Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Nothing screams Thanksgiving to me like pumpkin pie. Sure there’s turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes, but what really gets me jazzed is the pie.

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There’s something about the flavor of pumpkin that sings holiday. Growing up, a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner was homemade pumpkin pie. My grandparents would make 8-10 pies accompanied with a fresh bowl of whipped cream. The best part about the pie was that there was almost always left overs. The tasty remains served as the perfect late night snack or breakfast the following morning.

Now that I’ve moved out of state, I’ve taken on baking the pumpkin pie as my personal tradition. This year I even ventured down the road of making homemade pumpkin puree for the filling; it was so much easier than I thought!

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The recipe below will satisfy your sweet tooth without overwhelming your taste buds. The pumpkin flavor isn’t too bold and pairs perfectly with the flaky, buttery crust.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 1 cup ice water

Filling

  • 1 sugar pumpkin (1 1/2 cups will be used)
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs

Whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Crust

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut chilled butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture.
  2. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or knife and fork. Once finished, the mixture should be crumbly and butter should be pea sized. You can also complete this step by pulsing the mixture several times in a food processor.
  3. Next, add ½ cup of the ice water and mix. Continue adding ice water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together. I like to start by mixing the dough with a wooden spoon and then switch to using my hands.
  4. Gather the mixture into a ball and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (ideally two!). You can also prepare the dough ahead of time; it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

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Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash, de-stem, and cut the pumpkin in half. After cutting in half, remove seeds and inner gooey flesh. For a tasty snack, keep the seeds and toast separately.
  3. Oil the outside of the pumpkin and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool; once cooled, remove the skin and place pumpkin flesh into a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  6. Transfer pumpkin puree to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients: salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and evaporated milk. Whisk until well combined.

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Pie Assembly

  1. Set oven temperature to 375 degrees; roll one disk of the chilled pie dough until it forms a 14-inch round circle. Transfer dough to pie pan; trim and fold edges so that it is flush with the plan.
  2. Cover the center of the pie pan with parchment paper or foil (covering the crust) and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake shell for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove weights and parchment paper/foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes; remove the pie from the oven.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer pie filling to the pre-baked pie crust and place in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is set (should spring back when touched).

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Twinkie Bundt Cake

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any baking.

Honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve done anything other than wedding planning… and marry the love of my life. With the excitement and joy of the wedding day come and gone, I’m slowly rediscovering this thing called free time. As I unravel the day-to-day and embark on Mission Free Time, baking is at the top of my list.

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Having seen this Twinkie Bundt cake on Instagram, I knew this could be the recipe to snap me out of my baking coma. After seeing the post, I couldn’t stop talking about it. A Twinkie Bundt cake?? It sounded so wrong that it could only be right.

Thinking of twinkies conjured up memories from childhood: a red vinyl lunchbox safe guarding a PB&J sandwich, apple slices, and the prized Hostess snack… a twinkie. A guilty pleasure that, at the time, we didn’t know we needed to feel guilty about. Even still, I say leave the guilt at the door, tie on your apron and get ready to impress your friends and families with this buttery delightful recreation of your favorite childhood snack.

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The outer edges of the bundt glisten with a perfect golden brown hue while the soft yellow inside is offset by the shiny white marshmallow filling. As your fork dives in for a bite, you’ll notice the moist and spongy nature of the cake. A few crumbs may escape, but overall the slices maintain their form. The decadent buttery flavor will pique your tastebuds and leave you wanting more. The marshmallow filling adds another level of sweetness without being too overwhelming.

If you attempt making this cake (as you should!), I have three parting suggestions:

  1. Be generous: as you cut out the circles for the marshmallow filling, be careful not to break through the top of the cake but also be sure to remove enough of the cake so the marshmallow fills the slice. I wasn’t as generous with my scooping as a could have been which leads me to suggestions number two.
  2. Save the extra: if you find yourself with extra filling, save it! Serve each slice of cake with an extra dollop of mallow. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Top it off: for an extra flavor boost, try adding fresh strawberries or blueberries to each slice.

For the complete recipe, head on over to Smitten Kitchen.

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Raspberry Thumbprint Scones

Can we talk about these scones for real? They are ridiculous in the best possible way. The dough, oh that dough. It crumbles in your mouth but doesn’t fall apart on your plate. It’s graced with flaky salty morsels while remaining sweet. It’s even good enough to be devoured on its own sans jam. But who are we kidding? Of course we’re going to put jam on it.

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I generally try to avoid recipes that call for obscure ingredients. And by obscure, I mean anything not typically found in my pantry. Almond what? Coca-who? These intimidating ingredients usually lead to depleting my baking budget while filling my shelves with items I won’t use again. However, for this recipe I put on my big girl pants and ventured down the path of the unknown. The outcome was these delicious Raspberry Thumbprint Scones.

Okay, so almond meal and buttermilk might not be the most obscure foods out there, but they don’t typically find their way into my kitchen. Turns out tracking them down wasn’t half as hard as I thought it was going to be.

I was able to purchase almond meal from the bulk bins at my local grocery store, which allowed me to cut costs and only buy the amount the recipe required. As for buttermilk, I chose to use an easy at-home substitute. Mix 1 tbsp of white vinegar with 1 cup of milk; let rest for 3-5 minutes and voila! You can now scratch buttermilk off your list. Although it’s not as flavorful as true buttermilk, I love this trick because I use what the recipe calls for and am left with regular milk (a baking staple!).

When whipping up these scones, store bought jam will do just fine. The magic comes in baking the scones. As the dough bakes, the jam begins to break down and comes out thicker and seemingly gooier than before. I opted for raspberry but you can use any flavor jam or preserves your heart desires.

Now do yourself a favor and head on over to Butter and Brioche for the complete mouth watering recipe.

Strawberry Semifreddo

I almost always have ice cream on my mind. If it’s cold out, ice cream. If it’s stormy out, ice cream. Hot out, definitely ice cream. There’s something about the rich, smooth texture of ice cream that is refreshing no matter what the temperature is. Luckily, though, it’s summer and there’s no need to justify craving a cool treat. As the heat has been ramping up, I’ve even been considering investing in an ice cream maker. A dangerous purchase? Probably. But how could I resist being able to make frozen treats any time I want…. and in any flavor I want!?

*Spoiler alert* My will power sometimes surprises me and is stronger than I let on…

I didn’t buy the ice cream machine.

BUT, I do have an amazing semifreddo recipe to share with you.

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Semifreddo is an Italian world that translates to half cold and, unlike ice cream, is made with whipped cream; ice cream, on the other hand, comes together by churning air into the base mixture. I like to think of semifreddo as the dessert love child of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and mousse. It’s light, fluffy, smooth, and glides down your tongue. This particular recipe is layered with juicy strawberries that provide texture and sweetness. I wasn’t able to track down sesame seeds for the topping, so I opted to leave them off. If you don’t any have luck either, you could also substitute toasted almonds or pistachios or sprinkles!

For the full recipe and step by step instructions, venture over to Bon Appetit.

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

I’ve cast caution to the blazing hot wind this summer and have continued to bake in the relentless heat. Turning my apartment into a sauna seemed like a good idea at first. You know, save on those expensive trips to the spa (you’re welcome roomie). I’ve even tried embracing my inner night owl, waiting to bake until the sun to goes down and the cool temps make an appearance. This recipe is the result of one of those endeavors.

I had just finished a bowl of popcorn, a movie was streaming in the background, and I was finding my second wind. I was heading to a friend’s for brunch the next morning and knew this would be the perfect item to bring. Behold, I give you the Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake.

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Okay, the name is a bit of a mouthful, but you are going to love every bit of this moist, tangy sweet cake. Slices of peaches adorned with juicy blueberries layer every bite; you almost forget that you’re eating cake for breakfast.

The fruity colors of orange, red, and blue scream summer to me and awaken memories of sunrises dancing on lakes or early morning rays glimmering through your tent. If the vibrant colors aren’t enough to draw you in, hopefully the simple ingredient list will do the trick. The components of the cake are probably already in your kitchen; since I have a bag of berries that live in my fridge year round, the only ingredients I had to go out and grab were the greek yogurt (I opted for a single serve 8 oz container) and the peaches. Once you’ve gathered these items, follow the two step mixing process of wet ingredients followed by dry ingredients; pour the cake batter into your greased pan and decorate with sliced peaches and blueberries. Voila! You’ve just prepared a crowd pleasing, eye catching breakfast staple. Really, it’s that easy.

Head on over to Julia’s Album for the complete recipe.

S’mores Doughnuts

Guys, I can barely handle the amount of goodness in this recipe. From the moment I saw the original post, I couldn’t stop talking about what my next baking endeavor would be. I was like a little school girl with a crush. Okay, so my crush was on fried dough, but who’s really keeping track?

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The dough isn’t just any fried dough. It’s dough that dances with traces of cinnamon and oozes with homemade marshmallow creme. It’s dough that is crowned with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with salted graham cracker crumbs. It’s dough the encompasses summer and sings of campfires.

Now do you see why I couldn’t stop talking about it??

Before you dash off to your kitchen to whip up these S’mores Doughnuts, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  1. Prep Appropriately: I know, I know, I tossed out the dreaded words of “prep,” but it’s best to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Once the dough has been made, it requires 2 hours to double in size.
  2. Test the Oil: if you have a food thermometer, use it! If not, you can use a wooden spoon to help test the oil. To check if the oil has reached 350°F, dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil; when the oil is ready for frying it will begin to bubble around the spoon.
  3. Don’t Hold Back: when filling the doughnuts, be sure the piping bag reaches to the center and don’t skimp on the filling. A few of mine ended up with only a bite’s worth of creme because I didn’t want to overfill them (silly me, you can never have too much marshmallow!)

For the complete recipe, head on over to Lakyn + Judah.

Blackberry Almond Cake

Summer is in the air, like 90 degrees in the air. I’d like to tell you this post is about me trying out creative recipes that don’t require baking in an oven. But, alas, I’m a sucker for freshly baked goodies. . . even in the hottest of summer months. . . in an apartment with no A/C. So with windows open, the whispers of a breeze flowing in, and the steady whir of fans in the background, I set out to bake this Blackberry Almond Cake.

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I love this recipe for a couple of reasons:

  1. Incredibly approachable ingredients. This moist cake only calls for eleven items; the majority of which are are probably already in your kitchen.
  2. Prep time is a breeze. There’s no waiting, sifting, or rising involved with this cake; simply mix the ingredients, pour into a pan, and then pop it into the oven. What’s not to love about that?
  3. Berries. Berries. Berries. This cake will be amazing with any berry of your choosing; I opted for blackberries like the original recipe called for, but you can easily adjust depending on what’s in season or your personal preference. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, a berry medley …. need I go on?

The sweetness of this cake is subtle, which makes it perfect for breakfast (or really any time of day). The flavor ride starts with the spongy, moist cake slowly melting in your mouth and continues on to bursts of fresh, juicy berries, and gems of crystallized sugar. Finally, there’s the crunch of perfectly toasted almonds that adorn the top. My mouth is already watering…

For the complete recipe, head over to Seasons & Suppers.