Saturday, November 26, 2011

It’s never too late for pumpkin!

I know it’s a past the “traditional” time for pumpkin desserts, but they don’t have to stop at Thanksgiving, do they?? I for one love them, and being the only sweets loving girl in my boyfriend’s family I took it on myself to make the Thanksgiving dessert for the second year in a row. I think I feel a delicious tradition coming on.  :)

My challenge this year was that I was oven-less which I thought was going to be a huge problem but as soon as I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Semifreddo I knew I had to make it, if only for the Sea Salt Caramel Sauce!

Considering that I started making this at 11 PM my photos leave a lot to desire and I left out a lot of stops, so I apologize!


As far as ingredients go, this recipe is pretty simple. I was lazy and didn’t make gingersnaps, but Stater Bros gingersnaps are delicious so I don’t fit the least bit bad. I also went with Libby’s pumpkin pie MIX instead of just plain pumpkin because I wanted to make sure I got a pumpkin pie-ish flavor and I’m glad that I did.

I had a crowd to feed so my pictures will all be doubled, but I’m going to give you the recipe as I had it, but know that doubling it worked perfectly for me.


Despite the fact that the caramel sauce is pretty easy to make, I almost managed to ruin it. I’m still not sure what I did wrong, since it was only my second time making caramel, but it turned out fine and it was amazing. Just boil 3/4 sugar along with 1/4 water until it gets dark brown, but be keep your eyes glued to it because it’s caramel goes from dark brown to burnt thisdangquick.


See how pretty? How well on it’s way to “dark golden brown” like the recipe says? Yeah after this picture all the liquid evaporated and I panicked a little bit so I threw in half of the cream, so then it was way too wet so I boiled it down a bit, then figured it was ok to put the rest of the cream in, but then had to boil it again….And somehow it worked out. I don’t know.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work. Once your sugar and water gets dark brown, take it off the heat and stir in half of the cream and butter. When those are nice and incorporated, stir in the rest of the cream; you may need to heat it through to help any lumps dissolve. Then stir in salt and vanilla. Taste and swoon like you’re a mid-Victorian lady.

Set your caramel aside and prep for the semifreddo. Stir the pumpkin pie mix, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon together in one bowl.


Then separate 3 eggs, setting aside the whites and holding onto the yolks.


And here’s where I’m missing my first picture! Whip up the heavy cream into soft peaks and stick into the refrigerator.

In a sauce pan combine molasses, honey, sugar and water. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 238 degrees.


Missing picture #2 – give the yolks a quick stir to break them up, then beat the syrup in a slow, steady stream with your hand mixer set on medium. Once all the syrup is incorporated, beat the mixture until it’s airy and cool. Grab the whipped cream and fold half off it into the egg yolk mixture, then half of the pumpkin mixture in as well. Repeat until everything is folded in.


Yeah. YUM. Give that a try or 5, because it is delicious!

Since I doubled mine, I used a 9 x 13, but if you stick with the original recipe, you’ll be putting this into a loaf pan.  Oh, and yet another picture I’m missing – those gingersnaps? Toss a couple handfuls into the blender and let it rip til you they’re crumbs. Sprinkle an even layer on the bottom of your pan, and spread half of the semifreddo over it.


Sprinkle another even layer of the gingersnap crumbs and top with some of that glorious salted caramel sauce. Smooth the rest of the semifreddo on top and if you have any crumbs left, toss them on top for good measure.


Cover with plastic wrap and tinfoil and slide in the freezer for at least 3 hours.


Slice up and serve with extra caramel sauce if you want, which you do!

Pumpkin Semifreddo
barely adapted from Hungry Girl Por Vida

1 cup  heavy cream

3 tablespoons mild honey

1 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup gingersnap crumbs

1/4 cup salted caramel sauce

Using a whisk and those guns of steel, or an electric mixer, beat cream in a bowl until it holds soft peaks. Refrigerate.

Separate eggs and place yolks in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Save whites for another use.

Stir together pumpkin and spices in a small bowl, set aside.

In a small sauce pan mix together honey, molasses, sugar, and water. Bring syrup to a boil over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 238F.

Whip egg yolks to break up and slowly add hot syrup while mixer is running on medium. Whip fast enough to make sure the eggs do not scramble, but try not to go so fast that the syrup does not incorporate. Once syrup is completely incorporated into yolks, whip on high until yolks are cool and airy.

Add 1/3 of the cold, whipped cream to the egg yolk mixture to lighten. Fold in pumpkin and spices, plus remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle the bottom of a prepared loaf pan with gingersnap crumbs (line with plastic wrap if you want to turn it out, if simply scooping you can skip that step), scrape half of the semifreddo base into the pan, and smooth the top. Sprinkle with more cookie crumbs and drizzle in about 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, top with remaining semifreddo base and smooth, sprinkle with more crumbs. Cover the top of the semifreddo with plastic and then a layer of foil and place in freezer for at least 3 hours to set. Scoop or turn out and slice. Serve cold.

Salted Caramel Sauce
From Hungry Girl Por Vida

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt

In a measuring cup measure out cream and add vanilla, set aside.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat sugar and water over medium-high until sugar is melted and turns dark golden brown in color (the darkest you can get it before burning is best). Remove from heat and quickly whisk in butter and half of cream until combined and smooth. The mixture will steam and bubble furiously, use a oven mitt or towel to wrap your stirring hand. If there are still lumps, heat gently until smooth. Add remaining cream and salt and stir until smooth.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Directions

This poor little blog has been sadly neglected and I think that it’s time to change that. I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen these days but I have been fortunate to get the chance to spend the day crafting with my boyfriend’s sister Ali. We made the easiest, prettiest infinity scarves and flower pins that one of my favorite bloggers posted on her super awesome website That's What WE Said that she runs with her BFF Shelly. Seriously, go check it out because they are awesome.

I got a little too caught up in having fun making these flowers that I didn’t take the best “how-to” pictures, so if you need any help, go to Kristan's post about how she did it and her pictures will probably help.

What you need for the flower pins is:


  • Synthetic satin – we used polyester satin like Kristan did and it worked fabulously! You really don’t need a whole lot, you really shouldn’t need more than 1/8 a yard of each color you want.


  • Buttons – for the center of the flower. They’ll be up front and on display so choose cute ones!
  • Hair clip OR sweater pins – we bought hair clips, but we both unhappy with the kind we got. I wish we had just bought pins to put on back of them, but oh well!
  • Needle and thread
  • Straight pins
  • Glue gun
  • Candle

First things first. Just embrace it and put Christmas on your Pandora. Do it, and you’ll be happy. :)


Now that you got your music set, figure out what size you want your flowers to be. Ali has a Sizzix which made our lives SO easy. We used a die set of circles to cut out our fabric. The biggest was about 4 inches and the smallest was maybe an inch-ish.

Once you have all of your circles cut out, light up your candle. Carefully hold the edges of your circles close to the flame until they start to curl up a bit. This is why you want to make sure you get synthetic satin, the real stuff won’t do it quite as well. Do me a solid, and don’t set your circle, hand,or anything else on fire.



When they’re done, they should look like this. When all of your circles are to your liking, stack them up, pin them with the straight pin if you need, and sew the button on to them. This might be fairly obvious, but I felt like it was much easier to do one stitch through all of the petals, then sew on the button than to try and do both at the same time.

What you end up with, is absolute adorableness.



Ali made this one, and I love the button she used so much!


This is another one that she made; I love that she used more than 2 colors!

So then for the infinity scarves you need… adult XL or XXL T-shirt. And a pair of scissors. That’s it!

If you have a rotary cutter, this would be the place for it. I don’t so I folded up the shirt twice and cut right underneath the armpits, then right above the bottom hem.


Then open up your loop, stick one end under your feet, and pull up for all you’re worth!


The shirts we bought were 50/50 cotton and polyester and they were a little hard to stretch. I’m curious of a softer shirt would stretch better, I’m going to find a cheap one and test it out.

I totally spaced getting a picture of the final product, but I will do that tomorrow!