One of my fond memories as a child was being in the kitchen with my grandmother, learning to cook all her favorite recipes. The autumn months were filled with learning to cook all of those delicious recipes that fill your home with the most wonderful smells, those smells that bring so much joy to your soul. Those were the recipes that lit the fire for my love of cooking.
While I loved the process of learning to cook and trying different recipes, I know that is not the story for everyone. This is why I am sharing with you these four easy recipes that you can make, eat and share during these fabulous fall days.
PUMPKIN SPICE HAND PIES
Makes enough for eight hand pies
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons orange zest
1 batch Flaky Pastry Dough
Egg wash – 1 egg whisked with a pinch of salt
White Sanding Sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 400F
To make the filling:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
To roll out the dough:
Using a bench scraper or a knife, divide the chilled dough in half and then each half into four equal pieces.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly dust it with flour. Place one dough on parchment (refrigerate the other pieces while rolling out dough) and then lightly dust with flour. Begin rolling dough in a circle, making sure to pick up and rotate the dough after each roll. Roll dough approximately 1/8 inch thick. Set this piece aside in the refrigerator while continuing to roll the remaining pieces of dough.
Place approximately a scant ¼ cup of the filling on the front half of the dough, leaving about ½ inch border. Lightly eggwash the edges of the dough and fold over the top half of the dough over the filling. Press the dough lightly with your fingertips. Using a knife or pastry wheel, trim the edges of the dough to make the dough even. Using a fork, press lightly on the edges to seal completely.
Lightly brush the dough with egg wash; sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until lightly golden, about 15 -20 minutes.
Makes about ½ cup
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and continue cooking, without stirring, until the caramel is a deep amber color. Remove from heat and carefully add the butter and heavy cream. Whisk until smooth. Allow to cool and drizzle over apple pies or serve as a dipping sauce.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)
6 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450º F
Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Place cut side down, in an oiled shallow baking pan. Bake squash in the middle of the oven, until tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and scoop out flesh and mash with a fork.
In a saucepan bring stock to a simmer and keep hot.
In another medium saucepan heat butter over medium heat until melted; add onion, garlic, and ginger root and cook, stirring, until softened. Stir in rice and cook over moderate heat, constantly stirring, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Stir in ½ cup stock and cook, stirring constantly, and keeping at a simmer throughout, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, constantly stirring and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente. Stir in butternut squash. Stir in chives and salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with the Parmesan and serve.