Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

To my sweet, understanding readers:
I'll still be posting for a while, but I just won't be visiting you as regularly as usual. I'm moving the middle of November (a local move) and it's going to be a stinker 'cause I've lived here 35 years! Just imagine the accumulation of "stuff" after all these years. So be patient with me. I'll try to visit everyone off and on.
A fun fall treat follows. Kind of a trick to it too. :)

This recipe always seems to make the rounds every autumn. Have you seen it? It's been in my file forever; I never made it because I couldn't get my mind around the idea of using a cake mix. But if you can't believe Cathy at Noble Pig, who can you believe? She posted it years ago. If you've never tried it, trust me (and Cathy). It's really amazing, fast and everyone will think you spent the afternoon making it. The trick? Two ingredients. The treat part? Wait 'til you taste it!

Oh....and you might want to make extra glaze. Everyone will want to pour a little more over their slice as they eat it. It absolutely makes the cake.
I made it in a springform pan, but Cathy made it in a 7 x 11 x 2 inch rectangular pan. Whatever you want. Just adjust your baking time.....mine took a tad longer to cook. Be sure the cake tester comes out clean, but don't overbake.

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze
From Cathy at Noble Pig

For the Cake:
1 Yellow Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree

For the Glaze:
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Empty the contents of the boxed cake mix and pumpkin puree into your mixing bowl. ( You can do this by hand, but it's easier with a mixer.) Mix well.  The batter will be thickish.

Pour into a greased  7" x 11" x 2" pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Do not overbake.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, turn out onto your serving plate. Or cut into squares and serve that way.

Method for the glaze:
Combine powdered sugar, apple cider and pumpkin pie spice.  Glaze should be thick but pourable.  Add more sugar or cider if needed.  Pour over the cake while still warm.  Reserve some to pour over each slice when served.

Serve warm or room temperature.


Apple Pie Ice Cream

You didn't really think I was through making ice cream, did you? Even if I lived in the north country, I'd be making ice cream year round, but here in Florida, it's still hot. At least I used apples, with fingers crossed the arrival of fall might cool our weather just a little.

This is an interesting recipe. I took a look at the ingredient list and got to the last item and said HUH? Snickerdoodles? In the ice cream? Well, it was worth as try. Let me preface this by saying I am NOT an apple pie lover; apple crisp? Definitely. Pie, not so much. But you know me...I'll try any kind of ice cream.

The house smelled divinely fragrant of fall while I was cooking the apples. After leaving the apples and base in the fridge overnight, I put the apples and half the base in the processor the next day. It resulted in an ice cream base that had a slight texture. Rather interesting, actually.
After I churned it, I added the snickerdoodles. Even more texture. (And no, I didn't make them myself because I wasn't certain until the end I'd even use them. I bought Pepperidge Farm snickerdoodles. I was amazed
 they made them!)
What the snickerdoodle addition seems to do is add a pie crust element to the ice cream. Sounds weird, I know. I crumbled them up pretty good, but when you eat the ice cream, they're there in the background. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Apple Pie Ice Cream
From the Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 1 quart
Ingredients for the Apples:
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for the Ice Cream:
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1¾ cups heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped snickerdoodles

Cook the Apples: Combine the brown sugar and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add the apples and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the Ice Cream Base: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then whisk in 2½ tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt and remaining sugar over medium-high heat. When the mixture approaches a simmer, reduce the heat to medium.

Ladle some of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat once more. Using a rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Strain the base through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Set the bowl in an ice water bath and stir occasionally until cool. Cover and refrigerator overnight.

Churn the Ice Cream: When you’re ready to puree the ice cream, combine the cooked apples with the vanilla extract and half of the chilled custard base in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.

Combine the pureed mixture and the remaining custard base in the bowl of your ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chopped cookies during the last minute or so of churning, or fold them by hand when it has finished. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze.


Quiche Lorraine Scones

Well now. What can I say? Here's a scone chock full of all the scrumptious things people watching their calories shouldn't be eating! But once in a while.......
Quiche Lorraine has been a favorite in our family since we came upon the recipe in the original
Gourmet Cookbook, first released in the early 60's in two volumes. (I still have them.)
But Quiche Lorraine in a scone? How would that work? Quite nicely, as it turns out. Many thanks to Katie at Good Life Eats! How would you serve these? Breakfast? Brunch? Lunch? Dinner with a salad? 

Quiche Lorraine Scones
From Good Life Eats


2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
Dash nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, diced
½ cup half-and-half
2 eggs
4 ounces Swiss cheese, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
7 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Prepare the bacon, onion and cheese. Toss these ingredients together with 1 teaspoon flour; set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is pea-size. ( I did this step in my food processor) With a fork, lightly beat the eggs and half-and-half and add to the flour mixture. Add the bacon, onion and cheese mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough to ¾ to 1-inch thick and cut using 3-inch biscuit cutter (for large scones) or cut into squares or triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.


Pear Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Another pear recipe. I hope you don't mind, but I adore pears; along with apples, they remind me of fall, something we don't see a lot of in South Florida, so I make lots of apple, pear and pumpkin recipes this time of year. Just to get in a fall mood, you understand. 

A few years ago, I made and posted a fabulous chilled pear soup with goat cheese fritters which called for Poire William in the recipe. I was hooked on this sweet pear liqueur and this recipe provided a perfect opportunity to use it again. I added it to the pears when they were stewing.

These cupcakes were sooooooo good. Company perfect. I froze most of them so I wouldn't pig out! And then I found myself dipping into the freezer. Bad me. And I'm dieting too.  :(
I found them on Pinterest and the recipe seems to have come from Jaime via TasteSpotting.

Pear Spice Cupcakes
Adapted slightly from TasteSpotting

2 ripe pears, peeled and cut in chunks
1 heaping tablespoon Poire William (optional)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine pear chunks and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears soften and break apart. You can help them along by smashing them with a potato masher, or just cook until they get soft on their own. Measure out 3/4 cup of pear sauce and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, the remainder of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar. Mix on high until light and fluffy. Add in egg, and beat well. Add in vanilla, and beat on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Mix in sour cream.
In a small bowl, combine spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in reserved pear sauce. Divide evenly among the paper liners and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcakes comes out clean.

(My father used to say: "Have a little cupcake with your frosting, Barbara.")  


Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.


The Final Chocolate Chip Cookie Chronicle

This is the last of my cc cookie experimenting. But I learned some lessons from the first chronicle. This time, to get picture perfect cookies,  I made them in tart rings! (One of the comments on the first cc post suggested muffin tins to get that perfect shape.) Of course, you can make these cookies the regular way and they still taste divine.
This recipe is another of Valerie's...again using browned butter, but this time she also added cinnamon and coffee to her dough. Brilliant. (I'm beginning to think Valerie is the cc cookie queen and this time, while her cookies were beautiful, they looked like regular cc cookies and the ones I made look round and perfect. Fun to try, but a lot of bother to get a pretty photo for you.) 

But back to flavor, which is what really counts, right? Well, these cookies were FABULOUS. Moist and chewy inside. Crisp on the outside. The cinnamon, coffee and brown butter make such a great flavor team that I'm never going to make another cc cookie without them. I did make one minor change. I didn't have chocolate chips, so I used some bittersweet chocolate I had left over and just broke it into smallish chunks. This recipe also requires an overnight rest in the fridge. J
ust to test the overnight rest theory, I made a few of the cookies right after mixing. They were good, but there's no question, the dough just works better after the 24 hour wait in the fridge.
I'd even love these without the chocolate. Is that sacrilegious?
My cookies baked in 10 minutes, so be sure to check on them.

Cinnamon and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Valerie at Une Gamine dans la Cuisine


16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 generous teaspoons of ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup tightly packed, light brown sugar (you can use dark, too)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of strong, brewed coffee, cooled to room temp.
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
12 oz bag of chocolate chips

Place the butter into a medium-size saucepan. Over medium heat, cook the butter until melted, and browned. As the butter is cooking, use the handle of saucepan to swirl it around and prevent burning. As the butter browns, it will start to become frothy, as soon as the froth dissipates, keep a close eye on the butter. It should have a lovely nutty fragrance and the bubbles will be deep golden brown. (The browning process can take about 5-9 minutes.) As soon as the butter is ready, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the butter to a heat-proof bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon; Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (any large mixing bowl will work if you're using a hand-held), beat together the browned butter, and both sugars on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth (about 7 minutes).Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and coffee (or milk, if using). Beat on medium speed to combine.On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, beating just until they're incorporated into the wet.Use a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours. 
When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. [You want it soft enough to scoop.] Preheat the oven to 375 F. and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure out about 1/4-cup of dough per cookie, and place them on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2-inches of space between each mound of dough. [Valerie's Note: Because I'm neurotic about everything being neat and tidy, I rolled the mounds of dough into balls and lightly pressed each one down with my palm. I don't think this necessary, but don't feel bad it you're as twitchy about free-form circles as I am. My note: I rolled them in balls too, then pressed them into the center of a tart ring.] 

Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown. [Valerie's Note: My cookies were perfect after only 12 minutes. My note: my cookies were done in 10] Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. [Note: Don't worry if the centers look under-baked. They will firm up as the cookies cool off.]


Pistachio Torte with Pear Purée

Pears and pistachios. Super combo. So I thought I'd share a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Sweet Seasons, by Richard Leach. It's a brilliant cookbook with fabulous photography and composed desserts. When I make something from this book, I concentrate on three or four elements of his desserts and call it a successful day if I can make it look even half way as luscious as the book does. My most recent attempt is the the Pear and Pistachio Torte.

I really screwed up the genoise! Well, no, perhaps it wasn't me, but the recipe doesn't read correctly in the cookbook. It calls for dividing the genoise into two cake pans but then gives directions for slicing only one in three 1/4 inch pieces. I took one look at it, measured and decided it was impossible to do, so I ended up dividing each one in half and making four layers instead of three. Perhaps my genoise didn't rise enough? Never  mind, it tasted divine, made a lovely presentation and if you love pears and pistachios, you'll adore this cake.

Pear and Pistachio Torte with Roasted Pear Purée

From Sweet Seasons by Richard Leach

Pistachio Genoise:
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
1/2 cup pistachio flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Roasted Pear and Mascarpone filling:
1/2 cup roasted pear puree (recipe follows)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Roasted Pear Purée
5 bartlett pears
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons Pear Williams liqueur

Preheat oven to 325. Generously butter two cake 8 inch round cake pans. Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk over hot water until slightly warm. With an electric mixer, beat until fluffy and pale yellow, 8-10 minutes.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients and then the butter. Pour into the cake pans and bake 30 minutes or until golden and firm to then touch. Cool slightly in the pans, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. Easier to slice a cold cake.

Combine all ingredients, whisk until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the Pear Purée:
Preheat oven to 450. Peel, core and quarter the pears. Heat a heavy roasting pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add butter and pears. Roast for about 10 minutes until nicely browned. Add the honey and roast the pears until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove and deglaze the pan with the liqueur. Cool and purée in a food processor. Set aside.

Assemble the cake:
Slice the genoise horizontally into three 1/4 inch slices. (Huh? I divided each cake in half, horizontally.) Place one on the bottom, pipe in the mascarpone filling and continue until you have 3 (4) slices of genoise and two (three) layers of filling. Refrigerate 4 hours.
Cut the cake into 8 equal pieces, slice the rounded end of each so it will sit straight and serve in a pool of pear purée. (It looked to me as though Chef Leach made a crème anglaise as well, so I did too and poured it over the pear puree.) Scatter some grapes on the plate. 

Never forget.


Gruyère and Black Pepper Popovers

I think the best popovers around are served (gratis, yet) at Neiman Marcus restaurants. They're hot, huge, crisp on the outside, airy and eggy inside. Perfection. Served with their strawberry butter (which my daughter can't stand), I love 'em.
I've made popovers at home now and then and use a simple recipe I've had since the 60's...a very basic popover batter, a cold oven and then bake in high heat for 30 minutes. But I've been eyeing this recipe for a while, had some leftover 
Gruyère, so I made them. Warming the milk was a little different as was leaving the Gruyère in chunks rather than grating it.
But I must admit, they're really good. The Gruyère kind of melts all around inside (and some outside) the popover. You've got to serve them right out of the oven; once cold, like all popovers, they're boring, boring, boring.

Gruyère and Black Pepper Popovers

From Tasting Table, adapted from Jodi Elliott, Foreign & Domestic Food & Drink, Austin

2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, cut into 16 small cubes, plus freshly grated cheese for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the bottom third. Place 2 muffin pans (or enough to make 16 popovers) in the oven to warm.
In a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until it is hot (about 125°) but not boiling. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and black pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in the warm milk. Add the flour and whisk until the batter is just combined. (It may be slightly lumpy.)
Remove the muffin pans from the oven. Spray the pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly into each of 16 muffin cups. Set a cube of the cheese on top of the batter in each cup.
Bake the popovers until puffed and deep golden brown, about 40 minutes (do not open the door or they may collapse). Remove the popovers from the pans, sprinkle with the grated Gruyère and serve immediately. Makes 16.

Just look at that melted Gruyère inside! Yummmmmm.

Addendum: My DIL sent me this photo of my Michigan grandson's first day of kindergarten. He was excited and loved every minute of it. He told me about it via Face Time that night.
She cried. 


Dorie's French Apple Cake

We had a wonderful break in the islands but it's always nice to get home. South Florida doesn't get a
 huge change of season, but fall is beautiful and it always reminds me of apples. So....finally, ages after the French Fridays with Dorie group featured it, I made Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake. And still haven't tasted it! I had a temporarily housebound friend and she loves apples, so I made it for her. Photographed it before I delivered it of course, but I didn't slice a piece, deciding that would be extremely rude and frankly, they don't understand the food bloggers' obsession with photos anyway. So I depended on Elly and her visiting family to give me a tasting report. Her daughter said it was excellent but rich and Elly's comment was: "it was wonderful." Sounds good to me.

If you haven't made this already, you should. There's very little batter to cover the apples, which gave me pause, but it works beautifully. So I'm posting it and for those of you thinking this is
really old news, just skip this post. :) For those who haven't made this yet, the photo alone ought to sell the recipe...do you have the book? Of course you do. Doesn't everyone?

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake
by Dorie Greenspan, From Around My French Table

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it. 
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. 
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish. 
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes. 

Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish. 


The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène's served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination. 


The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, it's best not to cover it — it's too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces. 


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