Pumpkin Time! Pumpkin Custard

What to do with your left over jack-o-lantern pieces - that's the question of the day. And it's the Great Pumpkin Carve Up Cook Off over at Simply Recipes which can help you with that query . In honor of the day I found a recipe for pumpkin custard and adjusted it a wee bit to my liking and baked it in miniature pumpkins and then sprinkled cinnamon spiced toasted pumpkin seeds on top. Delish! Happy Halloween and may you receive many treats tonight!

Pumpkin Cardamom Custard

12oz soft tofu
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
15 oz pureed pumpkin
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Puree the tofu until completely smooth.
  3. Add the sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom and combine throughly
  4. Pour into hollowed out miniature pumpkins, or into lightly sprayed ramekins, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Take out of oven and let cool. Pudding will firm up more as it cools.
  6. Can be eaten right away or refrigerated for 2-3 days. (if you bake them in the mini pumpkins, it's best to eat them the same day or else the pumpkin starts to get soggy).

Cinnamon Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Toss pumpkin seeds with just enough oil to cover them.
  2. Sprinkle with cinnamon and toss and they are completely covered.
  3. Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes or until toasty and crunchy.

this picture was taken 5 minutes after they came out of the oven.


A sad night

So, in case you haven't figured out by now, I'm an obsessive compulsive baker. When I find new recipes I have to try them, and I'm constantly working on developing my own recipe ideas.

A couple weeks ago while searching the internet for something completely different, I found an intriguing recipe for Vegan Chocolate Pudding Cake. I've been excited to try it since then because the recipe is so unusual -- you pour hot water on top of the cake batter before you bake it. Very odd.

The idea is that the hot water allows for part of the cake to sink down to the bottom and become a pudding and then there is a layer of cake on top.

Well, last night I tried it. Followed the directions exactly. Very interesting result, and one which I'm sorry to say I just can't bring myself to post a picture of. It was a bit scary.

First of all, the cake overflowed a bit into the bottom of my oven. Second, as soon as it came out of the oven, it shrunk down to 1/2 it's size (maybe I should have done this recipe for SHF Souffles). When it shrunk down, well it just looked a bit....hmmm....gross. A uneven black jiggly thing. But it could still be ok -- not everything has to look pretty, it just has to taste good. No luck. Consistency was weird and the pudding, which was a very thin layer beneath the cake, was so sweet it overpowered the cake. The cake mixture on it's own wasn't that terrible, but that isn't the point of the cake -- the pudding is the unique part.

All in all, a sad day for cake making. I think the cake has some potential, but would involve playing around with the recipe quite a bit. I still like the idea, but maybe there is another way of going about it.

And I really wanted to eat some chocolate cake last night...instead it got fed to the garbage disposal...=(. ah well.


IMMB: Pomegranate Souffle

Well, this week is a week of first's. My first SHF (see previous post) and now my first participation in Is My Blog Burning, hosted by Kitchen Chick. When I first heard about this blog event I couldn't wait to participate. But then, I found out that this month is souffles and immediately grew sad because I didn't think I could participate, given my self-imposed limitations. I had never heard of a vegan dessert souffle and had no idea where to even begin.

But, at the last moment (of course), I decided that I was not going to let a small thing like egg whites get in my way, even if they are the main ingredient. I did some research on the web and came up with virtually nothing and again grew disinhearted.

But I thought about it for awhile and decided to break down the components of a souffle - what is it really. It's a flavored "base" with whipped egg whites folded in that is then baked. Well, making the flavored base isn't a problem -- fruit juice and arrowroot should take care of that. But what to do about the egg whites?? The only solution I could come up with is a vegan whipped cream that is then folded into the fruit base to make it light and airy. I'm not sure if this still qualifies as a souffle (it might be more of a light mousse) but it's all I got. So here it is.

I also decided to spice up the presentation since this isn't baked in a ramekin and therefore doesn't have the same poofy eye appeal, and piped it into pre-made filo cups which can be found in the freezer section of your local supermarket. They are fabulous and vegan.

I used the POM pomegranate-blueberry juice mix. I think it can be found most places.

Pomegranate Souffle

Vegan Whipped Cream
12.3 oz soft silken tofu
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth
Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Pomegranate base
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbl sugar (adjust to your taste)
1 tbl arrowroot
5 tsp pomegranate juice

Put the 1 cup pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
While that is heating, mix the arrowroot powder and 5 tsp juice together to make a "slurry".
When the juice/sugar mix comes to a simmer, add the arrowroot mixture and whisk constantly until it comes to a boil. Let boil for 1-2 minutes. You will see it thicken.
Take it off the heat. If any lumps have formed, pass it through a strainer.
Let cool. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until gelled.

When folding the cream into the pomegranate base, I used a formula of 2 tbl of the base to 1 tbl of cream (such small amounts because I was filling the filo cups). This leaves a lot of extra cream but I'm sure you can find a use for it!!

This can be served immediately or refrigerated for several hours.

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Sugar High Friday- Orange Maple Cookie Sandwiches with Decadent Chocolate Mousse

This is my first Sugar High Friday and I couldn't have been more excited about the topic -- Dark Chocolate!! There is nothing better than a good dark chocolate to start your day off right or end a beautiful evening or just to make the day that much better right in the middle.

As soon as I heard the topic, I knew I was going to make the mousse - nothing is more dark and chocolate-ly and fills all those cravings than a rich mousse. But, I wanted to present it differently than it usually is, and I love the combination of orange and chocolate, so I created this sandwich cookie.

The cookies have a delicate orange flavor that combines perfectly with the maple syrup and are a wonderful combination with chocolate.

***to see a roundup of all entries, check out LovesCool's wrap up.

Orange Maple Cookies

1 3/4 cups flour
2 tbl raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbl orange zest
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbl fresh orange juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with oil.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and zest in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the maple syrup, vanilla extract, canola oil, and orange juice.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough on the prepared tray, 1" apart.
  6. Bake for 11 minutes. Do not overbake or the cookies will become too hard.
  7. Let sit on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then remove to a cooling rack.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse

12.3oz (1 pkg) extra firm silken tofu (I use mori-nu)
12 oz dark chocolate, melted
2 tbl maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate soymilk
1 tbl Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liquor (optional)

  1. Puree tofu until completely smooth (3-4 minutes)
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend.
  3. Can be served right away or refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Spread the mousse on the back on one cookie about 1/2" thick and then cover with another cookie to make a sandwich. Or pipe the mousse on the cookies for an even more decadent look.


Pumpkin Spice Cake with Creamy Frosting

So, it's that wonderful fall time of year and even though I'm in California I still feel the weight of the leaves turning colors and I start craving "fall foods". Specifically, I start wanting everything to have pumpkin or squash in it.

Thus I was led to create this Pumpkin Spice Cake.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup regular soymilk
1 cup canola oil
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Oil and flour a 9" cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  3. In a seperate bowl, mix the soymilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Creamy Pumpkin Frosting
Some people said this tasted like yogurt, which is pretty neat. I don't really like yogurt so I didn't like it very much, but everyone else said it went perfectly with the cake, so here it is.

1 pkg (12.3oz) extra firm silken tofu (mori-nu)
4 tbl pumpkin puree
5 tbl maple cream*** (or maple syrup can be substituted)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, 3-4 minutes.

*** Maple cream in a wonderful product made just from maple syrup. Basically the maple syrup is heated and then beaten until it reaches a wonderful opaque and creamy state. The consistency is similar to that of peanut butter. If you can't find it in any local stores, you can get it from Hickens Mountain Mowings - 802-254-2146,
Erik's Sugar Bush - http://erikssugarbush.com/maplecream.php?PHPSESSID=c00039f73d12a3c5d1b12c7090210e11
Mom & Pops Maple -
or Sugarbush Farms

It's also wonderful on toast, donuts, biscuits and pancakes!


Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Made this frosting yesterday and got rave reviews. One person even asked if it was made with cream cheese!!!

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

1 pkg (12.3oz) extra firm silken tofu (I use mori nu)
4 oz dark chocolate**
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbl maple syrup

Put all in a blender and puree until absolutely smooth, about 4-5 minutes.

**the quality of the chocolate is especially important (as I've mentioned before). Because there are so few ingredients there is nothing to mask it if you use bad quality. Basically if you use cheap chocolate, your frosting will taste cheap. And that's not the image you want to portray -- you want your guests thinking rich, creamy, lusciousness.

The picture is of the chocolate cake recipe I posted previously. The Creamy Chocolate frosting is the frosting on top and I tried a new recipe for the filling, but it didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. The filling recipe called for a lot of cornstarch and the finished product tasted very chalky because of it, even though i let it boil for awhile because that is supposed to get rid of the chalky taste. So, I need to rework that one and will post it as soon as I do.


Banana Pudding

This came out pretty good...the key was the super ripe bananas because they are so sweet. And it's extremely easy to make.

Banana Pudding

12.3oz extra firm silken tofu (I really like mori-nu)
3 extremely ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbl maple syrup (you can add more to make it sweeter but be careful because it can overpower the banana flavor).
1/4 cup dates (soaked 4-6 hours to soften)***

Puree all ingredients together.
I served it with sliced bananas on top and fresh nutmeg grated over it.

***I soaked the dates for 4 hours beforehand to soften them so they pureed better. Put them in a small bowl and fill up with water until it just covers the dates. After 4 hours, take the dates out and pat them dry to get rid of extra moisture.