Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweet pumpkin strudel

Last winter I made savory pumpkin strudel so this winter it was turn to make sweet pumpkin strudel.
Hokkaido is the pumpkin in question, no surprise here!

And as this pumpkin is delicious as it is I thought a bit of cinnamon, ground hazelnuts and sugar would be more than enough to add to the filling.

So the only thing left to "play" with was the strudel dough. I decided to add the spices I usually use when making Swedish gingerbread cookies (cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom) in the dough.
I just loved the idea of pumpkin being enclosed in dough that tastes like gingerbread. And as I have never seen a strudel with other than plane-wheat strudel dough I liked the idea even more.

However I was not sure if the gluten would like this spice addition, and if it would be possible to stretch the dough thinly. But it worked! I stretched it very thin without any problems. And the strudel, that stands for all the great things about the fall and winter, turned out fantastic!

Sweet pumpkin strudel

serves 6
450 gr Hokkaido pumpkin
1 dl toasted and ground hazelnuts
1/2 dl sugar
1/2 tsp ground cassia cinnamon

1,5 dl bread flour
1/2 tsp ground cassia cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil
4 tbsp warm water

2 tbsp melted butter for brushing the dough

Make the strudel dough and let it rest for an hour. When 30 minutes are left start preparing the filling. Wash the pumpkin, cut in half and clean from seeds. Cut each half in thicker slices and then cut each slices thinly. Add hazelnuts, sugar and cinnamon.

Preheat the oven 175 C. Stretch the strudel dough and brush with butter. Spread the pumpkin filling over half of the strudel sheet, leaving 5 cm around the edges. Fold in the edges and with help of the cloth roll the strudel.

Brush with butter and bake for about 50 minutes. This strudel tastes even better the next day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cooked quince and manchego

Small deviation from my Hokkaido-theme. I wrote about manchego cheese and quince paste tapas from Spain. The tapas was delicious, but I wanted to try serving the manchego cheese with slices of cooked quince. So as soon as the first quince were on the market I did it.

I cooked one quince and when it was cold I cut it in thin slices and served with manchego. Loved it! Quince slices are less sweeter (I did not use much sugar), less dense and much lighter in taste than the quince paste, so the perfect companion is manchego cheese that is mild taste, i.e. not aged very long.

Cooked quince
1 quince
1 dl sugar
5 dl water
pinch of salt

Put sugar, water and salt in a sauce pan and let it simmer until sugar is melted. In the mean time peel, core and cut quince in 8 thick slices. Put the slices in the sugar water, cover and cook on low heat until red, about 2 hours.

Pour the quince with the syrup in small bowl, make sure quince is covered with the syrup and let it cool completely. When cold cut in thin slices and serve on the top of manchego cheese. If you like drizzle some syrup over.

The syrup and left over quince can be added to milk rice, porridge...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin custard pudding

Yes, Hokkaido is my latest obsession. Last week I had Hokkaido, either at home or at work, every single day. It was prepared differently every time and I am still not tired of it.

I got the idea to make this custard after eating pumpkin pannacotta. I loved it, but I thought custard pumpkin could be easier, faster to make and probably more healthy alternative.

My idea was very simple, to add steamed and mashed Hokkaido pumpkin to vanilla custard. As easy as that and the result was super delicious.

Pumpkin custard pudding
serves 2
3 dl + 1 dl milk (or coconut milk)
half vanilla bean
1/2 tsp ground cassia cinnamon
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp sugar
200 gr Hokkaido pumpkin

Cut Hokkaido in cubes and steam for about 20 minutes. Set 4 pumpkin cubes aside for decoration, and mash the rest of the pumpkin with a fork. If you prefer smooth custard pass the mashed pumpkins through a strainer. OR if you have a blender just blend the pumpkin until smooth.

In a small bowl mix 1 dl milk, cinnamon, cornstarch and sugar. Pour the rest of the milk in a sauce pan, add scraped vanilla seeds and the pod, let everything boil. When it boils, take out the vanilla pod and add mashed pumpkin. Mix with a whisk, take of the cooker and turn of the cooker.
Add the cornstarch mixture and mix with a whisk, return the the cooker until the custard thickens, a minute or so, it should not boil. Pour into 2 bowls and let cool.

When cold decorate with steamed pumpkin cubes and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hokkaido pumpkin

The fall is here and so are the pumpkins. I love pumpkins, and this fall Hokkaido pumpkin is my favourite pumpkin. Hokkaido is amazing, no matter how you prepare it it turns out delicious.

It is Japanese and it is named after Hokkaido-island in Japan. I have never been to Japan but friends of ours who have say that Hokkaido island is really beautiful and its big agricultural area makes it quite different to the rest of Japan. Sounds very exotic to me!
My cinnamon buns with Hokkaido are super buns! But the most common way I eat Hokkaido is either oven-roasted or steamed, and seasoned with some honey and cinnamon. Both ways of preparing are equally delicious, but sometimes I feel for steamed and sometimes for oven-roasted.

Oven roasting takes some time but it brings out the sweetness and the flavour of the pumpkin. I cut the pumpkin in cubes and roast on 180 degrees for about 45 minutes. Nothing else needs to be added. And when is done I sprinkle some cinnamon and drizzle some honey over.

Steamed Hokkaido is more light in taste and the texture is almost like a custard. Cut it in cubes and steam for about 20 minutes. When done season with cinnamon and honey.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Cinnamon buns with pumpkin

Today is the "Cinnamon bun Day" in Sweden. Yes, there is a day in Sweden when you celebrate the cinnamon bun, i.e. bake/buy and eat/give away as much as you can.
Swedish cinnamon buns are made of sweet yeast dough that is filled with cinnamon, butter, sugar and sprinkled with nib sugar.

But as the pumpkin season is here I decided to twist the recipe just a tiny bit. I added steamed Hokkaido pumpkin to the filling. It worked really excellent, the buns were more than delicious!

This time I used dry organic yeast Bio Vegan and it worked excellent. I also used bread flour so maybe that was the reason why it worked better this time.

Cinnamon buns with pumpkin 
about 20 buns
80 gr butter
1,5 dl milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg, beaten
about 6 dl bread flour
6 tbsp sugar
9 gr dry organic yeast
1/4 tsp salt

250 gr steamed Hokkaido pumpkin
50 gr butter, room temperature
4 tbsp sugar
1,5 tsp ground Cassia cinnamon

1 egg

pinch of salt
100 gr almond flakes

Melt the butter, add the milk and cardamom. The mixture should me lukewarm. You do not want it to be hot as it will kill the yeast. Pour the warm liquid in a big bowl, add flour, beaten egg, sugar, yeast and blend well. Add salt and knead the dough until you have smooth, soft and not sticky dough. By hand it takes about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Cut the pumpkin in cubes. You do not have to peal Hokkaido pumpkin, the skin is edible. Steam for about 25 minutes. When done let it cool a bit and then mash with a fork. Add butter, sugar and cinnamon, blend well.

Roll out dough to a 30x40 cm rectangle. Spread the pumpkin filling evenly and starting at long side (40 cm) roll up the dough. Cut buns, about 2 cm wide and put them on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 225 C. Beat the egg together with salt and brush the buns. Sprinkle some almond flakes on the top and bake for about 12-15 minutes. These buns are best eaten the same day they are baked.