This is my seasonal obligatory pumpkin creation. Please don’t get me wrong, lest this sound like a task I begrudgingly embark on, nothing could be further from reality. This is a yearly right of passage into fall that I happily embrace for I adore pumpkin desserts. This year’s inspiration however, bypassed the oven and ended squarely in mousse territory, and this Spiced Pumpkin Caramel Mousse is not only all kinds of pumpkiny goodness, but it’s also quite simple to make.
I am not from the South, so I never knew there were varying degrees of nakeness! A few years after moving to my adopted home state of Tennessee, a kind and sweet as back porch iced tea, Southern, young-at-heart friend explained that there most certainly are.
“Now dear, there’s “naked” and then there’s “nekked,” she explained with an oh so lovely drawl that toggled on that line between sincerity and syrupy sweet Southern sarcasm. There was no mistaking here, she was down right serious. She continued, “naked is when you don’t have clothes on, and nekked, well…nekked, is when you don’t have clothes on and you’re doin’ something you’re not supposed to be doin’!” I am not exactly sure when the snorting laughter ensued, but at one point I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard and distinctly remember thinking that her explanation made perfect sense. That is the moment my friends, I knew I was a Southerner at heart.
The moment I began thinking of making this recipe for you all, I thought of this story and knew this cake had to be the perfect combination of “naked” and “nekked.” Classic enough to be presentable, but with just a bit of sass to make you wonder! A cake where you can see all of the beautiful baked cake layers, stacked high with perfect pillowing frosting peeking through and crowned with an indecent amount of seasonal fruit.
Anyone who knows me, is well aware of my tendency to wax poetic about virtually anything within the realm of the baking and pastry worlds. However, there is beauty in brevity, and this Cherry Preserve story is the epitome of that notion. So basically, I saw this heap of bright ruby sunshine at the market and could not resist turning them into preserves. The End. Okay, maybe just a few more details…
Seasonal berries are my jam ya’ll! Each April there’s a moment of pure joy when I’m anxiously perusing the farmer’s market hoping that perhaps today is the day I spot that bright ruby red hue that signals spring is here and so are the strawberries. When that happened this season, I knew I needed to create a recipe that honored this first bounty of strawberry season in a spectacular way, and this Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream does so beautifully.
Cream Cheese Frosting is awesome! Everyone knows this. How do you make it even more lush? (I know you think it can’t be! Oh, but it can.) Beurre noisette, or brown butter, elevates this frosting to higher, dreamier level than before. The added rich, nuttiness of the brown butter adds a flavor note to an otherwise one dimensional frosting. The glossary provides a step by step tutorial on how to make beurre noisette, should you need it.
Chocolate ganache is a magical ingredient that is absolutely transformative and a culinary weapon that you can yield to create a number of luscious chocolate indulgences. However, the singular determinate of how delectable this two ingredient goodness turns out is the quality of the chocolate you use. There is nothing finer in all the South than the chocolate artisanally produced and freshly stone ground at the incomparable Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co., and that is what I’m using for this recipe.
It’s my fault. I realize this. My family is used to, and have come to expect an elaborate dessert for weekend dinners. This is a ritual that brings me immeasurable joy. Doing something I love for people I adore. However, this weekend, I greeted the Saturday thoroughly exhausted from a seemingly endless work week and a looming To Do list thats appears to grow exponentially. Needless to say, I would not have the luxury of an idle baking day today, nor time for a leisurely trip to the market. Needing a showstopper dessert, with ingredients that I had on hand and requiring little time, I immediately thought of a classic dessert that elicits a chorus of oooohs and aaaaaahs, the Molten Lava Cake, with a peanut butter twist and sour cherry reduction!
Lemon. Ice Cream. Whipped Cream. Cookie crumbs. Pie. I don’t believe I need to say more. This recipe was born of a mission to create a backyard dessert to celebrate the beginning of spring. It needed to be fun, delicious, effortless, nostalgic and appeal to the entire family, from grandma to the finicky little ones. Ideally it would taste like pie. A really delicious and sunny lemon meringue pie.
1/4 cup (½ stick/2 ounces/57 grams) butter, softened
2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, preferably Nielsen-Massey
4 tablespoons warm water
In a medium bowl, heat the butter in the microwave until just melted. Whisk in the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and water until smooth.
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
How to use them:
Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon and use for whenever a recipe call for cinnamon sugar.