There are two things we in Sarasota anxiously await this time of year: a cool breeze that lets us crack the windows and pumpkin, the ultimate autumn flavor. I find such joy every year when I get to start cooking with pumpkin butter and pumpkin spice.
Here are my favorite go-to pumpkin flavors of the season, and a go-to recipe I created several years back:
3434 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, (941) 955-7771, yodersrestaurant.com
Seriously creamy, with a balance of salt in the pie crust so the pie is not too sweet. It's perfect for Thanksgiving, but why wait? I have already tucked into my first of the season, with more to come.
Available at most grocery stores. (Look for sales at Publix and stock up.)
Fabulous as a topping for a warm apple or pear tart, this ultra-creamy frozen treat has broken pieces of pumpkin pie whipped in to create the ultimate pumpkin flavor.
1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, (941) 955-9856, mortonsmarket.com
Our fall table is not complete without pumpkin bread throughout the season. Morton's pumpkin bread has the perfect consistency to enjoy in a breadbasket or dip into French toast batter and griddle with butter and a smear of pumpkin butter. Pure fall heaven.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleons
Makes six servings. Pumpkin butter can be found in the jam and preserves section of your market. It is often seasonal. Substitute canned pumpkin if unavailable.
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 9-ounce jar pumpkin butter
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Optional garnishes: powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and chopped crystallized ginger
- Place puff pastry sheet on floured surface. Cut into 9 3-inch squares. Place squares on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until brown. Cool on wire rack.
- Combine pumpkin butter and next 4 ingredients. Beat until light and fluffy.
- Combine cream, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a chilled mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Set aside 1/2 cup whipped cream and gently fold remaining whipped cream into pumpkin mixture. Cover and chill pumpkin filling for at least 1 hour.
- Carefully slice 1 pastry square in half to make 2 layers. Spoon about 3 tablespoons filling onto bottom layer. Top with second puff pastry layer. Repeat procedure with remaining pumpkin filling and remaining pastry squares. Chill up to 2 hours. Top each Napoleon with a dollop of reserved whipped cream. Garnish, if desired.