Fresh Pumpkin – Kabocha Pie with Maple Syrup and Garam Masala

pie with fluted edgeI added kabocha squash to fresh pumpkin and sweetened this pie with maple syrup. A bit of the Punjabi spice blend garam masala adds an exotic highlight to this Thanksgiving favorite.
I make the pie on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day. I like to roast and puree the pumpkin and Kabocha squash on Tuesday night so it will be all ready on Wednesday.

Prepare a pie crust ahead of time and freeze it
DSC03214I use a Sugar Pie pumpkin. Just the name gets me singing Sugar Pie Honey! These are available at farmer’s markets and produce markets such as Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market in Berkeley. They are slightly smaller than a basketball. They have more flesh and are less fibrous than a Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkin. You will need about 1 3/4  pounds per pie.

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I add kabocha squash, which is sweeter  than the pumpkin. Its texture and flavor resemble chestnuts.

You can do this part ahead of time. Pierce pumpkin and kabocha several times and place on oiled roasting pan. Roast at 450◦ for 45 minutes until soft. Place it on a large plate and cut off the stem. Use a knife to coax the peel off; it should easily come off.

Let the pumpkin and kabocha cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and stringy pulp.

???????????????????????????????Put the flesh of the pumpkin in the food processor. Process until smooth.

??????????????????????????????? Since the puree is too watery for pie, pour it into a fine sieve over a bowl. Place a bowl on top of the puree and several heavy cans on top of the bowl. Let it drain for an hour.

Measure 1 1/4 cups of drained puree. Reserve the liquid  to add to squash soup such as Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup or butternut squash soup. You can put extra puree in those soups or save it for Fresh Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Puree about 1/2 cup of the kabocha squash and measure the pureed squash to be sure you have 1/2 cup. You can put extra Kabocha in Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup .

Blind bake foil or parchment covered pie crust with pie weights or beans for 15 minutes at 425◦ While crust is baking, prepare filling

Ingredients: Have all ingredients at room temperature. (You can warm the eggs in a bowl of warm water.)

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree, drained and 1/2 cup kabocha puree. (You can substitute a 15-oz can of pumpkin for both squashes, but it won’t be as good.)
2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups (one 12-oz can) evaporated milk,
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp salt

1 egg to brush on crust

Put pumpkin-kabocha puree in large bowl under a mixer.
Add rest of ingredients and beat well.

brush egg on bottom of crustRemove crust from oven, remove pie weights and foil or parchment, and brush the bottom and lower part of the sides of the crust with a beaten egg. This will prevent the crust from getting too soggy. Place the crust back in the oven for 5  minutes until sides are light brown.

Remove crust from the oven and lower oven temperature to 375◦

As soon as oven is ready, pour pumpkin pie filling into the crust. Place a circular crust protector over it so it won’t burn. Bake  for 40 minutes until the center just quivers when you wiggle the pan.

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Cool thoroughly on a rack and then refrigerate until Thanksgiving dinner is over and everyone is ready for dessert..

???????????????????????????????Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream sweetened with pure maple syrup.

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Grilled maple pork chops with peaches and figs

???????????????????????????????It’s grilling season! I topped these pork chops with pure maple syrup, grilled peaches and figs for an elegant summer meal. And yes, I get the irony of seasoning pork with Kosher salt.

Ingredients:

4 bone-in pork chops

2 ripe peaches

2 ripe figs

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Approximately 2 Tb olive oil for dipping

Approximately 3 Tb pure maple syrup for brushing

Season both sides of pork chops with Kosher salt and pepper. Sear one side on hot grill for 3 minutes. Grill the other side over medium heat for 5 -6 minutes, until nicely browned.

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As they finish cooking, place chops on a large plate and brush with maple syrup. Cover them with foil to keep them warm while you grill the peaches and figs.

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While chops are cooking, halve 2 peaches and 2 figs. Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on a plate and dip cut sides of the fruit into the oil, then sprinkle with kosher salt.

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Place fruit cut side down on grill over medium heat while the rest of the chops finish cooking. Grill for a couple of minutes, until the cut side of the fruit begins to blacken.

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I placed each chop on a bed of rice. Serve peach and fig halves over each pork chop. Drizzle accumulated juices over them.

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French Toast with Fresh Fruit

This family favorite is a weekend morning treat after a week of eating muesli. Although French toast made with half-and-half is rich and sublime, this lower fat version, made with 1% milk is really good. Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and piled high with fresh peaches and strawberries with a hint of maple syrup, it makes a satisfying breakfast.

Serves 3:

3 large eggs
¼ cup 1% milk
1 tsp cinnamon
Several shakes of nutmeg
8 slices of raisin bread
About 1 tsp butter
1 large peach
6 large strawberries
3 Tb maple syrup

 

Whip eggs with milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat a nonstick frying pan and move butter stick across it until it is coated with butter (about 1 tsp). Dip slices of raisin bread into the egg mixture so it begins to saturate the bread but not make it soggy. Place bread in the pan and fry over medium heat a few minutes until it turns light brown, then flip and fry again.

Serve with fresh cut peaches, strawberries or what’s in season. You can heat frozen fruit and serve as well. I like to spread the fruit on a plate and pour about 3 Tb of maple syrup over the fruit, then microwave for a minute. No need to add extra syrup to the French toast.

Pecan Waffles

One of the great delights of my childhood Sunday mornings was homemade waffles for breakfast. Light and delicious, we love them with the crunch of  pecans in the batter.  I cover these golden waffles with fresh raspberries, chopped strawberries and peaches, and pour Strawberry Sauce or a light glaze of pure maple syrup over them.

1 1/2  cups all purpose white  flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry (finely ground) flour

1 Tb ground flax seed

1 Tb Baking powder

3  Tb Sugar

a couple of shakes  salt

3 eggs separated

¼ tsp cream of tartar

6  Tb. Butter

3 cups milk (I use 1%)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

3/4 cup chopped pecans if desired

1/4 cup grated unsweetened coconut if desired

Separate eggs. I place each of whites in a cup before adding it to the bowl, just in case a bit of yolk gets in one of them.

Beat whites and cream of tartar until whites are stiff. Set aside.

Beat yolks with milk and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add flour mixture alternately to milk/yolk mixture, beating after each addition.

Melt butter. I put it in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Beat in butter and pecans.

Fold ½ cup egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold the batter into the rest of egg whites. I reserve some whites for the last batches, when it is mostly gone from the batter.

Heat waffle iron until the light goes out. Spray with a bit of coconut oil spray. Pour batter in the center of the iron, until it spreads out about 2/3 full.

Cook until the light goes out again and waffle is golden brown.

Make extra waffles for those sleepy weekday mornings. Make them a bit lighter so you can toast them. Put them between paper towels so they won’t be so soggy. Freeze them between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper, then wrap in foil or place in a freezer bag.