Yummy Frozen Pumpkin Torte

win_20160928_190824Question: What’s better than a delicious frozen pumpkin torte?

Answer: A delicious frozen pumpkin torte which is super easy to prepare!

This torte fits the bill. Yummy Frozen Pumpkin Torte offers the perfect flavor profile for autumn, has a beautiful presentation, and is simple enough for a beginner to tackle with confidence. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Serves 12 – 16)

3 cups finely crushed gingersnaps

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened

Whole gingersnaps (for garnish)

Toffee candy bar (for garnish)

Directions

Step 1) Combine gingersnap crumbs and butter. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of a 10 inch Springform pan. Place the pan with the crust in the freezer, to help the crust set.

Note: If you don’t have a Springform pan, you can use a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. You may need an additional (4th) cup of gingersnap crumbs and an extra 2 tablespoons of melted butter to coat the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

Step 2) In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Gently fold in softened ice cream. Remove the pan with the crust from the freezer, and spread the ice cream mixture over the crust. Cover with foil and return the torte to the freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Step 3) Just before serving, garnish the top of your Yummy Frozen Pumpkin Torte with gingersnaps and toffee candy bar pieces. Remove side of Springform pan for presentation.

To store leftover torte in freezer, simply reattach the side of the Springform pan and cover with foil.

 

Autumn Plum Cake

easy-plum-cakeEvery autumn, the New York Times publishes the same plum torte recipe. It has something of a cult following. My friend Denise, a scratch cook who is rather particular about the recipes she endorses, raves about this torte. So, I gave it a try.

It’s good. Really good! The recipe is included here. I had larger plums on hand, so I used slices rather than halves. Whether this recipe is a “torte” or a “cake” is in the eye of the beholder. I’m going with “cake,” as for me the word “torte” conjures up images of complicated, many-layered German desserts. This recipe is blessedly simple. It is quite similar to Rustic Apple Cake, with different fruit. Enjoy this cake (torte?) with a cup of coffee as you watch the leaves fall.

Zucchini Chèvre Appetizers

WIN_20150831_185801Put the bread pans away, and let’s do something a little different with that last zucchini of the season, shall we? These savory, garlic infused zucchini rounds are topped with just enough flaky pastry to make the textures and flavors POP! Using roll-out, refrigerated pie crust keeps things simple enough to manage on the evening of your next cocktail party, or simply as a midnight snack on your next movie night!

WIN_20150831_174117Ingredients (Makes approximately 16 appetizers)

1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/2 inch rings

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon preserved lemon (or substitute 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon)

4 cloves garlic

4 ounces Chèvre cheese

1 roll-out refrigerated pie crust

WIN_20150831_183310Directions

Step 1) Grease a large baking sheet and arrange zucchini slices (it’s OK if they’re touching each other).

Step 2) Combine olive oil, preserved lemon, and garlic in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Use a pastry brush to generously coat the tops of each zucchini slice.

Step 3) Place 1 heaping teaspoon of Chèvre cheese on top of each zucchini slice, slightly off center.

Step 4) Roll out the refrigerated pie crust and cut 16 small (1 – 2 inch diameter) shapes using cookie cutters. Place one shape on each zucchini slice, so that the pastry slightly overlaps the Chèvre.

Cosmos ® Mini Cookie Cutter Set 12 Multi Shapes with Cosmos Fastening Strap

Step 5) Brush the tops of the pastry shapes with any remaining garlic/lemon/oil mixture.

Step 6) Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes, watching carefully. The pastry should be golden brown, but don’t let the edges burn!

Serve while warm.