Posts tagged ‘pumpkin’

Pumpkin Flan

Do you like flan?

It’s super popular in Japan (they call it “pudding” though, not flan), but it seems like you don’t see it all that often in the U.S. Of course you can buy flan, and I’ve seen mixes for it, but it’s not really on the same level as things like chocolate chip cookies, cake, or brownies here.

That’s too bad, because it really is delicious. My husband loves flan. It’s one of his favorite desserts. Sometimes we had it in Japan at restaurants and such, but I’d never actually made it myself before.

If you’ve been reading my posts the past couple of weeks, then you know I’ve been on a pumpkin kick. Well, in an attempt to make some new pumpkin dishes, I decided to make pumpkin flan, and it was definitely a success.

I found a recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, and decided to try it out. I halved the recipe and adjusted a few things for my version though.

One thing I should have done was bake it in a smaller dish. I used a square 2-quart baking dish, which was a little too big for the amount I made, so my flan was a tad on the thin side. Because of that I recommend either using a smaller baking dish or doubling the recipe.

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, mix together 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and a dash of salt. Stir in 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, and mix well (not pictured).
In another bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream.


Pour the egg/cream mixture into the pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth.


Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.


When it turns a rich brown color, and starts bubbling, remove it from the heat, pour it into the baking dish, and very quickly spread it around the bottom of the dish evenly. You have to be really quick with this, because as soon as it’s off the heat, it’ll start turning hard.


Pour the custard into the baking dish over the caramel. Set the baking dish into a deep roasting pan, and fill up the pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Bake until the custard sets, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator to cool.


Run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Place a large serving dish wrong-side up on top of the baking dish. Carefully hold both the serving and baking dish and flip them so that the flan comes out onto the serving plate.
Cut it into pieces and serve.

You can serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, but it’s great just by itself.


Pumpkin Flan

(serves 4)

  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the pumpkin puree, and mix well.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and cream. Pour the egg/cream mixture into the pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth.
  4. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cook until it melts and turns a rich brown color, and starts bubbling. Remove from heat, pour it into the baking dish, and very quickly spread around the bottom of the dish evenly.
  5. Pour custard into the baking dish over the caramel. Set the baking dish into a deep roasting pan, and fill up the pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the custard sets, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator to cool.
  6. Run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Place a large serving dish wrong-side up on top of the baking dish. Carefully hold both the serving and baking dish and flip them so that the flan comes out onto the serving plate. Cut it into pieces and serve.

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


October 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Pumpkin Lasagna

I’m on a roll with the pumpkin recipes this season.

I’ve made some yearly favorites (pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin French toast, etc.), and I’ve also made some new favorites, namely pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin flan. I’m saving my pumpkin cheesecake for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I also have a few more pumpkin foods I want to try making. I’m thinking pumpkin scones, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread pudding, and maybe some pumpkin granola…

Poor apples. They’re being so looked over by me this fall. Don’t worry my pretty apples, I will soon turn my attention to you as well.

Anyway, I really wanted to make something savory with pumpkin, other than pumpkin soup, and I decided pumpkin lasagna sounded pretty awesome. I couldn’t find a recipe online that I liked though, so I ended up making my own with very satisfying results.

Instead of pumpkin puree, I wanted to you slices of roasted pumpkin, so I turned to my absolute favorite pumpkin, kabocha. I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but kabocha is also known as Japanese pumpkin. It looks similar to acorn squash, but with more of a small pumpkin shape with a green outer skin and bright orange flesh on the inside. It’s one of sweetest types of squash out there and very delicious. You can usually find it at Asian grocery stores and places like Whole Foods and Central Market. If you can’t find any, feel free to use acorn squash or butternut squash, but I encourage you to try out kabocha. It really is tasty.

The kabocha I sliced and baked on a baking sheet with some olive oil, dried sage, and salt and pepper until tender. You don’t have to peel kabocha (the outer peeling, more like a rind really, is edible, and tastes the same as the orange inside)

For the sauce, I made a bechamel, or white sauce. Basically just butter, flour, and milk. I cooked the butter until it browned, however, and then added some dried sage (sage goes great with most winter squashes and sweet potatoes) before adding the flour and milk.

For the cheeses, I used large curd cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese (it doesn’t really matter which you use though), grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (the last is amazing with sweet winter squashes and sweet potatoes). Yes, I used four kinds of cheese in this lasagna. That’s how awesome it is.

I used oven ready lasagna noodles, because they just make life so much simpler, and I topped off the lasagna with some pumpkin seeds/pepitas.

This is a vegetarian dish, but not really what I would call a “light” dish. It’s a nice change from regular lasagna though, and a delicious treat for welcoming the Fall/Winter seasons. And it has four kinds of cheeses in it. Come on, you can’t go wrong with that. You know I’m right.


Pumpkin Lasagna

(serves 5 – 6)

  • 1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles (you won’t use the entire box)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 whole kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container large curd cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1  tsp. dried sage
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • salt and pepper
  • plain pepitos (pumpkin seeds) for sprinkling on top
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Scoop the seeds out of the kabocha. Cut off any brown, rough spots on the outside of the squash. Thinly slice the kabocha about 1/2 centimeter in thickness, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add 1 tsp. dried sage, and add dash of salt and pepper on top. Toss the slices to coat them. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and egg. Mix everything until well combined.
  3. In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 1 tsp. dried sage and continue cooking the butter just until it starts to brown. Sprinkle in the flour, mix until a paste forms, and continue cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes (you want to cook the flour, but you don’t want it to brown). Gradually pour in the milk, a little at a time, while whisking vigorously. Raise the temperature to med-high, and continue whisking until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Remove from heat, and season with salt to taste.
  4. In a deep, 2 quart casserole dish, add a little bit of the sauce, and spread it around the bottom of the dish evenly. On top of that, layer lasagna noodles, half of the kabocha slices, half of the cottage cheese mixture, 2/3 c. of the mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 c. of the Gorgonzola cheese. Repeat with noodles, sauce, the remaining kabocha slices, the remaining cottage cheese mixture, 2/3 c. mozzarella cheese, 1/4 c. Gorgonzola cheese, noodles, the last of the sauce, the last 2/3 c. mozzarella cheese, and then sprinkle with pepitos.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400° F for 20 – 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 – 20 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Let cool 5 – 10 minutes before serving.




October 12, 2012 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Pumpkin Bread

Once again, I know I’m kinda jumping the gun here with Fall, but…

I just really wanted some pumpkin bread.

I always start dreaming of Fall in August. Cool, crisp weather. Red, orange, and yellow leaves. The faint smell of smoke in the air from people’s fireplaces. The flavors of crisp apples and rich pumpkin. The smell of bread (and other goodies) baking filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Ah, I love Fall.

Of course, I have a feeling there isn’t a whole lot of cool crisp weather, colored leaves, or wood smoke from chimneys in the fall here in Houston. Alas. I can still enjoy the flavors of Fall though!

If like me, you find yourself wanting a preview of Fall, try this bread. It’s easy and quick (thus, quick bread, harhar!), and smells wonderful while it’s baking.
Go ahead. Who says you can’t have pumpkin goodies in August? Certainly not I.

Pumpkin Bread

(makes one loaf)

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. sugar or sucunat
  • 2/3 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. allspice
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Grease or spray a regular loaf pan.
  2. In a medium size bowl, add the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and egg together. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and mix well. Mix in the nuts.
  4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 1 hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. [note: if bread starts to brown too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil to prevent top from burning]
  5. Cool on a wire rack.

350 1 hr

August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

I know early spring seems an odd time of year to be baking pumpkin muffins, but early March is generally still cold enough in many places (Not you Hawaii. Curse your continuously warm weather, white beaches, and delicious Mai Tais) that one can still enjoy the tastes and smells of winter (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and pumpkin? Yes, please).

The great thing about these muffins is that they’re made with 100% whole wheat flour, yet are still moist and delicious as muffins should be. Don’t tell your kids they’re healthy muffins, and they’ll think they’re getting a real treat for breakfast.

I added raisins and chopped walnuts, as that’s my personal preference, but feel free to add whatever you want to them (chocolate chips anyone?), of leave the add-ins out all together for you purists.

These are great by themselves, with butter and honey, or with my new favorite, yogurt cheese (i.e. yogurt that’s been drained of all its whey, the liquid part, until you’re left with a soft creamy cheese tasting similar to cream cheese, but with a yogurt-y tang). These would also be great with apple butter now that I think about it.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

(makes about 24 regular size muffins)

  • 1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour (I like to use white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. sucanat, honey, or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 c. pumpkin
  • 2/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Spray or grease 2, 12 muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, combine, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sucanat (if using honey combine with wet ingredients), cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove. Mix well.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine pumpkin, buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Mix well.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix until batter is smooth. Add raisins and nuts if using.
  5. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Baking 35 minutes, or until tops have browned, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

March 9, 2012 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My fall pumpkin kick continues!

Yesterday I found myself with half a Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) and the desire to make something yummy with it.

I was also feeling kinda tired and bleh yesterday, so I wanted to make something fairly easy with said pumpkin.

Result: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now if you’ve never had pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, you might be thinking, “Wait a minutes, pumpkin and chocolate? Together? Isn’t that a bit strange?”

My answer is: no, it’s not. It’s lovely. It’s wonderful. It’s like your favorite chocolate chip cookies and your favorite pumpkin bars had a love child together… assuming that were actually possible..which, it isn’t (but I digress..).

These cookies are lighter and more cake-like than your regular cookies. Also, because of the pumpkin, these cookies only use half the amount of butter regular cookies need, and almost half the amount of sugar. So it’s actually healthier than regular chocolate chip cookies! And if that isn’t a good excuse to drop what you’re doing and make these right this minute, I don’t know what is!

The combination of less butter and sugar, combined with pumpkin and pie spice results in a cookie that is lighter, with a slightly less sweet taste than regular cookies; delicately flavored with pumpkin, and with a settle spicy aroma. In other words, they’re really good, and a great fall treat for kids and adults alike.

Mmmm, pumpkin cookie dough…

I always use dark chocolate for these cookies (and everything else), because it’s my favorite kind of chocolate in the whole world, but use whatever kind of chips you like (semi-sweet, milk-chocolate, etc.).

I think these cookies would also be fabulous with chopped walnuts in them, but I didn’t have enough walnuts when I made them this time around (of, the travesty!). If you like nuts in your cookies, I say go for it. 🙂

I love fall. ♥

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes about 24 cookies)

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 c. unbleached white flour, but use whatever floats your boat)
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  4. Gradually mix flour mixture into pumpkin mixture.
  5. Add chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
  6. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased or lined cookie sheet, and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown and firm.

October 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm 4 comments

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I love pancakes.

I also love waffles (not the thinner crispy kind, but the thick, soft Belgium waffles), but due to my current lack of a waffle maker, I make due with just pancakes.

Pancakes, like muffins, are so versatile. You can add so many things and make so many kinds.

Around this time of the year, I always have a craving for pumpkin pancakes.

The settle flavor of pumpkin and toasted walnuts, accented by the spicy aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger; served with butter and warm maple syrup. And a cup of coffee. Don’t forget the coffee. NEVER forget the coffee.

That, my friends, is bliss on an October morning.

So without further ado, here is my pumpkin spice pancake recipe.

Enjoy these on a lazy Saturday morning, or on a weekday morning when you need something a little special. Just don’t forget the coffee…

One note, I use Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) when I make these. Kabocha has much less water in it than American pumpkin, so you may need to use less milk if you’re using American pumpkin (fresh or canned).

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

(makes 7 – 8 pancakes, depending on how big you make them)

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. milk (if pumpkin is very watery, use less)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. clove
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix pumpkin puree, milk, egg, butter, honey, vanilla, spices*, and walnuts (if using).
  3. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and mix until smooth.
  4. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat with melted butter or cooking spray.
  5. Ladle out pancakes onto griddle, and cook until browned on bottom. Flip, and cook on remaining side until browned. Repeat until all batter used up. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

*note: I like to be able to taste all the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger), but if you like a more settle flavor, feel free to add less of the spices.


October 13, 2011 at 10:04 am 2 comments

Menu Plan Monday for Oct. 3 – 7

This past Saturday, Hisa applied to several different moving companies for a quote on moving our stuff to his parents’ place when we move out of our apartment next month. Some companies sent quotes by email, and some companies sent a representative to our apartment to see everything we have to move, and then give us a quote (it was like having a car salesperson in our apartment. Bleh).

Most of our remaining furniture and our large appliances (kitchen, washing machine, etc.) we’ll be sending to Hisa’s parents’ house, as they wanted it. I’m happy they can use it all, because otherwise we would have had to mess with trying to sell the stuff, or just throw it away (which I would have hated doing, because it’s perfectly good stuff, and not that old, and gosh darnit, I hate waste!).

The downside to all of this, is that we have to hire a moving company to move everything, and moving companies cost money. They don’t have rental trucks (ala U-Haul) in Japan, and large pick-up trucks are practically none existent, so when people move, they always hire a moving company.

Moving companies in Japan are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion. If you absolutely hate packing, cleaning, hauling boxes and furniture, then moving companies may be your best friend in Japan. They will do everything for you. With the most basic service, they’ll simply come to your home, haul all of your boxes and furniture to the truck, load it, drive it to your new place, and unload everything where you want it. You can purchase additional services, however, like having the movers pack everything for you, and then clean your entire place after everything is loaded into the truck. If you want, and if you pay, and won’t have to do a thing when you move.

Oh, did I mention they’ll also cover all your large appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) with protective covering and padding so that it won’t get scratched while being moved? It’s brilliant.

Like I mentioned before though, moving companies cost money (no, I know you already know this, but let me get to the point), and when I say that, I mean a lot of money.

To give you an idea, we’re just having the movers come and move our stuff (no fancy add-on services), and we don’t really have that much stuff to move (our futons, table, one small bookshelf, some plastic drawers, my stationary bicycle, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, some small odds and ends, and maybe three boxes). That’s it. But the average price from the different moving companies we got was around $600.

Yeah… I don’t know. Maybe that’s not a lot to some people, but I’m used to moving with the use of a U-Haul truck or by borrowing someone’s pick-up, so $600 seems like a lot of me. Still, it’s really nice not having to move everything ourselves. Especially since our apartment is two floors and the entrance is on the 2nd floor (weird, I know), so the movers will have to carry everything (including our full-size refrigerator) up the steep narrow stairs of our apartment to get it out. Not fun. Good luck mover people!

Menu Plan for October 3 – 7:

  • Stew and homemade bread
  • Homemade pizza
  • Coconut curry pumpkin soup, salad, and
  • Japanese Nabe
  • Japanese croquettes (korokke) with shredded cabbage, steamed rice, miso soup, and stir-fried burdock root and carrot (kinpira gobo)

October 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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