Monday, September 15, 2014

The Pumpkining: Beyond Pumpkindome '14

A new (hopefully annual) culinary throwdown was started yesterday: The Pumpkining. My friend Suzanne suggested that the two of us each put together three pumpkin-based desserts and decide once and for all who is Master of Pumpkins. The gauntlet was thrown down. I picked it up.

The GS3 *really* needs a dedicated camera button.
So after a brisk run down Monument Ave. to bank some calories for later on in the day we got to work. Well, I did. She prepared most of her dishes beforehand, which was just as well. No one was getting in the other's way.

First up: My entries.

Nutty for Nutella.
Pumpkin Nutella muffins. (Recipe, only mine were gluten-full.)

Pumpkin bread pudding. (Recipe)

Easy like Sunday morning.
No bake pumpkin oatmeal cookies. (Recipe)

And now Suzanne's offerings:

I'm this many years old!
Banana pumpkin mousse tart. (Recipe)

Pumpkin cinnamon roll ice cream. (Recipe)

(Note: I woefully neglected to take a solo picture of her third dish, a pumpkin gingerbread trifle. My bad.)

Pumpkin gingerbread trifle (Recipe, but Suzanne "replaced heavy whipping cream for the Cool Whip because gross.")

All together now.
With them all now fully prepared, two tasting plates were given to the judges:  food blogger Paola and her husband. She even classed up the presentation by a factor of ten and put it on Instagram.

It looks like it belongs in the pages of a magazine, if such things still existed.
A little while later the verdicts were in and slipped under Suzanne's front door. (Did I mention that the judges are her next door neighbors? Hmmmm... biased?)

The rundown.
Kneel before Suzanne! Her pumpkin desserts pleased the judges' palates more so than mine did and I can't quite argue with their findings. I would've given top honors to the trifle. But at least my muffins made a good showing. They were pretty damn good.

She and I were pretty much in agreement with our own personal notes. The trifle would make an excellent Thanksgiving dessert, as autumn transitions into the Christmas season.  The banana overpowered the pumpkin in the tart. Ain't nothin' wrong with the ice cream. The muffins were great as is.  The cookies were way too sweet. The bread pudding was just the opposite and could stand to be topped with caramel, ice cream, whipped cream, or some wicked combination of the three.

Also of note was that there was way too much sweetness going on the judge everything at once, so modifications will be made for next year's contest. I think we're looking at an appetizer/entree/dessert format.

So the First Annual The Pumpkining came to a close. Laughs were had, tears were shed, diabetes was narrowly avoided. With that stress now out of the way, I can fully commit myself to enjoying all the fruits of autumn. (Fun Fact:  a pumpkin is classified as a fruit.)

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