Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Trifecta

I am a little obsessed with pumpkin this month, and my husband thinks I am going crazy.  I put it in my coffee, in my desserts, everything!  So when I was assigned to bring a dessert for a potluck I knew it had to involve pumpkin, but I was also craving chocolate.  This seemed like a great compromise!

Although I used multiple recipes from other sources, I would have stuck with my original recipes from my baking days.  Everyone still raved over it, as the butterscotch pudding adds a nice flavor profile to the spice of the brownies, and the whipped cream adds a lightness to the dessert. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Trifecta
            Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
            Pumpkin Pudding
Whipped Cream (from scratch or pre-made is fine)

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies – modified from Martha Stewart’s recipe

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish.

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in double boiler or microwave; if you go the lazy route (which is easier) melt for 30 seconds at a time and let chocolate sit in the heat.  Don’t over mix!  Chocolate is very particular. 

3. Whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

4. Mix sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

5. Pour half of batter into a separate bowl and stir chocolate mixture into it. If you find that it is a little thick (as mine was) add a little more batter (a few tablespoons or so) until it is more pourable.

5. In other bowl, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula.

6. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect.  Don’t get too fancy with the swirls; because this is eventually getting crumbled up, so presentation doesn’t matter as much as usual.

7. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. A fork stuck in here should just come out clean.

8. Let completely cool. Save for later.

Pumpkin Pudding modified from LowFatCooking.com

2 x 3.4 ounce box Instant Butterscotch Pudding and Pie Filling (I used sugar free to make me feel better about the rest of this dish)
3 cups cold nonfat milk
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
4 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. Whisk butterscotch pudding and milk for two minutes.

2. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, blending well.

3. Let chill in fridge until set. 

Pulling it all together

1. Crumble the brownies into chunks.  They don’t have to be perfect, in fact they look better when they are variable sizes.

2. Place 1/3 – ½ brownie crumbles into bottom of trifle bowl.

3. Layer ½ pudding onto brownie layer, smoothing it out as it you go along.  If using a glass container, be careful not to get the sides messy because it will show in the final product.

4. Layer ½ whipped cream onto pudding.

5. Repeat steps 2-4.

6. Crumble a few brownie bits on top of the whipped cream for desired effect.

Your guests / family will lick the bowl.  I barely had to wash it out :-)

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