Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pumpkin Puffs

. . . because cream puffs are the best dessert ever, and because it's fall, so everything must be pumpkined!

I was reading through a fun book I saw at the library - The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme - and found (among many other things I immediately bookmarked) a recipe for No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. The author said she "fell in love with chiffon pies a few years ago; they're wonderfully light, and their texture is silky smooth." Maybe it's just me, but this description immediately cried, "Cream Puff!" in my mind. So I tried it. The original recipe calls for rum, which my kids didn't like, and beaten egg whites for its lightness. So I decided to try it again, after tweaking the recipe to our taste. First step: compare all of the pumpkin pie recipes I could find with all of the Boston cream pie filling recipes I had. So I pulled out my book of family recipes, my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, and, of course Joy of Cooking.

The latter was, as usual, the most helpful in "reinterpreting" a recipe - there I found that folding in whipped cream to the the cooled custard would give it the lightness I was looking for. I served them to my kids (and also to my husband, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and niece and nephews, who were visiting that day - a good excuse, I thought, to try out an extravagant new dessert. Thankfully, they're used to being experimented upon (and when it comes to dessert, they don't seem to mind!) Plus, Debbie brought a back-up dessert of leftover apple crisp, so even if it flopped, we were covered). The verdict: an unqualified success (Debbie even asked for the recipe - and took all of the apple crisp back home).
So Debbie (and everyone else who shares my love of all things pumpkin and all things cream puff) here you go:

Pumpkin Puffs
Puff pastry:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat water and butter to boiling in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour all at once, stirring until mixture forms into a ball and leaves sides of pan (about 1 minute - I like to use my Kitchen Aid hand blender for this). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. When all of the eggs have been added, drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffy and dry. Cool, then cut off tops and scoop out any soft dough remaining inside.
3 Tbsp water
2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup (honey or sugar work fine, too)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp maple syrup (honey or sugar work fine, too)
In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the water and let rest. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, mix the pumpkin, heavy cream, maple syrup, eggs, salt, and spices.  Cook until mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the rum and gelatin. Refrigerate. 
Whip the cream and maple syrup. Beat chilled custard to soften; fold in whipped cream. Spoon into prepared puff pastry.  
Chilled custard

Blended custard

Folding in the whipped cream
Ready to spoon into the puffs
Chocolate Sauce:
1/3 cup maple syrup (honey or powdered sugar would also work)
1/2 cup butter (coconut oil is fine, too)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
dash salt
Mix together in a double boiler until melted and smooth.
 Drizzle over pastry top.


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