It is one of the defining condiments of fall for me. Apples get drenched in caramel in the fall and stuck on sticks for some seriously sticky enjoyment. There are many a children’s movies that show children enjoying caramel apples, remember Mary Poppins? Jane and Michael enjoy them while watching Mary Poppins have her photo taken for winning the horse race.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m in Seattle is going to the Rocky Mountain Candy Factory and picking out one of their candy apple creations. They have every kind of candy apple and caramel apple you can think of! It’s truly a treat! They will even slice it for you to make it much easier to consume – thank goodness for that!
So naturally, with my love of caramel, pairing it with pumpkin – one of those fall icons and flavors would be an easy choice. I came across a recipe last year for pumpkin caramel bars, made somewhat like lemon bars with a shortbread base and a super delicious caramel pumpkin goodness on top that sounded great. It smelled great on the stove, the caramel cooked through to a great dark amber color and one batch yielded much more than was necessary to fill a square baking dish so I will have to find something else to bake with it, which wont be hard I’m sure….
This post is participating in PumpkinMania week over at the Naptime Chef’s blog! Check out her blog this week for some delicious pumpkin dishes and also have a look at her PumpkinMania board on Pinterest, there are plenty of pumpkin recipes from all her readers so you can see what we are all baking or cooking this pumpkin season! Don’t forget to check in here during the rest of the month of October as we have quite a few more pumpkin recipes coming up! Please leave a comment with what your favorite thing to make with pumpkin is! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a nice Halloween haul from King Arthur Flour over at the Naptime Chef!
Ingredients for Shortbread:
- 1-1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 2 TBS sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 10 TBS butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 in pieces
- 1-2 TBS ice water
Whisk the dry ingredients together, then rub in the butter with your fingers until it forms a coarse meal with no larger than pea-sized crumbs.
Add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in an almost crumbly ball. Try to avoid “working the dough” as it can cause glueten development and shrink in the oven.
Rest the dough in the fridge for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to lay in a 9 X 13 inch baking pam. Line the baking pan with foil, leaving enough to overhang the edges, then put the rolled out dough in the pan, trimming the edges. Rest the dough in the fridge for a half hour to relax the gluten.
Preheat the oven to 375F. When the crust has rested, press a piece of foil to the surface of the dough and then pour in some dry beans or set pie weights in the pan to discourage shrinking. Bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden brown and the surface looks pasty white. Remove the weights and bake another ten minutes until the surface is lightly browned.
Ingredients for the filling:
- 2 C heavy cream
- 2 TBS dark rum
- one 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
Moisten 1C of sugar with 1/4 C of water in a medium saucepan and swirl over high heat until the sugar turns a medium-dark amber color and remove it from the heat immediately. If you like, you can prepare an ice bath before this step to dunk the bottom of the pan in if you leave the caramel on the heat for a second or two too long.
Start to add the cream slowly, in a steady stream, whisking the whole time. It will foam and sputter a bit. Once all the cream has been incorporated, whisk in the rum, pumpkin, sugar, spices and vanilla. Keep the filling warm on the lowest possible heat until the crust is nearly ready. It should not be bubbling or boiling.
When the crust has about 1 minute left to go, take the filling off the heat and pour it onto the hot crust to create a waterproof seal. Put he pan into the oven and reduce the heat to 350F. Bake for twenty minutes then jiggle the pan to see how “sloshy” it is in the center. If it giggles firmly, it is ready. Cool for at least one hour on a wire rack before removing from the pan, then slice and serve.