Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’


Repeat after me:  this is not a health food.

Despite it being a breakfast food, this is not the type of thing that rings a golden halo of healthy smugness over your head as, say, a bowl of bran cereal or a tall glass of fresh pressed green juice would.  It is exactly the type of thing, however, that will have you dancing around in tippy-toes of joy in front of your oven as you eagerly wait for the timer to go off.  It is the type of breakfast that pulls bleary-eyed sleepers away from happy dreams and warm beds and into the kitchen on cold mornings.  This is dessert showing up as breakfast at your doorstep on Halloween.

I saw these on apartment therapy a few weeks back and promptly booked marked them, knowing that I would have to have them.  I made them for a leisurely Sunday breakfast and was so glad that I did. As they do require some advanced prep work, they are not a spur-of-the moment breakfast, but they are perfect for special occasions like holidays or birthdays.  Be aware that this recipe makes a lot of rolls. If you are not feeding a crowd, I recommend halving the recipe.   I made the whole thing and was able to send one pan full over to our neighbors to enjoy, as well.

To adapt the recipe, I swapped out the dairy ingredients for their vegan counterparts.  I also swapped out white flour for a mixture of whole wheat and spelt flours (to attempt to assuage feelings of guilty decadence),  cut down the sugar by just a touch, and I swapped in Rice Nog for the milk to add just that much more holiday goodness to each bite.  I also swapped out individual spices for pumpkin pie spice because I love that stuff at this time of year.


I also have a confession to make.  I took a few of the leftover rolls the next day and slathered them in some maple butter cream frosting I had leftover in my refrigerator from a batch of cupcakes I had made earlier in the week and served them for dessert.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Over the top decadence.  My sweet tooth swooned.  And that is how you make a food item multi-task.



Pumpkin Rolls with Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy

(instructions are verbatim except for my substitutions)

¼ cup water
1 package yeast
1 cup Rice Nog
½ cup Earth Balance butter
¼ cup sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups spelt flour

½ cup Earth Balance butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped pecans

½  cup Rice Nog
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
Pinch salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Meanwhile, warm the Rice Nog and Earth Balance in a small saucepan on the stove top until the EB is melted. Combine this with the sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Let the Rice Nog mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch – NOT HOT. Then stir in the yeast and the pumpkin. Add the salt and all of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it’s still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional 1/2 cup of flower.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. Do not panic if it does not get very large in bulk.  It will be OK.   After letting it rise, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls.

To shape the rolls (either immediately or with the refrigerated dough), sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.

Melt the Earth Balance in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the pumpkin pie spice. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top. Sprinkle one cup of the toasted pecans over the dough, if using. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.

Rub a tablespoon of soft Earth Balance into the bottom of two 9×13 baking dishes, two 9-inch cake pans, or a combination. (I used one oval baking dish and one glass pie dish)  Using a bench cutter or a sharp knife, cut the cylinder into individual rolls 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick (confession: I made mine bigger, probably in the 1.5 – 2” range).  Place them into your baking dishes so they have a little wiggle room on all sides to rise. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until they fill the pan and look puffy, 30 minutes for already-warm dough and 1 hour for dough that’s been refrigerated.

About 20 minutes before baking, begin heating the oven to 375°. When the rolls are ready, bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and starting to look toasted around the edges. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.

While they are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the Rice Nog and Earth Balance. When the EB has melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the brown sugar has melted.   Stir in the powdered sugar. This should form a thick but pourable glaze.

Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and then pour the glaze on top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of pecans over the top, if more nuttiness is desired. Eat them immediately. Leftovers will keep for several days and are best reheated for a minute in the microwave




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Pumpkin Pie

A few weeks ago, when Dan’s parents were visiting, they wanted to spend their last evening on Maui watching the sunset from the summit of Haleakala. We decided to take “the quick way” up the mountain, forgoing the main road for a back road that we had stumbled upon a while back. Even though we had only driven this road down the mountain, we figured how different could it be on the way up? Surely you can see where this is leading to … us, on a dead end country road after 25 minutes of reassurances that “of course we know where we’re going!” Think it’s impossible to get lost on an island? Think again. But don’t worry – the story of Dan’s parents wish to see a Haleakala sunset before heading back to Florida has a happy ending – we backtracked down the road and made our way up the well established route to the top in plenty of time to enjoy an amazing sunset.

On this road of misadventure we passed a trail head that looked promising and we took note of it. One week later – this past Saturday – we drove back up the mountain and found that trail head. The trail was up around 4,000 feet, which made for a brisk hike … through pine trees … with crackling, crunching leaves under foot … and it was downright autumnal. All I could think of during the hike was: I want hot apple cider! And pumpkin pie! And sweet potato casserole! And a big bowl of hearty stew! I had suddenly realized it is the middle of October and people in other locales are enjoying these very things.

On our way back down this back country road, we passed a house that had some homegrown pumpkins for sale out front. (These produce stands in front of people’s homes are a common – and welcome – sight in the islands.) Inspired by the hike, I bought up three of them (for $5) and had visions of pumpkin desserts dancing in my head. Once I got home with them, the question was which dessert to make.

But the answer seems, obvious, doesn’t it?


I had never made my own pumpkin puree before, and was happy to find the Pioneer Woman’s tutorial on roasting your own pumpkin.

Homemade pumpkin puree was a revelation.

Until now, pumpkin pie had never knocked my socks off. Growing up, I was always a cherry pie girl. At our family Thanksgivings, there always had to be a cherry pie on hand so that everyone could have pumpkin pie and I could enjoy my pie. Several years ago, just after I gave up dairy products, I attempted to make a pumpkin pie for a friend. What I ended up with was tasty but runny – lacking eggs or a substitute as a stabilizer, my pie didn’t stand a chance of holding itself together. This time around, I made sure to add my stabilizing agents (arrowroot and firm silken tofu) and – as promised – I eschewed refined sugars and flour and instesd used maple syrup as a sweetener and spelt flour mixed with ground nuts for the crust. The result? In a word : heavenly.

I now dream of pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie

½ cup walnuts
½ cup almonds
1 ½ cup spelt flour
3 tbsp agave
2 tbsp canola oil
Pinch of salt

Process the nuts in a food processer until finely ground. Add the spelt flour and pulse until well combined. Add the agave, canola oil, and salt and process until well incorporated. Press into a pie pan and set aside.

2 cups pumpkin puree
2 ½ tbsp arrowroot powder
½ cup soymilk
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ package of Mori Nu firm silken tofu
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Place all ingredients in a food processer and process until smooth.

1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded
3 tbsp agave

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

To assemble and bake:
Pour filling into crust. Bake in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, spread the topping evenly over the pie and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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