Let’s celebrate a holiday where everyone, even the turkeys, can enjoy…
Let’s be thankful for all the great things in our lives – today and every day.
I have been meaning to develop a recipe for a Pumpkin Tres Leches for several years now. After few failed attempts, I knew I needed to come up with a new recipe. A cake that would soak up all the milks like a sponge… a SPONGE!!!! That was the key!!! I needed to develop a sponge cake recipe without using eggs.
Chia Seeds were the key… they worked even better than my usual and trusted egg-replacer. Chia seeds, as I have shared previously, are full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, anti-oxidants and even calcium. And they work perfectly to substitute eggs in recipes because they gelatinize when they come in contact with liquids so they rise the batter they’re added to.
And why call it a Pumpkin Cuatro Leches, or 4 milks, instead of the usual Tres Leches? Because traditional Tres Leches cakes are soaked in a mixture of fresh milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk but have a meringue topping. Our version still is filled with the sweet flavors of the traditional 3 milks, but used a whipped cream topping, making the heavy cream the 4th milk in the recipe.
I tested and tested this recipe and it now has a following among the taste testers… hope you also join the group.
PUMPKIN CUATRO LECHES CAKE
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour ½ cup brown sugar 1 ½ tsp baking powder 2 tsp chia seeds 2 tbs butter, melted 2/3 cups milk, I use 2% 1/3 cup fresh pumpkin, steamed and mashed ½ tsp vanilla powder ½ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
6 oz fresh 2% milk 6 oz evaporated milk 6oz sweetened condensed milk
For the topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream 3 tbs condensed milk 1 tsp vanilla powder ½ tsp grown cinnamon, to decorate
It seems like a lot of ingredients… but it’s a really easy recipe to make. I use a rectangular baking dish 8” x 6” x 2” or a round 8” cake pan. And I also make this recipe in my toaster oven. I believe this recipe is co chuck full of flavor and sweetness that a little bit goes a long way. Although I do know a few that could easily eat a whole Pumpkin Cuatro Leches cake in one sitting… no problem, you all shall remain nameless.
If you want to double this recipe, you certainly can… and you can use a 9” x 13” baking dish. By going larger on the pan, you’ll probably need a larger oven and to increase the cooking time to 30 minutes and allow the cake to rest inside the hot oven for an additional 30 minutes, for a total 1 hour in the oven. For the 3 milk mixture you can just mix a can of evaporated milk a can of condensed milk and the same amount of one of those cans of fresh milk. With that, you’ll have the perfect amount of milk to soak your cake.
I prefer to use evaporated and condensed milks that come in UHT packaging instead of cans, but I understand they’re difficult to come by. So if you can find them near you, by all means use them. Just make sure you have equal amounts of milks and the total amount should be between 18 and 20 ounces of liquid to soak the cake well.
I am not sure if I’m doing Thanksgiving with the family this year… my family on this side is very thin and they all have their own thing going. I may even accept an invitation to do Thanksgiving in the BVIs.
And it got me thinking of all those people out there that do Thanksgiving by themselves… or just with a partner or a family member. Those people, who like me, have their bulk of the family far away from them. My friend Sue reminded me that not everyone has or likes to cook Thanksgiving for tons of people. Sometimes it’s just you. And that’s also something to be thankful for…
I’ve done and practiced this recipe only for myself… so why adapt it to make for more people?? I’ll share it for just one person, but YOU can feel free to multiply it for as many people in your dinner party. It’s indeed something to indulge and maybe even use up any leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.
Regardless of how I decide to celebrate Thanksgiving this year… and celebrate I will, I already know I can capture all the flavors and feelings of Thanksgiving in this bowl.
Roasted Pumpkin Orzo with Goat Cheese and Cranberries
1/3 cup whole grain orzo pasta 2 cups of pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes 3 ounces goat cheese, divided 3-4 Sage leaves, fresh or dried Olive oil Salt and Pepper to taste ¼ cup dried cranberries
3. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Orzo cooks very quickly… Drain most of the water, but not all. I do not use a colander for this; I just strain most of the water thru the pot cover. The water left will help create the sauce.
4. Add the remaining goat cheese to the pasta. Stir well to combine, melt the cheese and create a sauce. Add the roasted pumpkin pieces with the toasted goat cheese. You can save a few pieces to use for garnish if you’d like. Add the dried cranberries. Mix all the components well.
5. Serve using the reserved pieces of pumpkin and goat cheese and maybe a few extra cranberries too.
It’s quick… and almost needs no tending to. It’s a great pasta dish to enjoy during Thanksgiving or to use up some pumpkins you may still have left from Halloween, huh??
The cranberries might sound funky to you, but they balance out the tanginess and savory aspects of the goat cheese and the sage. I might add some toasted nuts next time to see how that plays up. But for now, it’s delish!!!
In Puerto Rico, these pumpkin fritters are called “barriguitas de vieja” or “old lady bellies”… I just think that name is a tad discriminatory. Who said all old ladies bellies are sweet and wrinkly??? I am sure some old bellies out there are not sweet… LOL!!!!! I am so lame, I laugh at my own jokes…
Enjoy these, which are super delicious regardless of my bad jokes.
PUERTO RICAN PUMPKIN FRITTERS
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon A few grates of fresh nutmeg ½ tsp salt 1 ½ tsp egg replacer + 2 tbs water Canola Oil for frying
5. In a frying pan add about 1 inch oil to fry these fritters over medium-high heat… wait until the oil has reached temperature before adding the first one. I usually check if the oil is ready by inserting the back side of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil bubbles around it, the oil is ready.
6. Using 2 spoons create little mounds of batter to fry. My mom likes to spread them a bit once they’re in the pan so they’re not too thick and they fry faster. Once they’re golden brown on one side, flip them over to fry on the other side.
7. Once they’re cooked and golden brown on both sides, take them out and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
When they’ve cooled off a bit, enjoy one after the other. You’ll see they’re addictive…
Someone over on Facebook was discussing which desserts everyone was making for Thanksgiving… and someone mentioned pumpkin cheesecake. I immediately knew that would be my dessert of choice this year.
Plus… I had pumpkin my Titi Carmín gave me and I wanted to use it all in my Thanksgiving cooking. I used part in my Pumpkin and Spinach Phyllo Pie and the rest of the mashed pumpkin in my Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters.
This recipe is an adaptation of 2 recipes I saw on the internet… I mostly followed Martha Stewart’s recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake, but I adapted the recipe to make it vegetarian without using eggs and used fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin.
My springform pan is super small – I use a 4 ½” pan – and I use my toaster oven to bake it, I also had to adapt the times given in the original recipes. Because most of you guys probably have regular springform pans and will need to bake this in your regular large ovens, I will give you the original recipe proportions, temperatures and times. If you would like my adapted size, temps and times for using a toaster oven, let me know and I will gladly include too. OK???
EGGLESS PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
10 graham crackers ¼ cup brown sugar 4 tbs butter, melted 4 packs of cream cheese 1 ¼ cups brown sugar 1 tbs cornstarch 1 cup pumpkin puree 1 cup sour cream 1 tbs cinnamon A few grates of fresh nutmeg 1 tbs vanilla powder ½ tsp salt 6 tsp egg replacer + 8 tbs water
I actually ¼ the ingredients in this recipe and It gave me enough batter and crust to make 2 cheesecakes in my 4 1/2” pan. Because I made in the toaster oven, as I saw no need to turn on a large oven for such a small pan, I had to adjust the cooking times because it does not need as much time in the oven as for a larger pan.
The end result is a delicious, delicious cheesecake. This is certainly a winner in my book… a recipe that will stay in my Thanksgiving and Fall repertoire for years to come.