Oh you guys, this bake is just beyond. A rich bread is cubed and soaked in a luscious creamy pumpkin custard, baked to golden perfection and then saturated in a sweet caramelized tres leches bath.
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.
There are two kinds of people in life: ones that love ripe bananas, and everyone else that cannot bear the sight of even a fleck of a brown spot, or a bit of a bruise. Our family falls into that second set, and so we often have bananas that are immediately rejected and shunned at the first hint of over-ripening. So when life hands you over-ripe bananas, you of course make…banana chocolate chip cake!
I created this recipe to use up our ripe banana for a low sugar, low-fat breakfast for the children, and with school back in session, it’s the perfect back to school bake!
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.
Sometimes I feel like the boy who cried wolf. At the time I create and blog about a recipe, I am beyond excited and want to share it with the world. I promise, that fervent energy is genuine and in that moment, I feel like it’s the most remarkable pastry. So, when I create a recipe that I categorically, emphatically and truly believe is just the best ever, I can imagine you all silently rolling your eyes and thinking, “I’ve heard this before.” But this recipe, really is special. This is also one of those moments in recipe development where I think to myself, holy moly, me oh my, Roasted Milk Ice Cream! What?
I love to bake. I seriously, really, honestly love to bake. It brings me immeasurable joy and it’s a passion I happily dwell in, often at the expense of a good night’s sleep! But, when the temperatures begins to rise and the most chic accessory I’m wearing is sunscreen, I look to our garden and the farmer’s market for culinary inspiration, and it often does not require turning on the oven. So, on days like today with a high of 91°F and 71% humidity, a lush, cool, creamy White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta topped with seasonal cherries is the most perfect end to a hot, muggy day.
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…
Perhaps I was still in that hazy, sleep deprived, beyond exhausted, new mom phase when I thought it was a good idea to board an airplane with a weary three month old clinging to my chest, a doe-eyed toddler nervously gripping my leg, and the cumulative weight of the reality of heading to a city I had never stepped in, to walk into a house that I hastily agreed to buy sight unseen, resting uneasily on my shoulders. What had I done? Eight years later, the answer is as clear as the sunlight streaming through the honey jars lining a bee farm wall.
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.
Just like life, where a balance of work and play is essential, a balance of flavors is key in the culinary world as well. This is a palate pleasing and perfectly balanced bake that’s composed of sweet, salty, tart and citrusy flavors, all wrapped up in a pretty little bar of Cherry Orange Chocolate goodness. These bars are not only easy to make and utterly delightful to serve, but as it turns out, they are the perfect road trip treat!