Tag Archives: dessert

pumpkin ice cream

so, as if you didn’t already have enough ways to overindulge this holiday season, let me add another to the pot. i first made this ice cream last year about this time. i liked it so well that i made it 3 more times. in a row. like as soon as i ran out, i had to have more. it’s a nice treat during the holidays because it can (and must) be made ahead of time. it’s kinda nice to know that if all else fails in the meal, at least there’s this beautiful, silky, pumpkiny concoction waiting dutifully in the freezer.

i need to keep it short this time so i can get back to planning my thanksgiving meal, but i will say that if you’re feeling frisky, you can substitute some of the cream with pumpkin ale. it’s real good.

pumpkin ice cream (makes 1 quart)

adapted from williams-sonoma

1 cup fresh pumpkin puree* or canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream (substitute 1/2 cup pumpkin ale -i used dogfish ale punkin ale- for 1/2 cup of heavy cream if desired)

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

5 egg yolks

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

a pinch or a few gratings of fresh ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp bourbon (substitute with more pumpkin ale, if using above)

a handful of good quality gingersnaps

in a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and vanilla. set aside in fridge for a few hours so that flavors have a chance to influence each other.

in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, gently heat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup brown sugar. cook into bubbles form around edges of mixture, about 5 minutes. watch closely-do not let boil!

meanwhile, in a bowl combine together egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, , nutmeg, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream (or pumpkin ale!) and 1/4 cup brown sugar. whisk until well combined.

remove cream mixture from heat. gently mix about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. (and guess what, fancy pants? you are tempering your eggs! who knew?) pour egg mixture into pan of cream and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it coats the back of the spoon, about 4-6 minutes. carefully (it’s hot!) draw a line through mixture on back of spoon-it should leave a clear trail. again, do not boil! pour through a fine mesh strainer or sieve to remove any lumps.

place the bowl into a larger bowl of ice water to cool mixture quickly, stirring occasionally to cool more quickly and prevent a ‘skin’ from forming. once cooled, add pumpkin mixture and stir until well-combined. cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface of mixture. refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but honestly, you will have the best results if you can chill it 12-24 hours.

transfer your custard to your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. add bourbon or pumpkin ale, if using, during last few minutes of churning. place in freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 3-4 hours and up to a week. serve with crumbled gingersnaps on top!

* to make fresh pumpkin puree, cut 1 large or 2 small sugar pumpkins (do not use regular field or carving pumpkins) into large chunks or quarters; remove stems. roast in shallow pan, cut sides down, with a little water on the bottom in 400 degree oven until tender, about 1 hour. when cooled, remove skins, seeds and stringy material. push through a sieve or food mill. freeze any leftover puree in a plastic bag with air removed. recipe states can freeze up to 2 months, but honestly, if you freeze correctly, it will keep for up to a year!


Filed under desserts

meyer lemon curd tart and learning to let go


cooks are delicate creatures. and cooking is serious business. this might not come as a surprise to you but those who love to cook, as a group, have a high incidence of bruised egos. and just like with any other artistic endeavor, it’s not usually other’s that can accomplish this. no, it usually comes from within–we are our own worst critic. add in a bad day at work and attempting to make a tart crust, not to mention my stubborn taurean ways, and you’ve got the perfect storm. 

learning how to make a proper pie or tart crust. initial ingredients in food processor, determining how much more ice water to add:


after adding too much, then adding a bit more flour (and 20-30 minutes of hemming and hawing about it), i came up with this:


the recipe called for it to be ‘schmeared’ with the palm of your hand a few times, like this:


after allowing to rest for at least 30 minutes (made mine the day before, then let it sit out for 30 minutes or so), roll it out, adding more flour if it at all seems sticky:


then fold ‘er in half (or quarters) and place in tart pan. gently press dough into sides and bottom of pan, then roll pin over the top to cut off extra dough:


so far so good, right? top with foil and add pie weights. i have a jar of beans i keep in the pantry that i use over and over designated for this purpose only:


place in oven and start your blind baking. try not to attempt to take tart pan out of the oven from the bottom like i did. the crust will (and did) fall apart. after patchworking back together and browning for a few minutes more without foil:



all is lost, right? honestly, i was practically in tears as i stood over the 425 degree oven removing all the beans from the bottom of the scorchingly hot oven and attempting to put the crust back together. i thought about making another crust, but fought the urge. NOTE: THIS WAS VERY HARD FOR ME TO DO. 

although it sounds very exotic, making the lemon curd was the easiest part of the whole process, especially if you’ve ever made pudding from a box when you were a kid–lots of stirring! pour in your curd:


i did end up having to devise a plan of action and i put a layer of foil between the tart pan bottom and sides (remember it’s a 2 piece tart pan) so my curd didn’t spill out all over the place –and it worked!


i placed the whole thing on baking sheet with sides, just in case. after baking, i let it cool for a bit after removing from oven because the curd is actually still quite loose when it comes out. then i cooled in the fridge for awhile (stiil in the tart pan due to the crust fiasco of 2009). it firmed up quite a bit and i was able to remove the side of the tart pan and make it look kinda pretty and beautifully wonky:


honestly, it tasted fabulous and i was glad for the experience. in fact, i made 2 more savory crusts following martha stewart’s pate brisee recipe (omitting the sugar) and they were beautiful.


meyer lemon curd tart (adapted from anne burrell)


for the pie crust:

  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons cold water

for the curd:

  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice*
  • 3 Meyer lemons, zested**
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pats

* for both the lemon juice and zest i used 5-6 lemons

** be sure to zest the lemons before you juice them. it is impossible to do this the other way around!

preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

for the dough:

put the butter, sugar, flour, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture has a grainy or coarse crumb consistency. it is important not to over process the dough or it will become tough. add ice water a few tablespoons at a time and pulse the food processor in between additions. check the consistency of the dough by clenching a small handful in your fist. if the dough stays together it is the proper consistency. if not, pulse the dough with a little more water. if it becomes too wet, add a pinch more flour or you can just add it on your board when you remove it from the food processor. when the dough has reached the proper consistency, dump it out on a clean work surface. using the heel of your hand, schmear the dough straight forward and roll it back with your fingertips. repeat this process 1 to 2 more times, dust with flour if needed. form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness, moving it around as you roll so it does not stick to your board. fold the dough in half, or in quarters in order to move it to the tart pan. lay the dough in the tart pan and unfold. gently press the dough into the sides of the tart pan by rolling a small scrap of dough into a ball and pushing it into the dough, or just use your knuckles or fingers. roll over the top edge of the tart pan with the rolling pin to cut the extra dough from the pan and create a crisp edge. cover the dough with aluminum foil and gently poke the foil into the side edges to fit the pan. this will help to keep the sides of the tart tall and straight as it cooks. refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. fill the tart shell with the dried beans and place in the preheated oven. bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the foil and beans and bake for 2 to 3 minutes more. remove the tart shell from the oven and cool. the dough should be golden and crisp.

preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

for the lemon curd:

in a bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs and salt and whisk to a homogeneous consistency. place in saucepan and bring to a medium heat. cook, whisking, constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes. remove from heat and whisk in the butter, 2 pats at a time until it’s incorporated and has a silky consistency. you may strain the mixture at this time if you prefer an absolute pure consistency, but i like the natural pulp and all in mine.

pour the lemon curd into the prepared tart shell and bake in the preheated oven until the lemon curd has set, about 15 minutes. let cool completely before cutting.

the original recipe called for a blueberry garnish but i didn’t feel it was necessary. decide for yourself.


Filed under desserts

be mine, bubba


i get all girly this time of year. suddenly pink and red are my favorite colors again, i heart hearts, and i make cupcakes. love is in the air. i’m not referring to the commercial-boxed candy-outrageously expensive flowers kind of love. but the sweet, homemade, and special kind that can only come from time spent making someone feel loved (see above photo, which really needs no explaining). this not only made me and everyone else who drove by smile, but i bet bubba felt pretty good about it, too.


i think it’s time to make some cupcakes, don’t you? i decided to try my hand at those perfectly retro beauties, red velvets. after you see how much food coloring is in them, you might cringe. but then, like me, you’ll probably eat them anyway. so bad yet….so good. i made them, then gave them away to everyone i knew. give ’em a try and spread the love.

red velvet cupcakes (adapted from “the confetti cakes cookbook” by elisa strauss)

try these with a glass of sparkling from these folks–it’s all good!

3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring*
1½ teaspoons  real vanilla extract
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar.

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. place cupcake liners in muffin pans.

2. whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

3. place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. beat in eggs one at a time. with machine on low, VERY slowly add red food coloring. (take care: it may splash.) add vanilla. add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

4. place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. beat for 10 seconds. this is super fun science-experiment cooking stuff!

5. fill cupcake liners about 1/2-1/3 full, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes. rotate pans 1/2 way through cooking (this is a good habit to get into while baking anything–it allows for anyone’s oven to provide even heat and doneness). let cool in pans for a few minutes. then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

* yes–it is a shocking amount of food coloring. i started to read the ingredients on the food color label, then decided not to so i could enjoy them. i have heard of other methods of getting the red hue (beets, strawberries) but i believe none are as effective.

yield: 30-35 cupcakes (or 3 cake layers).


cream cheese frosting

1 stick unsalted butter (12 TBSP), room temperature

1 block cream cheese (8ounces), room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2-3 cups powdered sugar

beat cream cheese and butter in a bowl with a hand mixer until fully combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. add vanilla. slowly add powdered sugar, about 1/2 at a time until desired sweetness. i highly recommend that you do NOT dump all the sugar in at once–it becomes too sweet (yes, there such a thing) fast. this is the cool thing about making your own food–you can control the quality of your ingredients and season or sweeten how you like! i ended up using about 2  1/2 cups to mine.

pre-baking (yes–they really are that red!):


and post-baking:



Filed under cake, desserts