Ask An OC Chef: Top Tasty Pumpkin Dishes

September 24, 2017 5:00 AM

(credit: Olha Afanasieva/Shutterstock)

(credit: Olha Afanasieva/Shutterstock)


Old Vine Cafe has been a favorite since it opened at The Camp. It is a cozy place with an elegant atmosphere and seasonal menu, and the wine list is carefully designed to go with the seasonal dishes. It is open daily with small plates and an a la carte menu for breakfast and lunch. Every Tuesday through Sunday, you can find great tasting-menu options for dinner.
 
Mark McDonald
Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St., Suite A102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 545-1411
www.oldvinecafe.com

Chef Mark McDonald studied at the Laguna Culinary Arts Institute. After that, he moved to Calabria, Italy, to study under Chef John Nocita. He has been invited to be a part of the Aregala Grand Gala Dinner in Lyon, France. He has also been invited by a university in Tampere, Finland, to teach hospitality and culinary students. He opened Old Vine Cafe eight years ago, and it has been a hit since then. As an expert in dining and seasonal recipes, he was kind enough to offer some of the best pumpkin recipes for the fall season that you can make in your own home.

(credit: Shutterstock)

(credit: Shutterstock)


Pumpkin Shortbread Bars

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened

Pumpkin topping

  • 16 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, egg yolks, milk, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer 1 minute or until smooth.
  3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  4. Fold whites into pumpkin mixture gently.
  5. Pour the filling on top of the shortbread, and gently spread evenly with an off-set spatula.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely, and cut into desired shapes.
  8. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Related: 5 Best Pumpkin Beers For Your Halloween Party

(credit: Shutterstock)

(credit: Shutterstock)


Classic French Toast With Pumpkin

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • Fresh, thick-sliced sourdough bread
  • Clarified butter for cooking

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the bread and clarified butter; whisk together until incorporated.
  2. Dip the sourdough slices into the custard until fully saturated.
  3. Melt the clarified butter into a pan or on a griddle.
  4. Cook on both sides until golden brown.
  5. Serve with freshly whipped cream, and dust with powdered sugar.
  6. Serve with butter. (Syrup is optional, not necessary)
(credit: tomertu/Shutterstock)

(credit: tomertu/Shutterstock)


Pumpkin Pound Cake

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pan
  • 3-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring) plus additional for dusting
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Note: Do not preheat the oven when making this pound cake.

  1. Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour.
  2. Sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt into a bowl.
  3. Sift two more times.
  4. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla.
  6. Reduce speed to low and add the flour, then add all of the cream and mix well.
  7. Scrape down side of bowl, then beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes.
  8. Gently stir in the pumpkin puree.
  9. Transfer the batter into a loaf pan and tap pan against your counter top once or twice to avoid bubbles.
  10. Place pan, covered in parchment and then foil in (cold) oven and turn oven temperature to 350°F.
  11. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  12. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan.

Related: Best Places For Fish And Chips In OC

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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