Wednesday, October 06, 2010
A taste of fall
Treasure the season with these desserts.
Food writer Lindsey Nair
- firstname.lastname@example.org | (540) 981-3343
Front Burner columns
- Catering to the school's needs
- Researching restaurants before traveling pays off
- Remodeling a classic at Hotel Roanoke
- Column archive
- Recipe archive
Fridge Magnet blog
- Alton Brown coming to Roanoke
- Dine out to support the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Review: Mockingbird Cafe in Christiansburg
- Visit the Fridge Magnet blog
Look who's cooking...
Meet our lineup of home cooks
The other night, my boys -- those being my husband and our dog -- tracked in a few pumpkin-colored leaves after their evening stroll.
It was the same day I had to break out a long-sleeve T-shirt and a pair of socks to stay warm around the house. So I stood there in my socks, looking at the wet leaves on the floor, and realized another summer really is gone.
Autumn is winter's doorman. Before you can say "trick or treat" and "pass the turkey," that blustery guest who always stays too long will be making etchings on our windowpanes.
Some say cheering oneself with food is problematic, but in this case I say it is entirely appropriate. Welcome to soup season. Welcome to roast-something-besides-yourself season. Nothing against summer, with her grilling and salad chilling, but welcome to really cooking again.
On autumn Sundays, I am possessed by the ghosts of ancestors who cooked a big dinner and baked seasonal desserts. Papa Nair loved apples, so my grandmother would core out a few, stuff them with butter, sugar and cinnamon and tuck them inside pastry pouches for the best apple dumplings that ever came to be.
Just about any apple dessert -- pies, crisps, brown betties -- conjures up fall almost as well as those made with pumpkin or other winter squash.
My mother occasionally treated us to her pumpkin bars made with Bisquick, studded with raisins and slathered with cream-cheese frosting. How can something that easy be so good?
For some reason, even though molasses knows no real season, desserts made with this thick, black nectar always put me in an autumn frame of mind. A perfect example is molasses cookies, with a flavor so simple and comforting that when my brother-in-law's mom makes them, this side of the family is always angling for a care package.
As long as we're falling for seasonal desserts, don't forget sweet potato pie or anything made with cranberries, which are generally harvested in the United States in September and October and, of course, enjoyed fresh through Christmas.
I rounded up some of the recipes mentioned above, as well as one for pumpkin flan with a gingersnap crust that I discovered myself a few years ago. It may sound difficult, but let me promise that if this disaster of a baker can make it, so can you.
Clip out these recipes and tuck them into your file. And above all, do not let the dread of winter seduce you into sleeping through the warm, sweet treasures of autumn.
Lindsey Nair's column runs in Wednesday's Extra.