I discovered how freaking easy they were to make. Yes, I did kick myself a little. Not to fret, though: you can do the bruléeing with the help of your broiler. It doesn’t do as even a job as a torch, so you have to rotate your ramekins while you’re doing it, but it does work. And this pumpkin crème brûlée from The Foodess looks too easy and too lovely to resist. In fact, way easier than regular crème brûlée. So we’re doing it.
Preheat your oven to 325°F and set a kettle of water on the boil. Find a large baking dish and eight 3/4 cup ramekins. You’ll note here I used four ~1 1/3 cup ramekins. You may need two baking dishes.
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups whipping cream to a simmer.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups pumpkin purée (the plain stuff, not the pie filling), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 5 egg yolks (save the whites for something awesome), 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, a sprinkle of salt, and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
Ever so slowly, dribble the hot cream into the pumpkin mixture and whisk it up.
Divide the mixture among your ramekins and place them in the baking dishes. Pour boiling water into the dishes until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Then pop that in the oven, middle rack, and bake for about 35 minutes (with my larger ramekins I baked mine for 55 minutes), until the centres of the puddings are just set.
Transfer the puddings to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then chuck them in the fridge for at least two hours. You can make these the day ahead, and you can even freeze the chilled ramekins to eat later. Just wrap them up carefully before freezing.
Just before serving, you can take the puddings out of the fridge (or freezer) and sprinkle the tops of each with about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (the plain white stuff works best for caramelizing). If you’ve got one, use a brûlée torch to quickly and evenly caramelize the sugar and then serve immediately.
I didn’t have a brûlée torch (see above(, so I used my broiler. Thing is, even if you move the puddings around under the broiler (easier said than done), they still don’t caramelize evenly. So I had some charred spots and some spots that were hard and crackly, but not brown. Not to mention that all that time under the broiler heated up the pudding itself, which is supposed to be served cold. Alas. But they were still super tasty, with a nice crackly top, despite what this picture may be telling you.
The Pie is a huge, HUGE fan of muffins. Not really sure why. But he is. And he requested that with the massive amounts of pumpkin purée we have that I make up some pumpkin muffins. And I love the Smitten Kitchen so much that I knew I had to use her recipe for these delightful little things.
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with cupcake cups. I made these pre-Hallowe’en so the festive liners are TOTALLY justified.
In one bowl, use a whisk to mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I told you we were going to need it again soon!).
In yer other bowl, whisk together 1 cup pureed pumpkin (if you’re using a canned variety, make sure that it’s the pure stuff, not the stuff pre-mixed with spices), 2 eggs, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil. I also added in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Now pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and use that same whisk again until it’s fully combined. The whisk means that you can get all the ingredients all mixed in but you don’t have to worry about overmixing.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, so that each cup is about 3/4 full, and combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon to sprinkle over top.
Bake until they are lovely and puffy and gold and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the centre muffin comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
Let those sit in the pan on a rack for about five minutes before you transfer them out of the pan and directly onto the rack. Then you can go ahead and eat them.