Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Pie with Spiked Scotch-Caramel Sauce

Makes one 9" pie! My favourite pie in the whole wide world, topped with a delicious caramel sauce!

Pumpkin Puree:
  • 2 small pie pumpkins

 Preheat oven to 375F. Place whole pumpkins in the over, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool.

Split pumpkins in half, remove seeds and scoop out pulp.

Puree the pumpkin pulp in a food processor until smooth.

Pie Dough:

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold, in small cubes
  • Water (about 1/4 cup)

Make the pie dough by combining the flour and salt in a bowl.

If you have one, use a pastry cutter to cut the flour into the butter until pebbly.

Slowly add water, about a tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when you press it between your fingers.

Wrap it up in cling wrap, and refrigerate.

Pumpkin Filling:

  • Pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • pumpkin pie spices (whatever floats your boat... I hate cloves, so I omit those)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

For the filling, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, spices, sugar and evaporated milk. Blend until well mixed.

I don't pre-bake my pie crusts. I don't like really crunchy pie crust. Roll out the pie dough, in between two layers of parchment paper, and transfer to a pie pan. I didn't photograph this part, it got a little ugly. I was thinking to myself, "real bakers would keel over if they saw how I'm putting this crust together". Whatever!

Pour in the pumpkin filling, and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Scotch-Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Scotch
  • 2 tbsp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  Bring whipping cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add sugar, and cook, stirring frequently for 5-6 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, scotch and vanilla.

Serve pie with whipping cream and Scotch-Caramel Sauce (that is, if there is any left after you've discovered just how delicious the sauce can be!) 

Time to go enjoy the night with my kids! Happy Hallowe'en!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

Saw these on Pinterest, they're from Will Cook for Friends.

Took a while to figure out how long to cook the design before adding the rest of the batter. My kids DEVOURED them as fast as I cook whip them up.

Try them!

Tubes in January

Little Bean had her follow-up ENT appointment today, and it's decided that she will have surgery in January to place tubes in her ears to drain the fluid. Finally!!

I'm not actually looking forward to the surgery, and I'm sure I'm going to be anxious, and they've promised me they will keep her in ICU overnight, but at least we'll be hopefully fixing her hearing problems.

We also saw Respiratory today, and they're keeping things status quo. We need to keep Ellie on the sats monitor throughout the winter (this is different from what they said before), and they said it is likely bipap will be necessary if she gets sick. They were all blown away by how much she's grown, how mobile she is, and most of all how much her face has changed in the time she's been off bipap.
We are going to continue with monthly at home sleep studies, and it's likely we'll do a couple formal sleep studies before spring. Keeping in true Ellie fashion, they've never seen a child present with the kind of breathing issues she has, and they're not sure what to make of it. In any case, we're getting flu and RSV vaccines, keeping up to date with her immunizations and doing as much as we can to make sure that getting sick doesn't exacerbate her issues.

No height or weight check today, but they said based on looking at her that she's perfect.

Chicken Casserole

This was the same idea as the Sausage Casserole. I browned the chicken while the veggies were roasting, and used Greek seasoning instead of the Italian!
Out of the oven!

Onto the plate!

Kid Approved!

St. Honore Practice Run

99% of the time, I don't bother with trial runs on recipes. I am very good at winging it, and having things come out surprisingly well. This is the 1% of the time where I wouldn't trust bringing this to a dinner party without first testing it out. As an added bonus, I'm a little crazy about cream puffs, and that's essentially what a St. Honore is. My grandmother hails from France, and I must have picked up my sweet tooth from that side of the family, because French desserts are my weakness.

It's actually not that complicated, if you like making dough. Basic pie dough for the crust, and a cooked dough for the puffs.

What you need:

Puff Pastry:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
Small pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Cream Filling:
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk

4 egg whites
3/4 cup berry sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
4 egg yolks

Caramel Syrup:
3/4 cup berry sugar
1/4 cup water

How to:
I cheated, and used a frozen pie crust. I cut off the edges, leaving just a disc of dough. Forgot to prick with a fork. Will do that next time!

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine water, butter and salt in a saucepan. Heat on high, until the butter is melted. Add the flour, and stir until a dough forms. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Spoon mixture into a ziploc bag (or piping bag) fitted with a piping coupling.
Put the pie base on a sheet of parchment paper, and pipe a 1-inch wide rim around the pie base. Pipe out the rest of the pastry dough into small puffs. I've learned that shape matters when you're piping. The balls puff up, but take on their piped shape. Good thing I made extras...(yum!)

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375F, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. DON'T open the oven to check. Peek through the window. I remember watching some baking show that said the fluctuation in temperatures from opening the oven door will affect the puffiness of the pastry.
When puffy and lightly browned, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Cream Filling:

Combine egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk until mixture is pale yellow and smooth.
Add flour and mix until fully incorporated.

Add the milk, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

 You need to stir the whole time, because this filling will thicken up really quickly! I was surprised at how thick it got.

Remove from heat, and add the vanilla bean paste. Allow to cool.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, and fold into the cooled filling mixture.

Stuffing the Puffs!
Fit a piping bag with a medium plain tip. Spoon the filling into the piping bag. Pierce the side of each cream puff with the piping tip, and squeeze in the filling. Once the puffs are filled, pipe the remaining filling into the middle of the pie crust.

Caramel Syrup:
Combine sugar and water in small heavy saucepan.
Boil over medium heat.

 Cook until syrup turns amber in color. REMOVE FROM HEAT!! Caramel continues to cook even off heat, so it's better to remove from heat as soon as it starts changing colour. I was distracted by an earthquake, and my caramel syrup looked fine when I took it off the heat, but it continued to cook when I removed it from heat, and it tasted burnt. Boo!
Super carefully dip the bottom of a cream puff into the syrup. Carefully place onto the rim of puff pastry.  Repeat until ring is covered. I didn't know that if I had waited for the syrup to cool, it would have been easy to drizzle it on top of the cake in thread-like strands. I just poured the sauce on top. I think it's going to be hard to cut at coffee this afternoon!

Dip the rest of the cream puffs in the caramel syrup, and allow the caramel to cool. EAT! (Or don't... I think I ate over a dozen...)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cleaning up the Pantry (and Fridge)

I have been putting off reorganizing my baking pantry for a loooong time. It is It was a total disaster before I decided to buckle down today and tidy it up.

Before (hangs head in shame):

After a lot of decluttering:

And, I cleaned out the fridge while I was on a roll, and added some plastic placemats as liners in the fridge. Thanks, Pinterest, for the inspiration.

While taking these photos, wee girl posed for the camera. Where did the time go? She's getting big!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sundried Tomato Turkey Meatballs over Spaghetti Squash!

Winging it on a glass of white wine!

I have turkey that I need to use, as well as some sour cream, and half a spaghetti squash (leftover from the lasagna).

I am going to attempt to make turkey meatballs!

I'm using:
One package of sundried tomatoes (about 100g)
5 garlic cloves
1lb ground turkey
1/4 Panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1 large can whole tomatoes
1/2 a large spaghetti squash
Chipotle seasoning (I'm really into Sexy Spices at the moment)
Grated Hard Cheese

Pulse the sundried tomatoes and garlic cloves together in a food processor and separate into two bowls. Set aside.

Combine turkey, one bowl of the sundried tomatoes, ¼ cup bread crumbs, an egg, a few dashes of chipotle seasoning,  salt, pepper, and some parmesan cheese. 

Mix well, and roll into balls, by hand and place on a plate

In a large pan, heat the second bowl of tomatoes until the incredible tomatoey smell makes its way up your nose. 
Add a can of whole tomatoes, and bring to a bowl, smushing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the meatballs, and simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t stir too much, or the balls won’t hold their shape. 

Check on the squash to make sure it is coming along and not burning. Have another glass of wine (oh wait, that's me!)

When the sauce starts cooking down, add a cup of sour cream and mix well. At this point, I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried… but, I did a taste test, and it’s GOOD!

Pull the squash out of the oven, and shred the pulp into the sauce pan. 
Mix, and serve! 

There was quite the positive running commentary at dinner tonight!
"The meatballs are so good"
"It’s good to the last bite"
"This is some good home cooking!"

Seriously, nothing I’ve made recently has been this deeeelicious. I had seconds. I never have seconds. DH had thirds!!!!

Try this recipe. You won’t be sorry!