Special Dessert for Holidays Season


This is my pumpkin-orange spicy-flavored XMAS-tree dessert. The idea to make a dessert shaped like an XMAS tree was raised in the 3rd round of “Chefs Battle Winter” competition. As there were no limitations whatsoever defining the ingredients, I first tried to think of the final image of my tree. Simple googling brought up the idea of a tree-over-cupcake/muffin :) As I don’t like butter-made frosting, both for amount of calories and for flat flavor, I decided to use whipped cream instead – it’s much easier to work with, and you can give it almost any twist you like. And to make it even simpler – you don’t really have to make the cone by yourself as I did. Just tale ready-to-use ice-cream cones and fill them either with my pumpkin batter, or your favorite English cake batter, and then bake. The result would do the job as well.

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So, let’s start working. Btw, don’t be afraid of the length of the recepie – I wanted it to be as details as possible. It’s really quite easy to make. Would you believe me if I said that I did the decoration of the tree for the first time in my life? :)

Spicy Ginger Bread (Base)

For the spicy ginger bread base I followed the recipe found in  David Lebovitz‘s blog. You will only need to make about 12 cupcakes. So you can bake the rest in the English bread baking pan. It’s so good, soft and fragrant it makes you immediately feel Xmas spirit, even if you make it in the middle of June :) Here it goes:

  • 3 1/2 cups (455g) flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) dark rye flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds (I grounded them as well)
  • 2 ounces (55g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (340g) honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely-grated orange zest
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Preheat the oven to 190C. Sift the flours with salt, baking soda and spices and set aside. Using mixer on low speed mix butter, egg, honey and orange zest until they become a smooth mixture. Slowly and carefully add water and mix until smooth again. Sift flour mixture into honey mixture in three stages, mixing carefully after each time.

Butter your baking pan, and dust with flour. Then tap away any excess. For cupcakes use paper cupcake cups put into muffin pan. Pour batter into you pans/cups – fill the pans up to 1/2 top, as the cake rises in the oven quite high. Bake cupcakes for about 20 min, and the English cake loaf for about 1 hour.  Cool for 10 min inside the baking form, then remove from the form for complete cooling.

Pumpkin-Orange Filling

I used the  filling from this recipe (my Sweet Pumpkin Pie)

  • 100 gr. pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 0.5 ts potato cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • orange zest of 1/2 orange

Mix all ingrigients until smooth, fill the ice-cream cones (or the ones you’ve baked yourself) and bake in preheated oven at 190C for about 20 min until steady. Cool in a refrigerator.

Chantilly cream

  • 500 gr heavy cream
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 30 gr. sugar
  • Green food coloring

Mix the heavy cream with orange zest and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Strain it before proceeding further. Beat/whip the cream, adding the sugar until soft peaks appear. Transfer approximately 1/3 of the whipped cream into another bowl and add green food coloring to the remaining two thirds. Beat/whip quickly again – until color distribution is even. If you still have some less colored cream – it’s ok, it will add some texture to your “tree”. Just don’t over-beat the cream. Fill two pastry bags with whipped cream – use “Saint-Honore” tip for the white cream, and star-shaped tip for the green one.

Decorate your cupcake with white cream – snow, then place the baked cone (with the filling) steady on it (sometimes, I had to use a toothpick o lock it in place) and decorate with green cream – place your pastry bag tip just next to the cone, and squeeze gently the cream out to form a small star. Fill the surface of the cone with the “stars”, decorate with golden sugar decor. Store in the refrigerator before serving.

I wish you a merry xmas and a happy new year :-)

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