Showing posts with label pumpkin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pumpkin. Show all posts

08 November 2008

Low-Carb, Crustless Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Crustless Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie

 The act of coming home is the greatest small joy I know. So it has been since I was a child.

When we lived on Main Street all those decades ago, I would often come home at 3:15 on Indian Summer afternoons to find my mother hanging laundry to dry in our vast backyard, or removing a batch of cookies from the oven in the sunny yellow kitchen.

She was young and vigorous and full of life then. I so vividly remember finding her in the back yard on a particular balmy fall afternoon, romping with my baby brother on a blanket. We have photographs of that afternoon, and it remains memorable to me because my mother had been to the drugstore down the street and the market, and had returned with a pumpkin, a bag of chocolate, and two eye masks, one black and one turquoise.

“Halloween is coming, and we’re getting ready,” she told me, and I was delighted. At six, I was just developing an idea of the yearly round and what it meant as the seasons shifted and were marked with rituals and celebrations.

On this day and others like it, the inside front door of our home would remain open, letting in the cool autumn air as the sun slipped down into the west and the shadows of dusk set in. I can still hear the sound of early-evening traffic outside, and the clanging of pots and pans as my mother prepared supper. Our Craftsman bungalow was small and cozy and no room was any great distance from another. I still like this proximity in a home.

These days, I return home much later, and my routine is different: Get the mail, check the e-mail and phone messages, change into jeans, and think about supper. In cool seasons, I turn up the furnace, and in warm weather, I open the windows.

One thing has not changed: I want a snack to tide me over until supper, which is eaten rather late at our house, at least by American standards.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways to pair pumpkin with chocolate. Since it’s gray and blustery today; I don’t want to go out. So I used what I had on hand to make this crustless, low-carb Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.
  • 1/2 cup baking mix
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash pumpkin pie spice
  • dash salt
  • ½ cup melted unsweetened chocolate, cooled, or chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350. Blend dry ingredients in large bowl and set aside. In a second bowl, blend chocolate syrup or melted chocolate with sour cream, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla. Gradually fold into dry mix. When mixture is smooth, pour into greased pie plate or square baking dish and bake for 45 minutes until the pie is firm, but not hard. Chill before topping with cream cheese frosting.

A day later, the dessert is firm and flavorful, and tastes richer than it did a few hours after I made it. You may have to adjust the sugar, depending upon our preference. I like a dessert that is not too sweet.

25 November 2007

Spicy Pumpkin Pots de Creme

This time of year when the skies darken early and temperatures suddenly plummet, it is a relief to come in from the cold at dusk.

But driving home from work in a warm car is not the same as walking home in the late autumn chill after a day of school.

In those days, the warmth would hit me like a surprise, even though I knew it waiting was on the other side of the back door. The Arts and Crafts bungalow of my childhood did not have a mudroom, so I entered the cheery kitchen from a back porch, flung my books down and lunged for whatever was on the table.

If my father was at home, it would be gingerbread or maple fudge. My mother preferred making chocolate or peanut butter cookies. No one ventured into more exotic sweets in those days. No pistachio-cranberry tea cakes or dark chocolate fudge with sea salt topping or lemon-lime muffins in tiny tins.

Truthfully, it did not matter what the after-school treat was, for it made the kitchen smell so good and provided a sugar high before supper, which was never as early as it was at my friends’ houses. Graham crackers with peanut butter were as welcome as from-scratch treats.

It was bloody cold here today. I had no intention of leaving the house in the afternoon as the weak sun sunk lower in the sky, having finally braved the crowds in the morning, much to my regret. Instead, I stayed inside and puttered, and by suppertime, my kitchen smelled of Spicy Pumpkin Pots de Crème, adapted from a recipe on the Website of the newly resurrected Victoria magazine.

This was the dessert I meant to make on Thanksgiving. My first taste of it – or something very much like it – was at a local restaurant six or eight weeks ago. I left vowing to try to replicate it.

Spicy Pumpkin Pots de Crème
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • one tablespoon grated chocolate
  • pinch fleur de sel grains
  • 10 egg yolks

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Using a whisk, blend milk, pumpkin, sugars, vanilla, chocolate, salt and spices in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from heat just as mixture begins to boil. Set aside.

Separate eggs, and whisk yolks, forcing through a strainer and then adding to the saucepan gradually. When thoroughly blended, pour into six small pots de crème. Set pots de crème into a larger baking dish and add water. Water should reach about halfway up the sides of the pots.

Bake for 40 minutes, until firm. Chill before serving. I grabbed a chocolate morsel and grated it for topping.

I added the grated chocolate to the pumpkin mixture for the same reason I always add a bit of instant coffee and some cinnamon to hot chocolate: To provide richness. There are few dishes that are not enhanced by a bit of chocolate.

These pots de creme would make a lovely winter holiday dessert, but they are far too sweet and rich for frequent consumption.