Monday, October 8, 2012

Crunchy Pumpkin Crumble Cake

Here is The Deliciousness!
It's that time of year again, when it starts to get cold outside, and the festive family meals begin inside.  Pumpkins are ripe and ready for the picking, and they always make their way into a handful of recipes around home.  For Thanksgiving this year (go Canada!), instead of a traditional pumpkin pie, I wanted to try something different again.  Last year I made a pumpkin torte (to rave reviews!), and this year I wanted to venture out again to find something equally awesome.  I combined bits and pieces of a couple of different recipes to put my own twist on them, and in the end I  finished with this wonderfully crunchy pumpkin crumble cake.  Here is the final recipe that I used.  Try it for yourself, and try to tell me you don't love it!


Base ingredients
Crunchy Base
1 cup finely ground vanilla cookies (I used Nilla wafers)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 lb. melted butter (unsalted)

Pumpkin filling ingredients
Pumpkin Filling
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 can condensed milk
1 1/2 white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon salt

Topping ingredients
Crumble Top
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 or 4 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)


The crunchy base, all packed and ready
Now, the first part is to make the base.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  
  2. Using a food processor, grind up the cookies.  Transfer to a larger bowl.
  3. Next, grind up the walnuts, so that they are a coarse grind (in other words, not nearly as fine as the cookies.  You want pieces so the base is crunchy!)  Add to the cookies in the bowl.
  4. Add the brown sugar to the cookies and walnuts.
  5. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 45 seconds should do it) and add that to the bowl as well.
  6. Mix everything up really well, so that there aren't any dry areas in the bowl.
  7. Now transfer to a 9"x13" pan, and press down to form the base.

Next, make the pumpkin filling.

  1. In a second large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, pumpkin spice, sugar, and salt.  Mix well using a whisk.
  2. When thoroughly mixed, pour on to the top of the walnut/cookie base.

The pumpkin layer, with cake mix partially added
Finally, prepare the crumble top.

  1. Simply sprinkle the yellow cake mix on to the top of the pumpkin mixture, and then pat it down with a spoon to compact it.  Don't squish it down too far into the pumpkin!  The cake mix will absorb moisture from the pumpkin and cook.  Here's a tip:  if you want a thinner cake/crumble top layer, don't use the whole box.  I used about 2/3 of a box and was quite happy with it.
  2. Sprinkle the ground walnuts on to the top of the cake layer.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave, and randomly drizzle it over the cake and walnut topping.

Cook it!

    Just before going into the oven
  1. Put the cake in the preheated oven at 350 F, and cook it until a toothpick comes out dry from the center. This could take from 60 to 90 minutes.  Personally, I think I prefer it cooked longer rather than shorter.  Taking it out too early may mean that you end up with a slightly soggy (but still delicious!) cake.  More time in the oven will crisp up the top cake layer, though make sure you don't over do it and burn it!

Options and Recommendations:
Is it even necessary to recommend that this be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream topping?  I didn't think so... do it!

I had no idea how this cake was going to turn out, but I was extremely pleased with it!  I think a very important thing to keep in mind is that the "crunch" in the name comes from the walnuts in the base and on the top, so make sure you don't over-grind them into too fine of a powder.  Also, as I mentioned above, cooking it longer than you think is necessary will probably mean that your cake layer is really well-cooked and 'cakey'.  Personally, I think that I undercooked mine a touch, though everyone that was eating it thought otherwise.  Hey, I'm the cook, so I can be critical of my own work!  Since this recipe is really a combination of a couple of other pumpkin recipes, and I wasn't sure what to expect or even if it would be any good in the end, I have taken to calling this my Thanksgiving Pumpkin Disaster Cake.  However, if you try it, I am very confident that you will agree that this recipe deserves a place at the holiday dinner table.

Saturday, March 27, 2010



Ingredients for the Batter:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • Powdered sugar and cinnamon to garnish

  • Bring to a boil the butter in a pot with 1 cup of water.
  • Add flour and mix into a ball with wooden spoon. 
  • Add each egg separately and mix into dough mixture. 
  • Using a squeeze bag, squeeze wormlike batter into a hot fryer and remove when browned. 
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon mixture on top.
Pictures to come!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

This recipe is surely going to make you a crowd pleaser! Substitute this dessert for your traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and no one will mind!


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup Christie Honey Maid Graham Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • Melt the butter
  • Pour the crumbs and sugar into your 9 inch pie plate. Pour the melted butter on top, mix together and press into the bottom of the plate.
  • Optionally, you can bake at 375°F for 8 minutes.
  • For a twist to this crust mix, why not grind up some Oreo cookies? If you use Oreo cookies, then don't worry about adding sugar or butter!
Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of Cream Cheese (Kraft's Philadelphia works best)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned puree pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • preheat oven to 250° F
  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar and vanilla; mix at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Put aside one cup of this cream cheese mixture (for swirling). To the remainder of the mixture, add the pumpkin puree, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Mix well.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Then pour the remaining cream cheese mixture that we put aside onto the top of the mixture we just added. Using a butter knife, swirl the batter several times without touching the crust for a marbled effect.
  • Bake for 75 minutes or until set.

  • You can substitute spiced pumpkin pie puree for the pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
  • When making this dessert, I tend to make it the day before so that I can leave it covered in the fridge overnight. This gives the cake a good consistency.
  • Use a circular 9 inch springform pan (I use this one from Paderno).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Poached Eggs with Salmon and Avocado

This recipe makes a great, protein-rich breakfast... if you can afford the time first thing in the morning! (That's not to say it takes a long time, just more than pouring a bowl of cereal!) My taste-tester had her doubts when I told her, but was quickly convinced that this recipe deserves to be made again (and again).

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large piece of smoked salmon tip
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices of bread
  • Fresh chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste

  • Egg poachers
  • Knife
  • Pot or frying pan to boil water for poaching eggs.

  1. First, set a pan or pot with water to boil at a nice rolling boil speed (so you don't have to wait later for it!)
  2. Next, make the sauce. Add the components of the sauce together in a small mixing bowl, and mix until it is thoroughly blended. Set aside for later.
  3. When the water is ready at a slow boil, break the eggs into lightly oiled egg poachers, and set them in the water. Cover, and cook for approximately 4 minutes. This should cook the whites of the eggs, while leaving the yolk mostly runny. Cook longer if you prefer it more hard-boiled. Remove the poachers from the water when the time is up. In the meantime...
  4. Toast 4 pieces of bread.
  5. Cut the avocado into 4 pieces, and remove the rind and seed. Cut each quarter into several slices, and lay the slices from each quarter on to each of the 4 pieces of toast.
  6. Chop the red onion into small, thin slices, and lay as many slices are you wish on the top of the avocado layer.
  7. Next to add is the salmon. I prefer to buy a single large piece from the supermarket, and I break it into 4 quarters and crumble the quarters over the avocado and onions. (See my note below for a variation.)
  8. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the sauce over the salmon. Again, add as much as your taste desires.
  9. Remove the poached eggs from the poachers by using a knife to loosen the edges and then flipping the whole thing upside down over the salmon. The eggs should fall out easily.
  10. Finally top the whole thing with a sprinkle of fresh green onions, and salt and pepper to taste.
For a more complex and fancy variation, try purchasing larger filets of smoked salmon. Instead of crumbling it over the avocado, use a medium-sized piece to wrap the poached egg, and place the whole thing over the rest.

Also, if you don't have egg poachers, you can poach the eggs directly in the boiling water. The trick is to not have it rapidly boiling, and to add a splash of white vinegar to the water. The vinegar ensures that the egg whites don't just spread out everywhere in the water, but rather that they coagulate as a whole piece. For the same reason, a minimum amount of boiling helps as well... you need it hot enough to cook, but not so rapidly boiling that the bubbles destroy the eggs to bits! (Unfortunately, I know this from experience!)

Homemade Lemon Curd

This excellent recipe for lemon curd makes a great dessert topping. My mom prepares several batches every year around Christmas. It is best served in mini tart shells, but in our family it has been known to top bread/toast in mornings as well. Surprisingly, I have found that several people have not known about this type of food creation, so for the curious, check out the wiki page here. For the rest, here's how you make it. :)

  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 2 + 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • Grated lemon rind from 2 lemons
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • Double boiler
  • Medium bowl
  • Fork or whisk
  • Jam jars
  1. Whisk the eggs in the bowl until they are mixed well.
  2. Add the sugar, lemon rind and juice and mix some more.
  3. Add the butter to the mixture, and mix it again.
  4. Transfer the whole mixture to a double boiler. Periodically stir the mixture, and cook it until the butter has melted and it has achieved a nice, thick consistency.
  5. Remove from the heat, and transfer to jam jars to store it, if you wish.
From experience, it is best to do all of the mixing ahead of transferring to the double boiler. Nothing ruins the batch more than bits of cooked egg white floating around (though it still tastes good... just looks a bit weird). Try the recipe out, and let us know what you think! We hope you enjoy it.


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