Tag Archives: Halloween Recipes
Post by: Alison Hein.
It is my joy to create an annual Halloween recipe. In 2011 (when I began writing for Charles P. Rogers) it was the fun and popular Crêpe Dracula – a little chocolate crêpe dressed up like the count himself. Following that, I shared my secrets for baking individual Smoky Pumpkin, Egg and Bacon Cauldrons, and last year, we enjoyed rich and colorful Pumpkin Cream Crêpes.
This time, I chose to explore an ancient and somewhat confusing tradition of Soul Cakes, which are linked to the Gaelic harvest festival of Samhain, the forbear of Halloween. It was a time of year when spirits and fairies could enter more easily into our world, and celebratory, seasonal foods were served. Soul Cakes were baked with exotic saffron, perhaps to represent the great harvest sun. Much later, Samhain evolved into a Christian holiday, and Soul Cakes were made to honor the dead. Many bakers pressed currants in the tops of their cakes in the shape of a cross.
Soul Cake recipes abound, ranging from quick breads to yeast breads, tiny muffins to giant cakes. They are sweetened and spiced, glazed and decorated. I decided to make sweet, individual golden orbs, swapping out currants for plump golden raisins – tiny little suns within the great harvest sun. Fall spices add a pie-like feel, and become mysterious and aromatic when warmed. Wrap one in a colorful napkin and give it as a gift, or hoard them and share with a special someone for a soulful breakfast in bed.
10 – 12 threads of saffron
1 tablespoon hot water
¼ pound (1 stick) butter, softened, plus an additional teaspoon for greasing pans
1 cup sugar
½ cup milk
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 325°. Generously grease two 4×2-inch round cake pans and set aside.
Place the saffron threads in a mortar and crush with the pestle until powdery. Cover with 1 tablespoon hot water and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Add butter and sugar to a large bowl, and cream together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until batter is light and smooth. Pour milk into a measuring cup and stir in saffron “tea”. In a separate small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Alternately add milk mixture and flour mixture into batter, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Gently stir in golden raisins.
Spoon batter equally into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until cake is golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on rack for 30 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and serve warm, if you like.
Makes 2 4×2-inch cakes.
NOTE: If you are as fascinated as I am by convoluted food history, I recommend reading this engaging article and recipe from T. Susan Chang.
Post by Alison Hein.
Each Halloween, I like to create a festive, seasonal breakfast recipe. This year, I went with pumpkin crêpes. The bit of pumpkin purée in the batter adds depth, and when cooked, turns the crêpe a lovely golden orange color. The cream cheese-based filling is sweet and flavored with autumn pie spices of cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Add a dollop of whipped cream to your crêpes for an over-the-top presentation that will delight the eyes as well as the palate. You can make your own, or do what I do and purchase a can of lightly sweetened real whipped cream.
If you like, mix up and refrigerate the filling and batter the night before Halloween. In the morning, fire up the stove and let the batter come to room temperature. Then serve your loved ones a trick-or-treat breakfast in bed that will rival any candy haul.
¼ cup pumpkin purée (fresh or canned)
6 ounces whipped cream cheese
4 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
Mix all ingredients together. Set aside until ready to assemble crêpes.
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup pumpkin purée
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Whipped cream (optional)
Dash of cinnamon, for garnish
In large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Whisk in milk, egg and pumpkin purée until batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest a few minutes before cooking.
Heat about 1 teaspoon oil in heavy 6-inch pan over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add ¼ cupful of batter to pan, swirling to cover bottom. Cook crêpe 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned, flipping once. Keep warm while cooking remaining crêpes, monitoring heat and adding oil as necessary. Place a sheet of waxed paper between cooked crêpes, if you like.
Place crêpes on work area. Spread with about 1 tablespoon of filling and roll up. Top with whipped cream, if you like, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Makes 6 to 7 crêpes.