Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pumpkin Indian Pudding

What a strange thing this was. I have a memory of my mother making indian pudding for Thanksgiving dessert one year. In my memory it was sweet and velvety, like the filling for pumpkin pie. Of course it couldn't have really been like that. Indian Pudding is a sort of New Englander's polenta. It's cornmeal mixed with milk and stirred on the stove for a very long time. Then you bake it in the oven for even longer. I found this to be very sweet, almost too much the flavor of molasses. It also is not the prettiest dessert I've ever made. But it is a New England treat, dating back to pilgrim time.

Pumpkin Indian Pudding

1/4 cup coarse-grind cornmeal
1 cup water
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly spray a 1-1/2 quart souffle dish or casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a bowl, stir cornmeal into water, mixing well. Transfer to a heavy saucepan and stir in 2 cups of the milk and salt, blending well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over med-high heat, stirring, 10 minutes longer until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients except remaining cup of milk. Pour into prepared dish. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Remove and stir in the last cup of milk. Return to oven and bake 1-1/2 hours longer, until thick and bubbly. Serve warm.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Looking Back

I'm so sad that my last post was the Fourth of July berry cake. Here it is November already. In the past few months I've done quite a bit of baking, and had baby Violet! I'm looking forward to getting going again. But I've also been looking back. Last week was my daughter's school's Spaghetti Carnival. I volunteered to do some baking. I went back into the archives and made the cute sugar cookie pumpkins from last year, as well as some ghosts and cats, which were really cute. I wish I had taken some pictures! I also made the popcorn balls. I love that recipe. It's so much fun to make. I added a little salt this time- maybe 1/4 tsp. and it made a big difference. I found out that one of Abbie's teachers has a baking company and makes the most beautiful cakes, cookies and cupcakes. Their website is fantastic. So I started going back into my photos of cakes and cupcakes I've done- before the blog started. Here are some of my favorite projects.

This is a baby block cake I did for a friend's baby shower. It was the first time I used fondant. I really liked it. I got the recipe from Martha. I thought they were really cute.

Abbie was totally into Elmo around her second birthday. I did these for her birthday party. The kids loved them, although they looked pretty gruesome covered in red Elmo frosting. I did these again for a friend- my first paying "baking- gig".

Husband's birthday cake from this past year. It was an Ina recipe- chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. That chocolate buttercream was amazing. I had extra and froze it- it defrosted beautifully and I used it for cupcakes.

This was the cake for my mother's 60th. It was very pretty. I got the flowers from the baking supply store. I baked both these cakes at home (husband's and my mom's), froze them, brought them up to Tahoe, and did the frosting there. Baking at 6000 ft. can be really challenging. When I'm up there, I don't have the benefit of all my cool baking gadgets- like my mixer, so I have to make do with hand mixers. It makes things interesting.

This was the cake for Abbie's second birthday party for family and friends. It was a copy of Sweet Adeline's Bake Shop's Summer Cake. It tasted delicious, but I wish I had done a little better with the writing! I made the little daisies with fondant, then added a little royal icing dot for the yellow center. Looking back at all these, I think script practice should really be in my future!