In a Halloween near-emulation of the three witches of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the SNA’s sixth annual cook-off met again in rain, although without the lightning and thunder.
But the traditional foul weather (one year there was a hurricane, one year snow) did not deter about 45 people from gathering Oct. 27 in Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street to sample 15 dishes made by neighborhood residents using pumpkin as a common ingredient.
And in keeping with the holiday spirit, there was also a parade of children in costumes ranging from a hotdog to a suffragette, although some of the smaller participants seemed more interested in chasing the balloons provided by Hope Street merchant Kim Clark of Rhody Craft than marching.
After being welcomed by SNA President Dean Weinberg and tasting the various pumpkin offerings plus a sampling of fine oils from Olive del Mondo, another Hope Street merchant, participants voted for their favorite dishes. The results were counted by SNA board member Emily Spitzman and organization member Sandy Kohring, who collaborated in organizing the event. The winners were:
1st prize, a $30 gift certificate to Seven Stars, went to Jasper Summers for pumpkin tiramisu;
2nd prize, a $20 gift certificate to Rhody Craft, went to Sri Mitta for pumpkin curry;
3rd prize was a tie, with $15 gift certificates to Olive del Mondo going to Ethan Itkin for cinnamon pumpkin rolls with cream cheese frosting and Gailia Rutan for pumpkin cake roll.
The recipes for the winning dishes will be posted here as they become available. Some of the chefs experimented and are trying to remember what they did.
However, their example of inventiveness bodes well for the delicacies expected in next year’s competition.
Ethan Itkin and Gailia Rutan
Cinnamon Pumpkin Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 tablespoon warm water
1 cup warm whole milk
4½ cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
All-purpose flour for the work surface
4 cups pumpkin, cleaned, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons salt
1 ¼ cup butter, melted
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
Cinnamon sugar goo:
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Cream cheese frosting:
3 ounces (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Whisk the yeast with the warm water and milk in a small bowl. Let it sit until foamy, 5 minutes or so.
- Add the flour, salt and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, combine then add the eggs, butter and yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together as a thick, sticky mass. This should take about 6 minutes.
- With a rubber spatula, remove the dough and, by hand, form it into a smooth ball. Transfer it, seam side down, to a greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot (a turned-off microwave will do). Let it rise for an hour until it’s doubled in size.
- Prepare the pumpkin elements. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place diced pumpkin on a baking sheet, toss with melted butter, salt and thyme. Par bake for 10 minutes. Cool at room temperature and set aside. Place seeds on a separate baking sheet, toss with melted butter followed by salt. Roast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool at room temperature and set aside.
- Make the cinnamon goo. While the dough is rising, mix together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set it aside.
- Punch it down the dough and put it onto a well-floured work surface. Using a rolling pin (or wine bottle), roll it into a 16-inch-by-16-inch square. Spread the cinnamon goo evenly over the surface, leaving a quarter-inch perimeter bare. Sprinkle the roasted pumpkin cubes on top. Roll the dough up into a big, tight tube, making sure to keep all the filling inside.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the tube into 12 rounds, each about a 1⅓ inches thick. Arrange the rounds in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish or two 10-inch pie pans, leaving 1-inch between each. Let them rise for another one to two hours, until they have doubled in size. (Alternately, you can make these buns the night before and let them rise, loosely covered, in the fridge overnight. Take them out in the morning, let them come to room temp for about half an hour and pop them in the oven.)
- Make the cream-cheese frosting. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on high one minute, add remaining ingredients and paddle on low to combine, then whip up on high for two minutes, until the mixture is a pale white and fluffy. Put to the side.
- Bake the buns for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until they are just starting to brown on the edges. Remove from oven. While they are still warm, spread the frosting generously over them. Sprinkle tops with roasted pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.
Pumpkin Cake Roll
Oven: 375 degrees
Need pan size 13”x 9 ½”
Grease pan, place foil on pan and grease foil.
Mix together: 3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup pumpkin, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¾ cup flour.
Pour batter onto greased foil; bake 12-15 minutes.
Sift confectioner’s sugar onto a smooth dishtowel (not terrycloth) and when the cake is baked, put it onto the sugared towel while HOT. Roll up from long end, carefully! Let set for 2-2½ hours.
Meanwhile, unwrap 8 ounces cream cheese and soften 2 tablespoons butter. Mix softened cream cheese, butter, 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar and 1½ teaspoon vanilla.
Gently unroll the cake; but don’t try to flatten it. Spread the filling on the cake, being sure to get it into the rolled part. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, slice with a serrated knife and sift a little more confectioner’s sugar to make it look pretty.