If I weren't an engineer-writer-decorator-photographer-aesthete, I might have been a baker.
I do love the pursuit of baking but I don't indulge myself as often as I'd like (who needs the calories?).
Over the holidays, I made my first proper Christmas pudding (a resounding success), but I also tried my hand at two pumpkin desserts which appeal to the non-lovers of chocolate in our family.
The first was this Pumpkin Ginger Roulade (a 5-star recipe from the Barefoot Contessa!) - a soft rolled pumpkin cake filled with crystallized ginger finely minced into mascarpone cream:
It was so lovely with vanilla ice cream and coffee, but I warn you, it is very, very rich!
I served it on a darling Limoges platter (one of my favorite things) that I bought at the Vanves flea market in Paris:
You can find the recipe here.
My next recipe is a definite family favorite:
~ Upside Down Pumpkin Cake with Cranberry & Pecan topping ~
I cannot say enough about this beautiful cake!
The recipe makes a soft moist pumpkin cake with a crunchy tart-sweet topping of beautiful cranberries and toasted pecans in a brown sugar-butter syrup. It is simply delicious served with whipped cream and coffee:
The original recipe calls for a 9x9 square pan, but I use a funnel pan...the wreath-like presentation is much much prettier for Christmas!
You can find the recipe, by pastry chef Emily Luchetti, here. Her book, A Passion for Desserts, is my favorite dessert cookbook.
I served the cake on my lovely pink and gold bone Limoges bird plates, which my mother gave me in October when I was home. Each of the six plates has a different bird, and the plates are very fine and appear to be quite old:
I think these two desserts make a lovely alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or Christmas!