Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin, spice, and everything nice

There are times when we have a very tough time being 'traditional'.  I like the idea of traditions and try to keep in touch with some of the traditions we had as kids but most of the time honoured family traditions tend to be food related.  Pumpkin pie is one of the most tasty traditions I know.  Every Thanksgiving my Mom would look after the meal and my Aunt would look after the pumpkin pies!  It always proved to be a tasty combination. I remember the excitement of the Turkey in the oven, Mom's special Scottish stuffing known simply as "Scurly", helping to mash the potatoes, and just hanging around the kitchen all day.  I wonder if I was actually helpful or just being a pest.  Dinner always seemed to turn out great!  The next big excitement of the day came as we eagerly watched our Aunt walk up the front walk with pumpki pie in hand!  I think having something like pumpkin pie saved for this time of year makes it all the better as it becomes such a treat!!

Somehow I managed to marry one of the few people I have ever met who does not like pumpkin pie. (Strangeness abound!)  My Aunt would still make her delectable pumpkin pies but she would also make brownies for my dear Hubby.  I found (and of course adapted somewhat) a recipe for a pumpkin spice cake that I bake in cupcake form.  These cupcakes are a hit with everyone (Hubby included) and have become a tradition in our house.  These are so popular that I was even asked to make them for Darryl and Mandy's Wedding!  This weekend, I have made the pumpkin spice cupcakes but to also apease the pie lovers, I have down sized the pie into tarts.  I hope they taste as good as they look.  I may have to ask my Aunt for her recipe though.  For now we will try out these.  All they need is a dallop of whipped cream!


 So many smells, tastes, and textures to remember and savour.  My only wish is be able to once again have Mom at the table with us for our delectable meal.  She is terribly missed but fondly remembered as I cook up some of the family's favourite dishes that she would only make for Thanksgiving.

Today I share with you my beloved Pumpkin spice cupcake recipe. I originally found this cake recipe from Martha Stewart.  It was an instant favourite.  I haven't made it as a cake for quite some time.  Instead I have been making cupcakes! Some of Mom's recipes may have to wait to be shared.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Printable recipe
Pre heat oven to 350degrees F.

In the bowl of your mixer combine:
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
Mix well until it takes on a lightened colour and is nice and smooth.

Add to the bowl and mix well:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients:
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix with the paddle attachment until well blended.  The batter should be smooth but not overmixed...I know that doesn't make sense but bear with me!

Scoop into lined muffin tins.  Fill to about 2/3 full.  I like to use a scoop to ensure same size cupcakes.
Bake for about 20 minutes.  Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre of a cupcake.  If it comes out clean, they are done.  Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from the muffin pan and cool on a rack.

Once these are cooled...it is time to make the icing!!!

Brown Butter icing.
Printable recipe
In a small saucepan, melt:

1/2 cup butter
Let the butter get all foamy and cook it until golden brown sediments form on the bottom of the butter.

While the butter is melting, place in a bowl:
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla
Once the butter is a nutty brown colour, gently pour it into the bowl with the icing sugar. Make sure to leave the browned sediment in the sauce pan!!
Start mixing the icing and add:
  • milk, 1 tbsp at a time until the icing is the consitency you want.  Add more milk if you want a glaze like icing.  
This icing has a nice consistency for spreading but sets quickly so it is important to use the icing right after you make it.

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