Oct 18, 2009

Jousting at Pumpkins

If you read regularly, you may be wondering what's going on since I've already posted this week. I decided to join in on the Royal Foodie Joust this month over at Foodie Blog Roll. The joust is held by The Leftover Queen. Each month, participants come up with a recipe that must include three featured ingredients. The winner chooses the ingredients for the next month.

This month's ingredients are all about orange and black. When I saw the required ingredients: Pumpkin, Stout or Dark Beer, and sugar, I liked the Halloween thing going on. Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday (besides Mardi Gras). An idea quickly formed in my head.

Earlier this week I posted about my first attempt at éclairs. So...what about filling them with pumpkin? Ha! One ingredient down. Oh, and how about a Caramel Stout Sauce? Double ha! The last two ingredients taken care of.

Since I just detailed making pâte à choux, I won't go through it again here. Pictures of the steps involved can be found in this previous post. I decided to do a couple of things differently though.

* I used a faker pastry bag made from a Ziploc instead of spooning the pastry dough onto my cookie sheet like last time. The result: eh, I could go either way on this. Each method had its ups and downs. I guess I'd probably just use a spoon and not bother having to fill a fake (or real) pastry bag.

* I also poked a hole in each pastry after they came out of the oven. I recently read that this releases steam, makes for a hollow interior, and keeps the inside from getting too soggy. The truth is, I found no difference between stabbing holes in the pastries and letting them be. I'm a lover not a fighter, so I'll skip the hole punching from now on.  Ok, I lie.  I am more of a fighter...but a lazy one.

* I also decided to do a puff rather than an éclair (circles v. ovals...it's just geometry, people). Oh, fine. You wanna know the truth? I liked the name "Pumpkin Puffs" more than "Pumpkin Éclairs." Ok?

I thought the pumpkin might be too heavy, so I lightened up the texture by folding in whipped cream. I said lightened the texture, not the calorie count.

Finally, the Caramel Stout Sauce...I couldn't get my hands on stout (I live in a small town), so I had to settle for dark beer. But Caramel Dark Beer Sauce just doesn't have the same punch to it, ya' know? This is the part of the recipe I was most concerned about, but it tastes really good! In fact, the sauce may be my favorite part. And it reminded me of making pralines, which is always fun.

UPDATE: the Caramel Stout Sauce is also terrific on pancakes!

And finally, finally after it was all put together, I thought...well, it just isn't dessert until someone breaks out the chocolate. Plus I really wanted something black/dark in the dish. Now you've twisted my arm.  Chocolate drizzle it is.

So here's my entry for the latest Royal Foodie Joust:

Pumpkin Puffs w/ Caramel Stout Sauce

Pumpkin Puffs w/ Caramel Stout Sauce
from Ms. enPlace

for the pâte à choux:
1 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 450.

Boil the water in a heavy pot. Add the butter and stir until it has melted. Add the flour (all at once) and salt. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a soft ball of dough. Remove from the heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Make the filling while you wait. After 10 minutes, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The dough should tighten up after adding the third egg.

Form dough into about a dozen round shapes on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Lower oven to 325 and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Make the Caramel Stout Sauce while they cool.

for the pumpkin filling:
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 1/2-3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Whip cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Combine the pumpkin with the sugar and spices. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

for the Caramel Stout Sauce:
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c stout or dark beer
1 c sugar

In a small saucepan, warm the cream and stout together.

Meanwhile, heat the sugar on medium high in a heavy bottom saucepan. Stir constantly to prevent burning. As the sugar dissolves, it may be necessary to lower the heat. When the sugar has dissolved completely and is a light brown color, slowly add the heated cream and stout mixture. Stir as you pour. Continue cooking and stirring for about 10 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool; it will thicken once it has cooled.

Slice the top third of each puff. Fill with about 3 tablespoons of pumpkin filling. Replace the tops. Place a puff on a plate, drizzle with the cooled Caramel Stout Sauce, and serve. Store any remaining Pumpkin Puffs loosely covered in the refrigerator. For best results, store the sauce, filling and pastries separately and combine when ready to eat.

Optional (but encouraged): melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and thin with shortening. Drizzle over the top of the Pumpkin Puffs along with the caramel sauce.


  1. I LOVE THEM!!! What a creative and fun choice. I bet they were really good:D Looks just like a big fancy dessert you'd get out somewhere. I hope you win!!

  2. allykat10/21/2009

    That sounds good! They look incredible too! Good luck!

  3. This is a fabulous entry and I love the photo of your yummy dish! Thanks for participating! It is great to have you in the Joust!

  4. Thanks! I had a lot of fun doing this.


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