Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pumpkin Recipes!

Yes, I realize it's mid-January, but here's what ended up happening:

(1) During "pumpkin season," I saw a "You're Doing It Wrong" column re-run at Slate for an interesting recipe for pumpkin-beer quickbread that I've been looking at attempting for at least a year. This inspired my purchase of River Horse Brewery's "Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin Ale" - a seasonal beer from a local brewery, featuring pumpkin, spices, and a nifty hippopotamus graphic on the label. 

(2) Disney Junior has been running these short segments in the evenings featuring "Dishes Inspired by Disney" ... and they had a waffle recipe "inspired by" Cinderella. And, well, considering Perrault's telling of this shoe-losing young lady in disguise, of course, it featured pumpkin puree.

(3) At TJ's, they sell a very affordable (organic!) canned pumpkin puree during pumpkin season. It's perfect for adding to chili, making pies, or ... trying out new pumpkin recipes. So, I bought a can every other visit.

Considering the fact that the Cinderella Waffle recipe also called for canned light coconut milk, which I already had on-hand for the AB Indian Rice Pudding I made the other day, and my 4-year-old has been begging me to make these waffles for months (and I had three-quarters of a package of bacon to use up!), we had "breakfast for dinner" last night.

Recipe Review - Cinderella's Dreamy Pumpkin Waffles

How easy was the recipe to follow?

The recipe is very easy to follow, but in at least one online version, it contains a misprint - it would appear to be calling for 11 (!) cups of AP flour, when it only needs 1. Poor form, Disney Junior, poor form. (I've already informed them on their Facebook page, but it doesn't seem to be particularly well-monitored.)

The most challenging ingredients are the pumpkin puree and canned coconut milk - you won't use a full can of either, so either plan to freeze the remainder or work on another recipe that calls for pumpkin puree at the same time. (I still had a full cup of puree left over after opening two cans; I froze this for another time.)

Could my sister follow this recipe? Yes, absolutely. It's not hard.

Specialty Equipment?

Yes. You absolutely cannot make waffles without a waffle iron, though you can try. (I'm not about to try using a meat tenderizer myself. Sorry, Mr. Brown.)

I happen to have what works out to be two waffle irons - one that's an actual waffle iron (which I love, because it makes Perfect Waffles, but I also hate it because it's Nearly Impossible to clean) and waffle plates for my Cuisinart Griddler (which I don't love for their waffle-making properties, but do love for the ease of cleanup) - but I opted to use the actual waffle iron.

It's more easily accessible than my blender, which is good.

How did my husband and daughter like them? 

Since I also made regular waffles, my husband didn't try the pumpkin ones, but my daughter loved hers.

They tasted OK to me, but I think I'll change up the mixing method next time.

Was it too much work to add to the regular rotation?

Not really - it doesn't take much more time to mix these up than to use a box-mix, so there's no reason why I couldn't incorporate them into my go-to recipes in the future.

Verdict: We'll make these again.

Recipe Review - Pumpkin Beer Bread

How easy was this recipe to follow?

While it has a lot of steps, including a segment on the stove, this is an easy recipe. Most quick-bread recipes are Very Easy - this one was no different.

I almost forgot to add the beer, though, but that was more because I was trying to juggle two recipes at once. Oops!

My sister could definitely follow this recipe.

Does it require specialty equipment? 

Yes and no.

It requires a 9" loaf pan, which I actually do have but I was unable to find in my cabinet, so I had to use my 8.5" loaf pan.

It makes a difference in cooking time, so definitely use the 9" pan. (If you haven't got one, get one. Having the right tool is never a bad thing.)

How did my husband and daughter enjoy it?

To the best of my knowledge, neither of them have tried it yet.

But, it kind of tastes like banana bread to me, so I think they'll come around.

Is it too much work to add to my regular rotation?

Well, this is a hard one - it's not a meal, but rather a treat. It's easy to follow, not overly sweet, and I like it, but it really is season-dependent. Pumpkin ales aren't brewed year-round, so it's really going to be an autumn-only recipe. Unless I can find a way to keep pumpkin ales from going skunky.

Verdict: Sure, I'll happily make this again, but my husband will have to stop refrigerating my pumpkin beer!!

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