Pumpkin Treats

Seasonal cooking becomes more fun when I try to come up with culinary treats to honor the holidays. As we head into the fall and winter holidays, add these delicious, decadent and unique recipes to your repertoire.


This is truly for special occasions only, so start with Halloween! From The Good Stuff Cookbook: Burgers, fries, shakes, wedges, and more by Spike Mendelsohn (Wiley). In this book, Spike takes all-American comfort food and spices it up. The recipes offer a fast, fun and completely fresh approach to classics. After making these, you’ll be counting the days until the next special occasion!

1 (5-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups creamy vanilla ice cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

Whipped cream (1 cup chilled heavy cream beaten until almost stiff, gradually add 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until mixed, then add 1 teaspoon vanilla)

Add the pumpkin puree, ice cream, milk, cracker crumbs, and pumpkin pie spice to a blender and blend until smooth and silky, about 30 seconds. Pour into 4 (8-ounce) glasses. Garnish each with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 4.


Carla is an Italian chef from New Jersey known for her fabulous Italian food. Her birthday falls on Halloween, so this was the perfect mix of pudding-to-cake-to- rum-soaked raisins for a fall treat that you can’t go wrong with! The cake keeps well for several hours in the refrigerator. From The Good Stuff Cookbook; Burgers, fries, shakes, wedges, and more by Spike Mendelsohn (Wiley).

1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Half of a 7-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding

Spice Cake:
1 3/4 cups flour, plus more for the pan
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan, softened
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup dark rum
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup pine nuts

Whipped Cream:
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Prepare pudding: Mix together pie filling, milk, condensed milk and vanilla pudding in a large bowl and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour or until firm. To make the cake, in a large bowl, beat together the flour, brown sugar, milk, butter, eggs, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg with an electric mixer. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the rum and the raisins in a bowl, and let soak for 30 minutes. Preheat the broiler and spread the pine nuts on a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.

Whip the cream with an upright mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or a handheld electric beater until almost stiff. Gradually add the sugar, beating until well mixed. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and beat until the cream holds peaks. Chill until ready to use.

When cake is cook, drain the raisins and set aside. Break up the cake into pieces and layer the pudding, whipped cream, and cake pieces evenly in a trifle bowl, arranging the layers so they are visible. Garnish with the pine nuts and raisins over the top. Serves 8.


What’s in Your Pantry by Debbi Dubbs (Trafford Publishing) is an easy to follow guide to keeping your pantry stocked with basic ingredients, enabling you to create delicious dishes with or without a recipe. Here is one basic recipe for a quick and easy treat.

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, etc.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries or other dried frit
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, baking spice, and salt. Stir in cranberries and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, sugar, and oil; add pumpkin puree and mix just until blended. Spread mixture into a 9-x11-inch pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

To prepare frosting: in a small bowl, add sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk stirring until you have a smooth mixture. Cut the bars and place them on a cooling rack over a piece of parchment paper, and drizzle the frosting on. Let set for a few minutes.

For more recipes, visit www.cookingwithsheilah.com.