From time to time, Chow Bella's contributors challenge one another to a showdown: Make the best dish you can, using one common ingredient. This time (naturally), it was pumpkin. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the results, and at the end, we'll let you know who won.
Today, we begin with our resident pastry chef, Rachel Miller, who set the bar high.
Sweater weather is my favorite time of year. Phoenicians can open their windows and let the cool breeze chill the house while the scent of roasting pumpkins envelopes us in fall. My scarf collection makes an appearance. Patios are now the prime seating location in coffee shops and restaurants, when just one month ago they were deserted with actual tumbleweeds bowling through.
It's time to get serious about the pumpkin and there has been a lot of trash talk around the Chow Bella offices.
Roasting pumpkins is easy, and in my opinion, it makes a huge difference in your pumpkin edibles. Check out my Sugar Rush column for a how to roasting and pureeing guide.
I changed up the regular pumpkin pie with a tart shell in lieu of pie crust. You can always fit a pie crust into a tart shell, if you want the flaky with a sexier look. I went with tart shell here.
That recipe on the label of canned pumpkin puree works perfectly, with a few changes.
-Use homemade pumpkin puree. Trust me when I say that it does make a huge difference. Plus, bragging rights at that holiday potluck. -Sub brown sugar for the granulated, as it adds some more depth of flavor. -Up the amount of spices a little, especially the ginger. -Add some bourbon or rum. It's amazing!
For the topping, I did marshmallow crème, flavored with a bit of fall spices and some bourbon.
3 each egg whites ½ tsp cream of tartar 1/3 cup water 5 ounces of granulated sugar 8 ounces of corn syrup 1 to 2 tsp fall spices 3 tsp bourbon
In a pot, combine water, granulated sugar and corn syrup. Combine and make sure no sugar granules remain on the side of the pot (wash down with a bit of water if needed). Place over medium-high heat and place a candy thermometer in the pot. The sugar mixture needs to get to 240° F, or soft ball.
When the sugar is close to soft ball stage, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixer with the whip attachment and start whipping. The egg whites need to reach soft peak. If your egg whites reach soft peak before your sugar is ready, stop the mixer.
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When the sugar is ready, start your mixer once again, on low, and slowly pour your sugar mixture into the egg whites. Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer up on high and allow the marshmallow crème to come together. When light and fluffy, sprinkle some fall spice and bourbon in and mix to combine.
Top your cooled pumpkin pie with marshmallow crème. Torch the marshmallow crème with a kitchen torch.
Put on your eating pants and chow like a champion.