Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Special Thanksgiving Treat: Nutty Pumpkin Pancakes!

Christmas, my favorite time of the year, is all too near, eventhough it means that the end of Autumn is near, my favorite season with all its colors and flavors.
Thanksgiving, though specific to North America, reminds us just how close Christmas is and incites us to celebrate all the goodness this season has to offer.

I know I will probably sound like a broken record, but I am really nuts about pumpkin especially during this season. I have already shared many recipes featuring pumpkins and I can guarantee that you'll always find the results to be super satisfactory.

Besides trying a variety of sweet and savory recipes using pumpkins, lately I have been experimenting with different types of flours. I have bought chestnut flour and I was eager to try it in a special recipe that would make use of its deeply nutty and sweet flavor. That's why I decided to combine these two earthy ingredients in a special Thanksgiving recipe. And what better way to celebrate this typical North American holiday than with the all time American favorite: pancakes! Interestingly enough, if you omit the toppings I used you will have delicious gluten and lactose free pancakes; a good option for individuals who have allergies to these ingredients.

So let's get ready and make some sweet nutty and spicy pumpkin pancakes!

For 2 servings you will need:
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 100 g pmpkin purée
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil (no need for extra virgin) 
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 50 g apple butter (substitute with an extra 50 g of pumpkin purée if you don't have it)
  • 85 g chestnut flour
  • 15 g roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 grated nutmeg
  • dash of salt
Mix the flour, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
In another recipient blend the egg, oil, maple, pumpkin purée and apple butter until they come together nicely. 
Now you just need to combine the dry and wet ingredients and leave the mixture to rest from 5 to 10 minutes.

Cook the pancakes in a lightly oiled pan until set and cooked through but be careful as you don't want to overcook them.

I served them with some cream cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon and lots and lots of maple syrup. 

The texture of these pancakes is just wonderful. They are moist, soft and the combination of flavors is comforting and absolutely delicious with a delicate balance between the sweetness, nuttiness and the spiciness.  And should I remind you that they are gluten and lactose free?

Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ginger, Orange and Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cointreau Ganache!

The 15th of November is the National Bundt cake day. Bundt pans come in different shapes and sizes but they always produce beautiful looking cakes with minimal efforts from your part. My favorite is the traditional gugelhupf pan. I purchased some Bundt pans a while ago and I felt it's time to put them to good ause nd celebrate the extra something these pans bring to the baking world.

The gugelhufp is perfect for the approaching holiday seasons and it will help you make beautiful cakes, brioches or regular breads. As the idea of the Bundt Day is to encourage people to prepare for the Christmas Holidays, I decided to make a cake using flavors inspired by those common in Christmas desserts. I relied on ginger, orange and chocolate to achieve a beautifully flavored cake. The result is a slightly spicy, refreshing and chocolaty one, with a rich, moist and fudgy texture that can be served as it is with perhaps a light sprinkle of dusting sugar or a glaze. After some hesitation, I finally decided to top the cake with a chocolate and cointreau ganache to reinforce the chocolate and orange aroma.

Ok now let´s bundt!

The mold I used has the capacity of 10 cups and for it you need:
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 150 g soft butter
  • 160 g white sugar, 80 g brown sugar
  • 100 g chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 200 g cake flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150 ml whole milk or cream
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp and 1/2 of grated fresh ginger and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cointreau (optional)
First sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In your mixing bowl, beat the sugar, butter, orange zest and ginger until creamy and well combined.

Add the eggs one by one, making sure they combine well before adding the next egg then add the cointreau. Add the chocolate, and mix again at a low speed.

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, 1/3 then add half the milk, another 1/3 flour, the rest of milk and finish with the flour.

Pour the mixture in your greased pan and bake between 45 to 50 min in a preheated oven (175C) or until a skewer comes out clean, Leave in the pan for 10 min then unmold and  leave it to cool on a cooling rack.

For the ganache:
  • 150 g finely chopped chocolate
  • 125 ml cream
  • 25 g butter
  • 2 tsp cointreau (or vanilla extract)
Gently heat the cream and pour over the chopped chocolate, whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and cointreau and whisk again and finally pour over the cake while it is still runny!