Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pumpkin!! And A Very Long Post

I had every intention of posting these recipes last week. It obviously didn't happen. I wound up getting knocked down with the flu, so there really wasn't any cooking going on in my house. In fact, it was strange to have absolutely no desire or inclination to get in the kitchen (or get off the couch for that matter). We somehow survived on veggie noodle soup and spicy tofu stew from our favorite Korean restaurant.

Needless to say, I'm all better! And, fortunately just in time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Because of the setback last week, we weren't able to film Thanksgiving recipes like I'd hoped to for Everyday Dish. So, I'll post a few of my favorite recipes here later this week, in case anyone is looking for some new recipes or twists on old favorites. The two pumpkin recipes I'm posting today would be perfect for Thanksgiving.

The first one is pumpkin hummus. I know that sounds a little strange, but I promise you that it's delish. You can call it pumpkin spread or pate if you prefer, which certainly gives it a more sophisticated flair. I love to serve it with crostini (thin slices of toasted baguette rubbed with fresh garlic and brushed with a little olive oil) and candied spiced pumpkin seeds. I don't have a written recipe for the pumpkin seeds, but I'll tell you what I do. I take pepitas (or shelled pumpkin seeds -no white outer shell) and heat them in a large non-stick skillet (I know, I know, but non-stick works so well here). Once the seeds start getting warm and a bit toasty (but not too much), I sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of sugar. Let the sugar melt for a minute or two, and then start tossing or mixing the seeds so that they get nice and coated with the melted sugar. At this point you can add another tablespoon or two of sugar. Once the seeds are toasted and candied, sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground pepper (and a touch of ground chipotle or cayenne pepper). Transfer seeds to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. I sprinkle them directly from the skillet onto the paper. These seeds are also excellent tossed in a salad.

You can find the pumpkin hummus here. There's also an Everyday Dish segment on the pumpkin hummus. The only change I made to the recipe was to mix in a drop or two of toasted sesame oil to the finished hummus. It gave it a bit more of a smoky flavor. Yum!

For the pumpkin cakes, I had been craving a really good full flavored cake, loaded with spices and pumpkin flavor. I started by taking my tried and true recipe, and experimenting with different egg replacers for the eggs. They didn't all work well. I tried flax, soy yogurt, egg replacer and soy milk. I was only happy with two of them. The version using Bob's Red Mill egg replacer for the eggs worked very well. It was a nice dense cake, which I really liked. But, I also really liked the version with soy milk, which was a little more cakey and a little less dense. In addition to adding the soy milk, I also increased the baking powder and omitted the baking soda. Since there wasn't buttermilk (soy milk with vinegar) in the recipe, this worked out very well, and the cakes rose beautifully. I do recommend baking the batter in small tins, whether mini loaf pans or mini bundt pans, etc... It keeps the cakes nice and light. Oh, and I wouldn't suggest substituting applesauce for any part of the oil. I tried, and wasn't happy with the results (neither were my kids).

Autumn Spice Pumpkin Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (solid pack)
2/3 cup plain soymilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped candied ginger or 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries or chocolate chips

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
2. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, pumpkin, soymilk, canola oil and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Don't over mix batter. Stir in candied ginger or raisins.
3. Spread batter into greased and floured mini bundt or loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean and top of cake springs back when lightly pressed. Little miniature bundt cakes will take about 25 to 35 minutes to bake. Miniature loaf pans about 25 to 35 minutes.
4. Remove cake pans to a rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from pans and finish cooling completely on a rack.
5. Dust cooled cakes with powdered sugar before serving or drizzle with vanilla glaze or chocolate ganache.

Vanilla Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp soy milk or orange juice
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, soy milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
2. Spread or drizzle icing over cakes. This icing needs to be made just prior to using, as it will harden quickly. If icing is too thin, add another few drops of soy milk or juice. If icing is too thin, stir in a little more powdered sugar.

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup soymilk

1. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and soymilk. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from oven and stir mixture until smooth. If necessary, microwave mixture for another 10 seconds or so, but do not overheat (chocolate will burn).
2. Spread or drizzle warm ganache over cakes.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Julie ! The cakes look amazing! and I love the candied pumpkin seeds idea.
I think I'm going to try the hummus first, like now.

We got the flu, too. We watched a lot of movies :p

Sheree' said...

Just what I have been looking for! Pumpkin, who could not like pumpkin. What do you think about substituting whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour? These look so good and I am excited to make them soon.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Mmm, I'm starting to get in to all these pumpkin recipes! Someone asked for a pumpkin cake recipe, so I'll pass this on.
I'm glad you're feeling better

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I just baked some pumpkin-raisin muffins, and I'm always baking more of my pumpkin-pecan-raisin loaves for friends and family and such. I've never made bundt cakes before, so THIS pumpkin recipe definitely looks worth trying!! thank you for posting it!! :0)

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

The individual pumpkin cakes look delectable! OOh, good idea in the hummus, bet it's fabulous. I'm going to try and drop by your brother's place for a treat next week! :)

julie hasson said...

Hi Gaia, thanks! Hope you're feeling better. Being sick sucks. How are things going with Viva Granola?

Hi Veg-a-nut. I think that you could probably sub half the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Spelt could work too, but I haven't tried it.

Hey Melisser. Thanks. I am feeling much better. Pumpkin recipes are the best, in my opinion. But I may have a tendency to over-do it this time of year.

Thanks Veggiegirl.I love sharing recipes.

Hi Vicki. You know, your post of pumpkin cakes was what got me started in the first place. They looked so good! I wish I could join you at my brother's place. I'm still pushing for him to add more vegan items to his menu. I think that if you ask they'll make you up a vegan panini.

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