Officially, my favorite season is Spring, but each year I find myself more appreciative of Fall, and the distance between the two seasons gets shorter. After hot and sticky North Carolina summers, those first cool and crisp days of Fall are a delight! I don't know about you all, but I've been sleeping with my windows open for the past month and actually using my down comforter, and it's heavenly! Other than the change in climate, for me Fall is a time for college football, baseball, the State Fair, and changing leaves. Speaking of changing leaves, I read yesterday that this year's colors are "among the most beautiful in recent years."
But you can't talk about Fall without talking about the food -- my favorites are pumpkins and apples, especially of the Honeycrisp variety! So today, I'm going to share two recipes with you. The first is a Pumpkin Torte, which has replaced our traditional Pumpkin Pies at Thanksgiving. It is delicious and impressive -- your guests will think that you were in the kitchen for hours! The second recipe is for Baked Apples, cooked in a crock pot, which is certain to become a staple in your household's menu.
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or canned), divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
16 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, and remaining pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice; beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat layers three times. Drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
2 tablespoons orange liqeur (optional)
Preheat a large crock-pot on high heat and preset it for 3 hours. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, margarine, and cinnamon. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in the crock-pot. Pour in the apple juice or cider and the liquor, if using. Cover and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high heat until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.
Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to firstname.lastname@example.org.