Autumn has arrived. And along with weather patterns shifting and leaves changing colors, this season signals so many more of my favorite things. Including edible treats, of course! You’ll find all sorts of flavors of the fall season like pumpkin, squash, apples, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Here are some of my favorite recipes to jumpstart the season.
Pecan pie is a big hit with my family. And this is my go-to recipe to make an irresistible version of a classic. It’s from Sweet Serendipity: Delicious Desserts and Devilish Dish – a cookbook with recipes from the world-famous eatery in New York, Serendipity (a hot touristy spot which, despite the potential for crowds, is worth a visit; just don’t be counting any calories).
Serendipity’s Pecan Pie
Make your own pie crust from stratch or get one ready-made from the grocery store. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk 4 large eggs to loosen them. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup light corn syrup, and whisk until blended. Stir in 2 cups of pecan halves (about half a pound); stir in most of them, reserving the best-looking pieces. Pour the pecan mixture into the pie crust. Arrange the remaining pecans on the top for the best presentation. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from oven. Be very careful because the pie filling will be extremely hot. Brush yolk from 1 large egg over the entire surface of the pie and return to the oven for 30 more minutes. Then, remove from oven and let cool on a rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate or store at room temperature until completely set (at least 4 hours). Slice and serve. If there are any leftovers (which is unlikely at my house), store at room temperature.
Straight from one of my favorite cookbooks – Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking – this recipe for Sweet Corn Spoonbread is as a spoonfully-delicious as it sounds. It’s the consistency of bread pudding but with the hearty taste of cornbread.
Sweet Corn Spoonbread
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart baking dish and set aside. Put 1 cup cornmeal in a large bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over cornmeal while whisking constantly. Takes about 30 seconds to get a smooth, thick mixture. Immediately whisk in 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter (at room temperature). Whisk it together with 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking power until blended. Then, add 3 large eggs, beaten. Stir in about 1 cup of fresh corn kernels cut from 1 large ear of corn. Pour the corn batter into the baking dish. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the edges are brown and the pudding is set. Using a large spoon, scoop out servings and serve with soft butter.
Dress up your typical apple cider with this great find from Taste of Home. By adding lemon, orange slices, honey or various spices, you can create your own custom beverage. This easy-to-make Mulled Apple Cranberry Cider is a treat for an autumn dinner party or just a quiet evening at home with the family.
Mulled Apple Cranberry Cider
In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of apple cider or apple juice, 2 cups of cranberry juice (preferably 100% juice) and 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar. Place 4 whole cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks on cheesecloth and tie the corners together with string to create a bag (but if you don’t have cheesecloth, you can put in the spices loose and then remove them with a slotted spoon or strainer before serving). Add spice bag to pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then, reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Discard your spice bag. Ladle into your favorite mug and let cool. Then sip and enjoy.
Cooler weather also puts soups and stews back on the menu. I just found 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley. She had me at slow cooker. But then I discovered it contains recipes for Indian Spice Tomato Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup, Minestrone and Spiced Apple Pie Soup. Needless to say, I’ll be trying a few. Break out your crock pot and report back about your favorites. Don’t hold back. Share your favorite autumn recipe in the comments below.
Go eat, drink and be merry! _ Meredith
Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.