Friday, September 27, 2013

Pudim Abóbora (Pumpkin Flan)

I am so excited to be in Brazil! And guess what, I'm still cooking! Yesterday, my lovely "Brazilian mom", Diane and I made this flan. We had no idea how it would turn out as we just kinda threw things in. It was so much fun, and to make it even better, it turned out amazing!!! It tasted just like a pumpkin cheesecake and wasn't too sweet. I can't wait to try out all the new and different foods they have here. I almost passed out with excitement when we went to the grocery store :) I can't wait to go back when I'll have more time!

Pudim Abóbora (Pumpkin Flan)

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup of heavy cream (or one box of crema de leite)
5 oz cream cheese
6 eggs
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar (for caramelizing)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small skillet, over low heat, melt the sugar. Stirring constantly so it won't burn, smooth out all the lumps until it turns a deep golden color. Once sugar is melted, pour into a round cake pan or traditional flan mold. Set aside

In a blender, combine remaining ingredients. Once blended, pour over the top of the melted sugar. Place cake pan in an water bath and bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for several hours. Once cool, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen flan. Place a large plate on the open end of the cake pan and flip quickly so the flan will land nicely on the plate. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

7-Layer Pumpkin Bars

Before I head off to Brazil I thought I'd do one last post! My AMAZING friend Michelle came over yesterday and we made these heavenly pumpkin bars. She heads off today as well to start her new job in Chicago! Congratulations Michelle and best of luck to you! She is a wonderful person to bake with. We had such a great time welcoming in fall with these deliciously, gooey bars. I think I honestly prefer them to the usual 7-layer magic bars! You won't regret making them.

7-Layer Pumpkin Bars

Adapted from Bakers Royale


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 whole crackers)
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 11 oz. golden delicious apples, shredded (about 2 regular size apples)
  • 11/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup roasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips



Heat oven to 350 degrees. Create a foil sling with a 1 inch over hang for a 9x13.
  1. Combine graham crackers and butter  and stir until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom of pan
  2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.
  3. Peel and core apples. Use the large side of the  grating box to shred the apples. Layer shredded apples on the sweetened sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, followed by the almonds and then finish by sprinkling coconut on top.
  4. Place assembled pan in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes. Let cool in pan completely and then transfer finished pan to the refrigerator to chill before cutting.

A few notes:
  • You can easily switch out the pumpkin for apple butter to keep the fall flavor.
  • I used roasted pecans for the nut portion, but feel to switch that out to any nut that suits your preference.
  • The apples are not necessary, but again, I added them to scale back the sweetness and to add a slight fruity bite.
  • If you like your bars thick, use a 8x8 and bake for 35-45 minutes

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

IT'S PUMPKIN SEASON AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if y'all recall my obsession with pumpkin last fall...but yeah, it's back. As soon as we got back from our family trip I popped open a nice lil' can of pumpkin to have my favorite breakfast: pumpkin oatmeal. GAH! It's one of the best comfort foods. Try it. Now that I'm experiencing the chill of fall here in Washington, baking is also a must. So, for my lovely Auntie Ruth's birthday I made her this cake! Not gonna lie, it's probably one of my new favorite recipes. It's like my favorite pumpkin chocolate cookies (aka "pillows of joy") in cake form! Oh my yum. But seriously you don't need a birthday as an excuse to make this cake. I promise I won't judge you if you make it and eat it all yourself. I'll actually just respect you more. Embrace fall and make this cake!

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Use Real Butter

Pumpkin cake 
3 cups flour
3 1/2 tsps baking powder 
1 heaping tsp baking soda 
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
6 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin purée (about 1.5 15 oz cans)
3/4 cup milk

Salted caramel cream cheese frosting
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 oz. unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. salted caramel sauce (or regular caramel sauce and a lil bit of salt to taste)
4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Chocolate ganache
4 oz. semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
5 oz. heavy cream

Make the pumpkin cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together. Set aside. Place the light brown sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl and beat on medium until fluffy. Beat in the oil and the pumpkin purée. Alternate adding half of the dry ingredients to the batter with half of the milk and mix until blended. Repeat with remain halves of the dry ingredients and the milk. Divide the batter between each baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in their baking pans for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto cooling racks.

Make the salted caramel cream cheese frosting: Place the softened cream cheese and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy with a paddle attachment. Scrape the sides down and beat the frosting a few times. Mix in the salted caramel sauce. Add the confectioner’s sugar a cup at a time, first mixing it slowly (it poofs about) and then beating it in on high speed. Repeat until all of the sugar is mixed in. Set aside, or if the cream cheese frosting is very runny, place in the refrigerator.

Make the chocolate ganache: Place the chocolate in a small or medium bowl. Heat the cream until it begins to simmer and steam, then remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the cream sit for a few minutes, then stir the chocolate and cream together until a smooth, shiny ganache forms. Set aside (but don’t let the ganache cool and harden).

Assemble the cake: Trim any domed tops off both cakes and discard (i.e. eat them). Set a base layer down on top of a cake board or on strips of wax paper underlying the edges of the cake. Spread a third of the chocolate ganache on the cake, then spread a half cup (or more) of the salted caramel cream cheese frosting over the ganache. Gently set a second layer of cake on the base layer and repeat. For the last cake layer, which should be a bottom layer, invert it so the cut side is face down and the base is on the top of the cake. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese frosting around the sides (crumb coat), then frost the entire cake. Garnish as you like with chocolate shavings, candied nuts, drizzle of caramel or chocolate. Serves 10-12. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Late Summer Peach Galette

Late Summer Peach Galette

Yeah, yeah, I know it isn't really summer anymore, but I can't let it go quite yet! Actually for me it's still kind of summer...I just got back from a fabulous vacation with my family last weekend! We had such a blast touring and eating our way through England and France. I'm feeling very spoiled. And my goodness gracious, next Tuesday I leave for Brazil! There I will be serving, learning, and sharing the Gospel, I could not be more excited! If you want to follow my adventures while I'm in Brazil, check out my blog I would LOVE to keep posting on my food blog, but we shall see how things are working out when I get there :) But for now, I'll share with you this delicious, light galette that I made with my Grandma. If we hadn't eaten such a big dinner, I'm sure I would've been able to finish it all. Yeah, it's that good. So if you miss summer, make this tasty lil dessert to cheer yourself up!

Late Summer Peach Galette
Recipe from The Clever Carrot

Flaky pastry dough (makes 2 galettes)
  • 2½ c. flour
  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter (cold), cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp. shortening (cold), cut into cubes
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • small glass of ice water
Peach filling
  • 2-3 firm, ripe peaches
  • juice of ½ small lemon
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. apricot jam, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. sanding sugar
  • ¼ c. slivered almonds
*To get ahead, you can make the dough in advance. You can either refrigerate it (up to 3 days) or freeze it. This way you can whip up a galette whenever the mood strikes.
    *It is best to use firm, ripe peaches for this recipe. They are easier to slice and will hold their shape while baking.
      *For best results, bake your galette on a pizza stone. The bottom crust will be perfectly crisp.
        1. Preheat your oven to 375 F. If using a pizza stone, place inside of the oven to heat up.
        2. Get ahead- Cut the butter and shortening into cubes and place in the freezer. Then, make enough space in your refrigerator to fit 1 baking sheet. If your dough starts to soften, place it there to chill (and thank me later…)
        3. Make the dough- In a food processor, add the flour, cold butter & shortening, sugar, and salt. Pulse 5-8 times until the butter is the size of peas. Slowly add the ice water (1 tbsp. at a time) and pulse the machine until the dough just comes together. You will use anywhere between 3-5 tbsp. of water depending on your dough. It’s appearance should look crumbly, not like a ball. When you pinch some between your fingers and it sticks together, it’s done.
        4. Dump the dough out onto a work surface and gently shape into a flat disk. If it seems too crumbly don’t worry; it will come together as it rests in the fridge. Cut the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour – overnight.
        5. Make the filling- Run your knife around the peaches and twist open to reveal the pit. Cut each half into about (6) ½ inch slices.
        6. Transfer the peaches to a bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Using your hands, gently mix to combine. Set aside.
        7. When your dough is nicely chilled, roll out 1 disk into a 12 inch circle (save the other disk for a future galette). Do this between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper so that it does not stick. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle; you can trim the edges with a pairing knife or just leave it as is. Transfer the dough to the fridge to chill, leaving it on on the parchment paper. Let it rest for 15 minutes or until firm.
        8. Using the back of a spoon, spread 1 tbsp. of apricot jam onto the center of your dough creating a 2-3 inch border along the edge.
        9. Place your peaches in the center and fold up the sides, gently tucking them in between the peaches.*See note.
        10. Beat the egg with a splash of water and brush the sides of the dough.
        11. Sprinkle the peaches and outside of the dough with sanding sugar and almonds.
        12. Transfer your galette (by lifting up the parchment paper) to a baking sheet or preheated pizza stone. Bake on the center rack for 60-75 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
        13. When finished, brush the warm galette with the remaining apricot jam to lightly glaze. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
        14. Serve warm or at room temperature.
        *If at anytime your dough starts to tear while folding, gently press it back together. If it starts to soften up, just pop it back in the fridge. Remember, cold is key.
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