Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Tiramisu with Candied Pecans



Canadians are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.  Turkeys are being trussed as we speak!  It's one of my favourite holidays - the food is always fantastic; the weather still decent; and there's this beautiful amber light shimmering down. Preparing and sharing food with loved ones is one of life's most simplest pleasures.  Seeing all of my favourite people gathered round a table, tucking into plates piled high with turkey and stuffing is a beautiful thing.  I love when their eyes roll back in their head, because that gravy and mashed potato pool is just so good.  But while the turkey is digesting I take a good look around at all of the lovely, gravy stained faces, happy and thankful that I am where I am, and with who I'm with.




I'm a lucky girl -  living where I do, doing what I do, and not too many days go by where I'm not thankful for all of the wonders that makes my life that much better, such as:  butter; bacon; boys; brothers and sisters; belly laughs; bars of dark, dark, chocolate; the Beatles; books; beds with flannel sheets; babies; blue skies and butterflies; Bach; balls of grey and orange cat fur; birthdays; big dreams; Beautiful day(s); brand new jeans; blogs and bloggers; bare feet in the garden; breakfast for dinner; Better things; "Bridget Jones's Diary"; big hugs from little people; being anywhere with my Mom; black tea with honey; bowls of soup; bottles of wine on a Saturday night; a breath of fresh air; a blast from the past; a best friend's voice; brave hearts; and bright, bright stars.




Pumpkin pie seems to be the dessert of choice around Thanksgiving, and I'll let you in on a little secret:  I kind of hate dislike pumpkin pie.  I mean, I'll eat it if offered a slice, and I know it won't kill me, but there's no way in hell I'd go out of my way to make one.  It just seems so terribly bland and boring, and thank God for the invention of whipped cream to make it all slide down. And don't get me started on those supermarket pies, where the taste is not far from the cardboard they're packaged in.  Weird thing is I do like pumpkin and all of the delicious spices it parties so well with.  So whenever I can make a dessert with those flavours, just minus the pie crust, it's a good day.  Pumpkin cheesecake is fabulous, but time consuming and heavy.  Tiramisu is quick and won't make you feel like you have a giant alien in your belly.  I know which dessert I would eat!




This tiramisu caught my eye years ago in the pages of Bon Appétit, and every time I make it I'm in awe of what a simple, spectacular dessert it is.  Assembly is quick and painless, and the best part is you do it ahead of time because the longer it sets up the better the flavours meld together.  So on the day of the big event, dessert is out of the way, which frees up more time for you to have a nap or catch a movie or rake the endless leaves or go for a long, long walk because this dessert packs quite the caloric punch, so some sort of physical activity post or pre-consumption is recommended.  Looks like tomorrow I'll be trading off my sexy new suede boots for the hikers and hitting the trails.  Damn you mascarpone!




This year I switched up some of the ingredients and I'm really happy with the result.  I brushed the lady fingers with a combo of rum and instant espresso.  You could easily use just coffee or your favourite liqueur, or even a spiced apple cider if lots of kiddies will be eating it.  I quite liked the espresso/rum combo myself.  Grating fresh nutmeg into the mix made it super aromatic and tasting of Fall.  The sprinkling of Skor bits and candied pecans was a spectacular finishing touch - and I have to say it's a wonder any of the pecans made it to the top of the cake because they are highly addictive - so watch out for that.




A final note of gratitude to you, dear reader, for stopping by my blog, if this is your first or 71st time.  Thank you, times a million, for reading my rambling, sometimes nonsensical words; for bookmarking a recipe, and heck even making it!  Thank you for every kind word left in the comments section - it's like Christmas morning when I read those.  If you are celebrating this weekend, I hope your plate is piled high and your heart so happy it just might burst.




Pumpkin Tiramisu with Candied Pecans

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup granulated sugar
475g tub of mascarpone cheese
15 ounces of canned pumpkin (not the pie filling)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup rum, or your favourite booze
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso, or strong coffee
2 large packages of  lady fingers (approx. 200 g each box)
1/2 cup Skor bits

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Remove to another bowl.  In the same bowl that you beat the cream (don't bother washing it), beat together the mascarpone, pumpkin and spices until all combined, scraping down sides.  Add the whipped cream and sugar mixture, and beat until thick and all combined.  Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the rum and espresso.  Set aside. 
Line the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan with parchment paper.  Layer lady fingers on the bottom. Using a pastry brush, paint the cookies with your rum/espresso mixture. Spread a third of the pumpkin mixture over top.  Layer in more fingers, brush with rum combo and spread pumpkin.  Do the same for the third layer, finishing with the pumpkin.  You may have some lady fingers left over.  Wrap tiramisu with plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but the longer the wait the better it is.  Sprinkle with Skor bits and a generous helping of Candied Pecans.  Serves 10-12.  Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2006. 

Candied Pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cinnamon
200g (1 cup) pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix the sugars and spices together.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg white and water until frothy, not stiff.  Add nuts to the egg white, tossing to coat. Add the sugar mixture and toss again so evenly coated.  Spread on a parchment lined bake sheet and bake for 30 min, stirring occasionally.  Separate nuts as they cool.   Sprinkle on tiramisu, if you haven't eaten all of them! Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


13 comments:

  1. omg that looks amazing to know thats pumpkin.. faceplam to the max... i'd love a slice!!

    such a coool twist.. kudos!

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  2. Happy thanksgiving, Renee! I too am a pumpkin pie dis-liker, so this looks fabulous!!

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  3. Thanks Dolly! Happy Thanksgiving to you too Ashley! NN i don't really have a recipe for stuffing, it's just more or less onions, celery, garlic sauteed in butter, with sage and thyme. Pour this over dried bread cubes, and add chicken or turkey stock. For fun I add apples to the celery too, or pears, or dried fruit like cranberries or cherries or apricots. Sometimes even pecans or walnuts. Season with salt and pepper, bake covered for an hour or so, then uncover to crisp up. The trick is lots of butter, when cooking the veg! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    Replies
    1. Cook your veggies in bacon fat. Down here in the South, we use onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic. We boil up extra turkey parts like wings for stock or use chicken stock. We use stale French bread, I mix mine half and half with cornbread. We also put oysters with the oyster juice. Make sure your bread is very "wet" cause it dries out when baked

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  4. fantastic recipe! i like pumpkins in any shape or form...and so this twist on the traditional tiramisu might be a bit dangerous for my waistline :P dont think id be able to stop at one slice at all! have a lovely week ahead renee! :)

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  5. Renee, this pumpkin tiramisu is absolutely gorgeous...perfect for Thanksgiving...love the candied pecans on it. Beautiful way to celebrate the Holiday.
    Hope you are having a great week :-)

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  6. Got stuck with pumpkin pie at my sister's this past weekend but didn't get any turkey leftovers so am doing the whole dinner again with my mom and dad on Sunday....I think this tiramisu will be making an appearance!! Happy Autumn Renee!!

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  7. Thanks Juliana, and Viv, believe me it's hard to stop at one slice...Candus, lucky you for two Thanksgivings! Hope you enjoy the tiramisu! Happy Autumn to you too :)

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  8. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I can't stand pumpkin pie either so I might give your tiramisu a try this year for our Thanksgiving. I love the idea of tiramisu served like a cake instead of layered in a dish as I typically see it. Beautiful job!

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  9. It was fabulous Renee but I have to say...your warning about the nuts being a bit addictive was HIGHLY UNDERSTATED!! Hubby and I went through all of the ones that didn't make the cake in no time at all!

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  10. Omgosh, I just found this on pinterest, are you kidding me! I cant wait to make this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  11. I had to laugh, because I could echo your sentiments about bland and boring pumpkin pies word for word. I use pumpkin puree in muffins and Kürbisbrot (pumpkin bread), and this sounds like a great addition to my pumpkin dish repertoire.
    Found this on Pinterest, and will repin it.

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