Personal Size Pumpkin Pie Tortes

Personal Size Pumpkin Pie Torte
Personal Size Pumpkin Pie Torte
Every year as Summer gives way to Fall, my husband’s mind starts to drift away from ice cream to pumpkin pie. This is a little recipe I made up a few years back that he liked, and I really haven’t shared it much online since. I want to change that.
I have two small torte pans I use in favour of one big pie plate at home. It’s easier for me to bake up two and freeze or give away one of the two than to deal with eating pie morning, noon and night for the better part of a week anytime I get into pie making. This recipe is designed to be split up perfectly, but it will also fit all into one pie pan or plate if that’s what you want to do, or it can be doubled if you want to make a long sheet of pumpkin pie squares for a large crowd.

(From the archives)

24 Lady Fingers, crushed up to fine grind (not powder grind)
1C Butter, melted

2 1/4C Prepared pumpkin pie filling
1/3C Evaporated milk
1 Egg, large, well beaten

Finely grind up Lady Fingers in food processor. Melt butter and add to a small bowl before dumping in Lady Finger grinds. Mix well and pour half of the mixture into each of the small torte pans (roughly 8” – 12”).

Press the mixture outwards from the middle and up the sides all around the pans. Place the torte pans in the freezer for 10 minutes to set the crust. In the meantime, mix the pie filling with the evaporated milk and well beaten egg and set aside.

Pumpkin Pie Torte Crust
Pumpkin Pie Torte Crust

When the crusts are hard, pour the mixed pie filling into each pan and bake for 15 minutes at 425. Reduce temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until an inserted knife in the centre of each pie comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream on top and hot coffee, tea or cocoa at its side.

Auntie Stacey’s Fish al Fresho

Fish Al Fresco Lunch
Auntie Stacey’s Fish Al Fresho

This is a lovely, light tasty lunch I often made at work for the husband and me using leftover cooked fish fillets. The salad is made in the morning and is left it in its marinade to rest in the fridge for 3+ hours.

The marinade is simple:
one glug of white vinegar
two glugs of olive oil
fresh parsley

Add to this vegetable medley:
diced white onion
red pepper
diced tomato
diced cucumber

Cover and chill until time to serve with the fish.

That’s it, that’s all. Not much magic to make it, but people will think there is when they taste it. It looks so pretty, no?

Pumpkin Syrup

While thinking about The Queen’s Pumpkin Scone Clones, the recipe for Pumpkin Syrup popped into my head. If you can’t make or eat the scones, at the very least you should be able to still enjoy some of the same pumpkin flavour in your tea or latte, right?

2 C sugar (of your choice)
2 C water
2 tbsp pumpkin puree (not pre-made pie filling, just the pulp)
2 1/2 tea pumpkin seasoning **

** Can be store bought or it can be a mix of 2 tea ground cinnamon, 1/2 tea each of ground nutmeg and ground ginger. **

Simmer boil everything for 15 minutes, whisking every minute until the sugar and spices are fully blended into the water, in a small saucepot. Remove the pot from the burner for ten minutes to cool before straining the pumpkin puree out.

Decant the finished thinned out syrup into a lidded jar and refrigerate overnight. You will have lovely, thick syrup to add directly to your morning coffee or into your milk before you froth it to create a lovely PS. You’re welcome!

Cream Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese

A while back I found this fantastic looking baked mac & cheese by Jessica Burns that uses cream cheese over a traditional bechamel sauce, and my brain woke up.

Cream Cheese Mac & Cheese from Jessica Burn's blog

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some bechamel sauce, but sometimes I like to try variations on old classic themes just to, you know, mix it up a bit. I would hate to be on my deathbed and regret only ever eating mac & cheese one way. Zzzz…

So, yeah. I’m going to give this a whirl this week. Will you? Head on over the Jessic’s blog for the recipe and ingredient listing.

Ice Queen’s Starbucks Pumpkin Scone Clones

Pumpkin Scones Recipe [pic courtesy Career In The Oven]

Pic courtesy of Career In The Oven. Pumpkin scone recipe comes courtesy of Ice Queen. Susan runs a cooking school. And she’s funny. Consider stalking her. She likes stalkers.

FYI, I send a batch of these to my brother and to a dear friend in the mail. They held up well if you seal them first and pack them in bubble wrap or styrofoam popcorn.

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg
6 tablespoons cold butter

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half and half cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in a large bowl.

3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half-and-half, and egg.

4. Cut butter into cubes then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix with your hand, rubbing the butter in until it is the texture of cornmeal or coarse sand.

5. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick disk. Vut it into eight triangles, like a pizza, and separate them a bit so they can spread.

6. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes on a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled or lined with parchment paper. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Watch them, they burn quickly near the end!

7. While scones cool, prepare plain glaze by combining ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Mix until smooth.

8. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint a coating of the glaze over the top of each scone.

9. As that white glaze firms up, prepare spiced icing by combining ingredients in another medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

Auntie Stacey’s Baked Stuffed Fish

Recently we went to Red Lobster for dinner, and I rediscovered my love of their baked stuffed sole. It’s amazing in its simplicity and its overall presentation. The dish itself is nothing more than two small fillets stacked upon each other with a filling layer between them – much like a sandwich. It’s a baked dish that’s topped with smoked paprika near the end of the bake cycle, and topped with lovely white wine sauce plated.

Stuffed Baked FishAuntie Stacey’s Baked Stuffed Fish served with banged-up roasted potatoes

I’ve ordered this dish a couple of times before when dining at Red Lobster now. I always remember it being so tasty, and this time round was no exception. I have now taken to making it at home on random Sundays. It makes for a lovely lunch or dinner meal. I highly recommend trying this dish. It’s a winner, even to those who aren’t big on fish, for several reasons.

1. It’s versatile in terms of the the kind of whitefish you use. Any whitefish will do, really. I use whatever we have on hand, and it’s never guaranteed to be the same two times in a row.

2. The filling can be made up of anything you have on hand or dream up – the choice is yours how fancy or how simple you make it.

3. The sauce can be a lovely white sauce, salsa, vegetable ragout, or nothing at all – your choice. Go nuts. 🙂

The version I normally make uses haddock fillets with a lovely ricotta filling topped with some fettuccine sauce over top, but this last one I didn’t bother with the sauce. I wanted a light lunch to carry me over the afternoon to dinner a few hours later.

Filling for 2 – 4 servings.

Auntie Stacey’s Baked Stuffed Fish:
1/2 C ricotta (low fat will work well)
S&P to taste
1/8 C diced red peppers
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 C chopped parsley

This knock-off version of the Red Lobster’s Broccoli Stuffed Sole from uses ingredients like rice and broccoli which is perfectly in line with Red Losbster’s ingredient list, but again I used what I have on hand, and the last time I made this I didn’t feel like making rice and I was also out of broccoli, so I went the rustic route.

It was delicious. And very filling. The whitefish fillets I buy tend to be very long, so I could have easily cut the final fish in half and fed four instead of two. This is a fantastic recipe to add to your weekly repertoire. You can easily make it up the night before or in the morning, and pop it in the oven when you get home from work the next night. Give it a go!

Knock-off Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Kristin, from, has a lovely recipe up over at her site for a mouthwatering Knock-off Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup recipe. I’m a big fan of pasta e fagioli, as much as I am of minestrone. I love the tomato broths, the small pastas, and of course all of the hearty veggies I can muster up to throw in the pot. To me, that’s the icing on a cake of the soup set. (Bad metaphor, I know.)

I do recommend checking out Kristin’s website in its entirety, even if this soup isn’t your cup of hot broth. (Better? No? I’ll stop now.) You will love her colourful pictures, comfort food recipes and down to Earth approach to food and cooking in general. I really enjoy her posts.


So, I have been thinking a lot about my favourite soup recipe, and one of the things we love most about it is it includes pasta shells and meatballs. So lovely, and tasty. And that soup got me thinking about meatballs. How much we love meatballs specifically.

‘Mmmmm, meatballs…

Thinking back to when I was a kid – and my husband has similar childhood memories – we don’t recall our mothers ever having the time to make their own meatballs, but they always sourced some delicious all-beef meatballs for spaghetti. I like store bought just fine; I’m not a snob, but when I have time, I like to play around with recipes to find that elusive meatball that I will want to make forever and ever.

And thus far, no luck. I’ve tried many meatball versions, but none of them are made more than a few times in our kitchen. I call that a definite lack of sticking power. And since neither my mother or my mother-in-law have a great tired and true recipe to hand down to me, I have been forced to do recipe developing research. *gasp*

After some small online searching, I found a light and fluffy meatball recipe brought to us by the fantastic Lucinda Scala Quinn from Mad Hungry. I love this woman, and everything she makes is so scrumptious without being pretentious, complicated or over the top. She makes every day food. <– Ha. Get it?

Now, this is a meatball recipe I can get excited about. I love ricotta cheese. I’m always looking for new ways to use up a tub of it at home before it turns and stinks up the rest of the fridge. Oy. I hate wasting money, too. I’m not cheap but I do feel bad when I leave perfectly good food in my fridge to fend for itself. It would be like me ignoring that bamboo plant my best friend gave me till it starts to wilt and I have to think hard about when I last watered it.


I digress. Give this recipe a shot. I plan to this weekend. I will report back, with pictures, and we can compare notes. Sound good to you? Ok, then. Let’s do this!

Shepherd’s Pie from The Kitchn

I can’t believe I went a whole winter without making, or at least eating, any Shepherd’s Pie. This has to be a new record for me. Huh.

This one from The Kitchn looks simple enough to whip up at some point this weekend.


Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Picture courtesy Emma Christensen from The Kitchn

I’m down for any version of this casserole dish that doesn’t involve creamed corn in any way, shape, or form. (My brother will second that.)