Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cozy Fall Recipes

Let the fall leaves fall
And the cold snow snow
And the rain rain rain ‘til April:
Our coats are warm

And the pantry’s full
And there’s cake upon the table.

-Clyde Watson

I often recite this poem to myself this time of year. This is how fall feels to me. These days we have a fire every day in the old wood cookstove in our kitchen and painted dolls dry in the warming oven. The freezer is full of fresh local meat and berries, the winter squash are picked and stored away and the winter vegetables wait to be picked at our convenience. Fruitcakes are made and aging to their best. I like to be stocked up. I like to cook hearty dishes and soups this time of year. The house is cozy, the orchard is bare and the air is brisk. Lovely! Let the cold wind blow!

When Autumn rolls around I often make the following recipes. They are favorites of ours and I hope you enjoy them too.

Winter Squash Custard (aka-”Pumpkin Pudding”)
This is like the inside of a pumpkin pie yet not quite so rich and sweet. Yet it’s certainly rich and sweet enough for my family to think it a great treat. The fall we harvested too many butternut squash from our garden I developed this recipe to help use them up. I modified my favorite pumpkin pie recipe to made a dessert that wasn’t quite so rich and sweet. I really prefer winter squash in this recipe as it’s much richer and sweeter than pumpkin . A butternut squash a little on the large side should give you plenty for this recipe. Hubbard squash would also be great.

To cook a butternut squash: Cut squash down the middle and scrape out the seeds. Place cut side down in a 9x13 pan. Add about 1 inch of water and bake in a 350 degree oven until the thickest part of the squash is soft when pierced with a knife. Let cool and scoop out the orange flesh.

3 c cooked winter squash
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1 c heavy cream
4 eggs
1 1/2 TB flour
3/4 tsp each cinnamon and vanilla
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
-pinch of salt
1 TB fresh ginger juice (optional-but I always add some fresh ginger of some kind!)

Combine all ingredients except heavy cream in a large bowl and puree with a hand blender until well blended. Add cream. Alternatively, mash the winter squash with a potato masher then add rest of ingredients. Pour into buttered over proof dish (I like a 9in round casserole) and bake in a 325 oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean-a little over an hour...

Triple Ginger Gingerbread
This is my favorite gingerbread. It’s dense and spicy. Best to bake it in a bundt pan or some other type of pan which you will turn over and serve bottom side up as the gingerbread tends to fall in the middle. This has never bothered me, however, or anyone else who has tried it. I think it improves by sitting for a day (even two!) tightly wrapped on the kitchen counter so it’s a good dessert to make ahead of time. It also freezes well. The day you want to serve it just whip the cream and serve!
I’ll give you the original recipe (from an old Bon Appitite magazine) then my healthier variation below. The variation really is wonderful and you won’t feel deprived at all. The variation would almost work well for muffins.

Pour 1/2 c boiling water over 1/2 c finely chopped crystallized ginger. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

3c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda’
1TB cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

Whisk together in large bowl:
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c oil
1 c molasses
2 eggs
1 TB grated fresh ginger

Add the warm water/crystallized ginger to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Now add the dry ingredients to the wets and mix until just combined. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake about 1 hr at 350.

Healthier variation:
Substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose, increase eggs to 3, warm water to 3/4 c, reduce oil to 1/2 c and use unrefined cane sugar (such as Rapadura) instead of white sugar. Healthier yet still delicious!

(Wow-two posts in two days?)


Storybook Woods said...

Ohh you know how much we love your gingerbread !!!! Clarice

Influencebad said...

MMM! I'll have to have Bob check out these recipes.... there's no way I could attempt it. ^_^

Mary said...

There is something so unbelievably peaceful about your house, Angie - even with the occasional chaos our children create.

When you add that gingerbread to the mix? Sheer bliss. :-)

Mary - seriously craving a piece of the gingerbread at this moment.