Thanksgiving weekend is here! In Canada anyways. I’ve always wondered (and never bothered to find out), why Canadian Thanksgiving is earlier than the US holiday. I should figure it out. Nevertheless, it is and its here! Thanksgiving for us means family dinners, turkey, and of course pumpkin pie.
This year, Debbie and I have been discovering alternatives to pumpkin pie. We love our pumpkin pie (especially my Grandma Pat’s) but sometimes its fun to get creative. We posted our Spiced Pumpkin and Bourbon Crème Brûlée last week and this week we have something even more special, if you can imagine that! This Spiced Pumpkin Napoleon and Salted Caramel with Rum is truly the pièce de résistance! Its like pumpkin pie on steroids…
Debbie saw a Napoleon cake on Let the Baking Begin and we decided that we absolutely had to make it, but instead of making it as is, we thanksgivingafied it by using the same custard as the Crème Brûlée in place of the custard that Marina uses in her recipe. It really is something else! So good! I love the filling to pastry ratio in this cuz I just love buttery and flaky pastry (who doesn’t!), but I think next time we will make 6 layers instead of 8 so there is just a tiny bit more filling in between the layers.
We chose to only let our cake sit for 3 hours. Marina from Let the Baking Begin says to leave it sit quite a bit longer, however we really like a bit of crunch left in the pastry when eating this, but that is just our personal preference. You can choose to leave it longer if you like. I ate a piece after 24 hours and also after 48. Both were awesome, but I preferred the piece I had at the 3 hours mark. 🙂
So… the Salted Caramel Sauce with Rum was an a total after though and Debbie whipped some up on the spot as we were figuring out how to plate this cake. I would just like to say that you should NEVER EVER make this cake without also making this Caramel Sauce! It tastes amazing and it just really adds another dimension of flavor to this dessert that I really enjoy. A little salty, a little sweet and that little delicious bite from the dark rum. Love it! Lots of it!
Kevin and I are now fully moved and living in our fifth wheel that is parked on our new front lawn. Yes, I’m sure our neighbors love us lol. But we are knee deep in renovations and things are coming along. Our kitchen cabinets went in today and I got the last of the wall paper down this morning (God I hate wall paper!). Walls are getting prepped for paint and were in pretty good shape I would say. If your interested in our progress you can follow along on instagram for updates. 🙂
In the spirit of thanksgiving, I am very thankful for my mother-in-law, Gail, who is bringing Kevin and I a pot of chili for dinner tonight! Her chili is SO good and better yet, I don’t have to cook 🙂
- 3 tbsp cornstartch
- 3 cups half and half cream
- 12 egg yolks
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups pumpkin (about 1 small to medium pumpkin)
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tsp ginger
- ¾ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)
- 3 tsp vanilla
- 1½ cups milk
- 1¾ cups cold butter, cut into cubes
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup water, cold
- 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour (650 g) or 4½ cups un-sifted all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp vodka
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp amber rum (we used mt gay)
- MAKE THE PASTRY
- Whisk together eggs and salt, stir in cold water, vinegar and vodka. Set aside.
- Add the flour and salt to your mixer or food processor. Mix for a second to combine. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea size.
- Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue processing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
- Pour the content of the mixer onto a clean work surface and start gathering and sticking the dough together with your hands, trying to work it as little as possible. Form a ball and knead it for a couple of seconds until a dough forms. Don'tt work with it too much.
- Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
MAKE THE PUMPKIN CUSTARD
- First cook the pumpkin. Cut it in half and scoop out all the seeds. Place it face down on a foil lined baking tray and cook in a 350 degree oven for 40 - 50 mins or until its nice and soft. Scoop out the flesh and put it in a food processor or in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch and the salt. Add a little bit of cream to make a paste and whisk until there are no lumps. Add the rest of the cream and whisk well making sure there are no lumps.
- Add all the egg yolks and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium pot, add the pumpkin, the spices, bourbon, sugar and milk. Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the sticky vanilla and add it to the pumpkin. Cook on medium heat until it is warmed through and almost boiling.
- Add the pumpkin mixture slowly to the egg mixture, whisking as you add it. Pour it back into the pot and heat the whole thing to a boil whisking the whole time. Boil for 2 mins and remove it from the heat. Pour it into a container to cool and put a piece of cling wrap or parchment on the top of it so that it doesn't get a skin on the top. Let it cool to room temperature.
BAKE THE PASTRY
- Preheat oven to 400F. Set the rack in the middle.
- On a clean surface, roll out ½ of 1 dough ball, until about 12.5 inches in size. Dusting the surface with flour as needed. Then using a 10 or 11 inch plate or round pan, cut the pastry into a circle. Don't discard the scraps or roll them into a ball. You will need some of them. Place the pastry circle on a parchment lined tray.
- Prick with a fork all over, to prevent uneven rising. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden. Repeat with the rest of the dough, to make 8 layers.
- Bake about half of the scraps from cutting out the circles. When they are done, crumble them all up into pieces and set aside.
- Let the layers cool completely.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Place a dab of custard on a serving platter. Place first pastry layer and press to adhere.
- Place about 6 large spoons of custard and smooth it around. Place another pastry layer on top. Repeat with the rest of the custard and pastry. Finish with a layer of custard and then sprinkle a couple tablespoons of shredded pastry scraps on top of the cake.
- Smooth a layer of custard around the edges of the cake and then pat some pastry scraps around the edges of the cake as well.
- If you want to add some whipped cream, you can do that too.
- Place the cake in the fridge or a cool place to chill and let the layers absorb some of the custard. Let it sit for 3 hours.
MAKE THE CARAMEL
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the butter, sugar, whipping cream and salt. Bring it to a boil (this should take about a min), then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins, whisking often.
- Stir in the rum and remove from heat. Pour the caramel into a heat proof container and set aside.
- Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
- Slice pieced of the cake using a sharp knife and top with the caramel sauce and whipped cream if you like.