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Monday, November 5, 2007

Welcome, Autumn! Better Late Than Never

Come, said the wind to the leaves one day,
Come o're the meadows and we will play.
Put on your dresses scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone and the days grow cold.

Autumn slipped in while I wasn't looking. It sneaked right by me, hiding under November's coat tails. But, it is unmistakably here. I can feel it. Yesterday morning, there was a crispness in the air that wasn't there the day before. The breeze was cool and dry. If you squint your eyes and look really, really carefully, you can almost see the difference in the air.
Living in Florida, it isn't always easy to pinpoint when the seasons change. There often is no rhyme or reason to our weather. It can be 85 degrees on one December day and 45 the next. I've learned to live with this, though I don't like it. Even though I have lived here for most of my life, I still miss the loud and riotous entry the Fall makes when it appears in the North.
As I read all of my fellow bloggers' accounts of blazing carpets of leaves on the ground and nippy nights, I'm a little jealous. When I see all of the comforting pumpkin soups and deeply satisfying roasted root vegetables being presented, I am wistful. How can I take advantage of Autumn's bounty when the temperature outside is still balmy and humid and hot? I want to, but it feels out of sync. It's seems almost hypocritical! I suppose I could toss a cinnamon stick and some nutmeg into my pina colada and pretend, but I would still know. So, when the temperature finally dipped below 60 degrees, albeit for only a few short hours, I seized my opportunity and turned on the oven.
I made a pumpkin pie - a deliciously spicy, sweet and smooth autumnal offering. As it baked, I basked in the heady fragrance of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. The pie was good...really good. Fluffy, yet rich and creamy, it was a respectable way to welcome the season. Better late than never.
I have included the recipe for the pie crust, though I did not use it for this pie. I still had some left over crust in my freezer from the apple pie I made a few weeks ago. You'll note that the recipe for the filling and the topping calls for mascarpone cheese. I just can't get enough of that stuff! This addition gave the pie an almost mousse-like quality. I think that the next time I make this pie, (and I will), I might add extra mascarpone to see if I can get more of a cheesecake texture. Also, even though it was not in the original recipe, I drizzled a little homemade dulce de leche over the top, because I happened to have some, thanks to Pim. I think it really added some pizzazz.

Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, November, 2007

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup (or more) ice water

1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese

1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
dulce de leche or caramel sauce for drizzling (optional)

Prepare crust:

Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse until dough begins to clump, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry.

Gather into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out dough on floured work surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch beyond rim. Crimp edges. Chill crust while making filling.

Prepare filling:

Using electric mixer, beat pumpkin and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and next 7 ingredients and beat until blended.

Add mascarpone cheese and beat just until mixture is smooth. Transfer filling to prepared crust.

Bake pie until custard is set, about 55 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool.

Prepare topping:

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat to soft peaks.

Serve pie with topping and drizzled with caramel sauce, if desired.



Tartelette said...

Ok, I saw your tart the other day....wanted to bookmark it but got away from the computer....somebody else used it and then I could not remember on what blog I had seen it....and then the words "sticky,gooey,creamy,chewy" came to I am back...because of the mascarpone! Sorry for this long phrase without punctuation!!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I do that all the time. Now, I've started keeping a little notebook with me when I surf to jot things down. It helps.

Glad you liked it. Anything with mascarpone is a winner with me!