Welcome fall with these season-inspired treats
Fall officially arrives this Saturday at exactly 9:54 p.m. EDT. And while only a few trees have started turning, temperatures have been pretty warm and muggy, and that cold crisp air is still absent, but the smells and flavors of New England are lurking around every corner. Apple cider doughnuts and pies, pumpkin pies — or anything else with pumpkin — abound.
Now that the days are a little cooler, nothing is more welcoming than a kitchen filled with the aroma of apples or pumpkin — and all of the complimenting spices —baking in the oven. So, this weekend, welcome fall by cranking up the oven and making one or more of these treats. You won't be sorry you did!
Here is a pastry you won't soon forget. With four flavors that are quintessential Yankee, they are super-easy to make, yet uniquely in a class all their own. One taste of these sweet swirls, and you will forever forget about cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
New England pumpkin cobbler swirls
Makes 4 large swirls
1 cup flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup pure pumpkin, not spiced pumpkin
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup blueberry preserves
1/4 cup apple jelly
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter with a fork until very small beads are formed. Add pumpkin and maple syrup, mix well and turn out onto well floured work surface. Knead for at least 2 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking and until it is smooth; divide in half. Roll out one half into a 10-5-inch rectangle. Spread half the preserves evenly to within 1-inch of all sides. Working from the long side, roll up rather tightly, pinching to seal. With the seal side facing up, use a knife to cut half-way through the length of the "rope," from one end to the other.
Grabbing one end, start coiling it tightly, pinching the end onto itself. Repeat with other dough half. Place on ungreased baking pan and bake 22-24 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Meanwhile, empty apple jelly into a bowl, add lemon juice and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove to whisk smooth. Drizzle equal amounts of apple jelly over each and serve hot.
Not quite a pie, not quite a custard. This deliciously moist dessert is light, airy and bursting with that warm, "cuddly" taste, if that makes sense. There is just something about the smell of pumpkin cooking that instantly puts a smile on your face, and this treat will put a smile on even that one person that is a little hard to crack.
Punkin' custard 'pie' with apple-pecan crunch
4 mini pumpkins
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped, dry roasted nuts of your choice
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the stem end of each pumpkin, about a quarter of the way down. With a spoon, scoop out stringy flesh and seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, add apple jelly and microwave for 15 seconds, or until hot. Remove, add lemon juice and whisk smooth. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of jelly to another small bowl and stir in the chopped nuts, mixing well; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, remainder of melted apple jelly, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Evenly divide among the hollowed out pumpkins. Place on a pan and gently sprinkle prepared nuts on top of each so that they don't immediately sink into batter. It is fine if some do, they will rise back up as they are in the oven. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the filling has puffed up and is firm to the touch.
Remove from oven to cool 5 minutes before serving. Or if desired, refrigerate completely before serving.
These intensely flavored cannolis are just as satisfying on any cold weather night when you can smell the house filling up with aroma of baking, but are especially pleasing when family and friends are around for the holidays. If you desire to leave out any liqueur (in the way of Calvados seen below), simply boil 1/2 cup apple cider or juice until it reduces to 1/4-cup. Cool completely before proceeding with the recipe. Omit the schnapps altogether if desired, replacing with either rum, vanilla or mint extract.
Harvest time Italian cannolis
16 ounces Mascarpone cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup minced figs, dates, dried cranberries or raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon apple schnapps
1/4 cup Calvados or apple cider
1 cup evaporated skim (fat-free) milk
10 prepared cannoli shells
In a large bowl, beat first seven ingredients together until smooth. Scoop half or even a quarter of the cheese filling into a plastic baggie at a time. Snip off a corner of the baggie and close the open part. Pipe cannoli filling into one end of the shell and finish filling from the other end. Repeat with remainder of shells. Cover and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes for the filling to set. Remove, dust with additional powdered sugar if desired and enjoy.
So simple to make and simply the best way to savor the old New England flavor of original Anadama. Not only should you grace the dinner table with these little gems, but they are perfect to keep around for that sweet tooth.
Applelicious Anadama fantans
3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup molasses
1 (.25-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and divided
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup apple jelly, heated and whisked smooth
1/2 cup crushed pecans
Whisk together warm milk and molasses in the bowl of a tabletop mixer, or use a large bowl if doing by hand. Add yeast, stir and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons melted butter and blend. Add flour, cornmeal and cinnamon. With a paddle attachment, blend mixture using low speed until dough leaves the side of the bowl. If by hand, vigorously stir with a wooden, sturdy spoon. Cover and let rise until almost double in bulk, about an hour.
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
On a well-floured work surface, transfer dough and knead for a minute, or until elastic and smooth. Divide into 2 balls. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out until it reaches about a 12-inch square. With half the remaining melted butter, brush the top of the dough. Cut each square into 6 strips going both ways, creating 36 individual, smaller squares. Start stacking so that you end up with 6 stacks of 6 squares, buttered side up. Place each of these stacks into wells of a prepared muffin tin with layers running vertically. Repeat process with the remaining dough ball. Drizzle each with melted jelly, using a fork or other utensil to slightly separate some of the layers so that the jelly gets into each. Evenly divide crushed nuts over the top and let rise until just about 50 percent larger.
Bake 12-14 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven, or until starting to brown on top. Remove to cool slightly before serving.
Reminding you of pecan pie, this recipe is far and above better flavored, joyous to the occasion and did I mention it has chocolate in it as well? One look at the crispy, toasted and decadent topping that literally crackles as you cut it, it will soon become a favorite.
There really isn't anything one can do about the sweetness of this pie. If it wasn't for the sweetness, it would simply be inedible. But by substituting apple jelly for the classic corn syrup, generally found in pies such as this, at least we are able to have a taste other than sugar. I think you will agree that apple jelly makes this a pie with a flavor that supersedes any other nut pie commonly enjoyed during the fall.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.