Pumpkin Parfait with Salted Maple Granola: Big news!

PumpkinParfait.TheCubanReuben.comAvid readers of The Cuban Reuben may have noticed that it’s been a bit since I’ve last posted. Since embarking on this blogging journey nearly two (yikes!) years ago, I’ve prided myself in maintaining a pretty regular posting schedule. This level of commitment has certainly presented challenges along the way, whether they be from a harried work schedule or a lack of inspiration, but no challenge has been greater than the one that presented itself a few short months ago. And since this is a space where I share my thoughts freely, I thought it was only fair that I reveal what’s been keeping me away so long. I’ve got big news!

BigAnnouncement.TheCubanReuben.com

The official announcement we shared with our family and friends.

Yes, yours truly will be joining the ranks of matriarchs come May, and I could not be happier. Of course, that’s because I’ve finally emerged from the cloud of morning sickness that was plaguing me for quite some time. Forgive me, dear readers, for not wanting to step foot in my kitchen. Whomever labeled it “morning sickness” was totally off. “All-day sickness” is more accurate. While I still suffer through some serious aversions to food I normally love (read: Kale), I’m happy to report that the worst of it is behind me, and I am feeling pretty great. This means that I have slowly but surely ventured back in the kitchen in an effort to provide nourishment for my little pumpkin beyond the string cheese and saltines that carried me through my first trimester.

PumpkinParfait.2.TheCubanReuben.com

The pepitas are my favorite part of this granola.

My re-entry to the kitchen has been gradual at best, and my first attempt at something nutritious yielded great validation that “pregnancy brain” is a real thing.  While creating a delightfully seasonal granola flavor, I unintentionally added double the amount of salt I normally use. Of course, I didn’t realize my blunder until after I finished baking a giant batch. Not one to easily be defeated in the kitchen, I opted to rescue my recipe by not only pairing it with a sweet treat, but using the leftovers as a crunchy protein-rich topping for salads.

As a nod to my future little pumpkin, today’s recipe pairs the distinct flavors of spiced pumpkin pie with thick and tangy Greek yogurt. Together, they act as a natural vehicle for my salted maple granola, and are a not-too-sweet, super-fast way to start your day. If you’re looking for something sweeter and more indulgent, feel free to substitute whipped cream for the yogurt. I must admit that I’ve been quite averse to most sweet foods lately, so maybe this salty mix-up was no accident, after all! (wink, wink)

Pumpkin Pie Parfait with Salted Maple Granola
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 2
Prep time:
Total time:
 
Start your day off right with this healthy alternative that hits all the right cravings.
Ingredients
For the Granola
  • 2 Tbs and 2 tsp of organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
For the parfait
  • ½ cup of pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup (or more, if desired)
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 5.3oz container vanilla Greek yogurt
  • granola to taste
Instructions
For the granola
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan over low flame, heat the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, stirring constantly until salt and maple syrup have dissolved. Set aside.
  3. In a very large bowl, combine the oats and nuts. Drizzle the oil/syrup mixture over the oats and nuts, and stir until completely coated.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly over 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats, and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the sheets from the oven. Use a spatula to mix the oats, and re-spread them out evenly. Return the sheets to the oven, and alternate the sheet from the top and bottom racks. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Repeat the previous step every 10 minutes, until oats have reached desired level of browning (about 20-30 minutes).
  7. Remove sheets from the oven, and cool. Store in an airtight container.
For the parfait
  1. In a bowl, combine pumpkin, syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine.
  2. In a small glass, bowl, or other serving dish, layer pumpkin, yogurt, and granola. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator for later.
Notes
*The granola recipe makes quite a bit of granola. It also tastes great on a nice scoop of ice cream, or even as a crunchy salad topper.
*If salted granola is not your thing, feel free to reduce the amount of salt by half.
*For a sweeter, more indulgent treat, substitute whipped cream for the yogurt.

 

Pumpkin Flan: The perfect ending to any of Fall’s festive meals

Pumpkin Flan

Like many others, I am a sucker for the spices that accompany this time of year, and appreciate the warmth they bring to any dish. But pumpkin pie, in particular, with its creamy pumpkin custard speckled with warm cinnamon and nutmeg, encased in a flaky crust and dolloped with fresh whipped cream? Well, that is a can’t-miss dish for me, and I can’t imagine ending a festive fall meal without it. It’s no wonder that for generations, pumpkin pie has been the go-to dessert for American families.

That’s all about to change.

Several years ago, during one of our many get-togethers, my mom pulled a fast one on the family, and replaced our much beloved pumpkin pie with the less traditional pumpkin flan. And while there were many skeptics in the bunch (myself included), once they had a single taste of the creamy, rich flavor and burst of spice from a little orange-tinged bite of the pumpkin flan, there was simply no going back. The verdict was in. We had a new fall dessert! Since then, serious jeers abound if we get together in the fall, and there is no pumpkin flan in sight.

As featured on MyJewishLearning.com

A slice of the creamy pumpkin flan.

A slice of the creamy pumpkin flan.

I understand that flan, in general, is a polarizing dish. Trust me, I’ve tasted my fair share of egg-y, rock solid, just plain bad flan. But if you’ve never tried Cuban-style flan, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as its thick, creamy custard with sweet caramel sauce oozing down the sides, is more akin to a crust-less cheesecake than anything else. And when you combine that with the distinct flavors of fall that can only be found in a pumpkin pie, what results is an undeniably can’t-miss dish. It’s truly a perfect ending to any fall festive meal, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Shabbat, or in this year’s case, even Channukah. Promise.

Pumpkin Flan
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cuban
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
A perfect finish to any of Fall's festive meals.
Ingredients
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ½ can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbs water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and add your empty pan in the oven to warm.
  2. Mix first seven ingredients (from evaporated milk to salt) in a blender, and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, cook the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar becomes a deep amber color (about 15 minutes).
  4. Working quickly, remove the empty pan from the oven, and pour in the now melted sugar. Swirl the pan around, so the sugar covers the entire bottom of the pan. Pour in the milk and egg mixture over the caramelized sugar.
  5. Insert the now full pan into a larger pan, and fill the larger pan about half-way up with water (a water bath).
  6. Return the flan pan and water bath to the oven, and bake for about 70-80 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove the flan pan from the water bath, and set on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  8. When you are ready to serve the flan, run a knife along the edge of the pan, place a rimmed serving platter over the pan, and invert it. The flan should fall easily, and the caramel sauce will coat the top and run along the sides.
  9. Serve immediately
Notes
I recommend using a 9-inch metal cake pan.

 

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