Friday, November 30, 2012

Tastes Like Pumpkin

During this fall season, we loved apple picking and apple cider donuts, carving pumpkins, throwing a Halloween party, and, of course, eating pumpkin pie! But before we even got to the pie, we discovered lots of pumpkin treats around town -- some of them were pumpkin pie flavored, but we found a handful of savory foods that sported the actual pumpkin in all it's glory.  Here are a few of our favorites.  We'd love to hear about yours as well!

Marcia & Kate

Pumpkin Parfait at Bar Boulud -- officially called the Cucurbite -- is a delicious layer of milk chocolate cream, pumpkin bread, sour cream sorbet and pumpkin foam.  The combination of the sweet pumpkin bread and the sour cream sorbet are really amazing. 

The next day I was inspired to make pumpkin bread at home, but not the sorbet to go with it. Instead, I made up a batch of pumpkin muffins, and topped them with Muirhead farms Pumpkin Pecan Butter from Williams-Sonoma.  I remembered eating delicious apple and pear butters my mom canned one summer and was happy to recreate those memories. The pumpkin in the muffins makes them nice and moist, and they were incredibly yummy when topped with the fall-spiced pumpkin butter.

Kate and I picked up a little baggie of four pumpkin-spiced marshmallows Sur La Table.  We didn't get them home to toast -- there were light and fluffy, and had just enough pumpkin pie flavor to get me hankering for Thanksgiving!

Ok, we were now on a quest to for pumkin-inspired foods, and back at Williams-Sonoma we found a jar of savory pasta sauce which we poured over spaghetti.  Truthfully, it was a little thick and a little bland, but topped with parmesan cheese turned it into a nice dinner.

Then, on a trip downtown we found a roasted pumpkin sandwich at Tom Collichio's sandwich place,  'wichcraft.  Imagine a fancy grilled cheese sandwich -- this one with mozzarella cheese, roasted pumpkin, hazelnut brown butter and sage. Wow!  It was the perfect lunch on a cold day.

In the middle of our pumpkin quest, we were scoope by the New York Times, which wrote an article on some of the wilder uses of pumpkin-spice flavors, include a Pringles potato chip version.  I can't say I'm sad I missed the opportunity to test that one!  (If you's te link to the article: NYTimes Pumpkin Flavors)

Life would not be worth living without a trip to the Time Warner Center to try on of the seasonal Bouchon Bakery Macarons.  I'm not sure we can completely describe how exquisite the pumpkin macaron was.  Unlike some of the other pumpkin-pie-flavored sweets we tried, this one tasted like an actual pie. I was almost tempted to top it with whipped cream, but I didn't want to spoil the perfect combination of creamy pumpkin pie cream sandwiched between two crunchy merangue cookies.  Heaven!

I was tempted to buy a dozen of the macarons for thanksgiving dinner, but decided to go the traditional route instead and make pie.  I found a new recipe on Epicurious and gave it a shot.  This one called for candied ginger, instead of ground ginger, and that slight variation added a subtle kick to the traditional pastry.  And yes, this one we topped with whipped cream.

It was fun to sample some new foods, explore some of the offerings NYC has in store, and end up back where we started, with something familiar and traditional, which is what pumpkin pie evokes for me.