In Vermont, fall is short but ever glorious and for me brings with it the joy of wardrobe layers, piles of leaves and of course a buffet of yummy fall treats that descend upon me in various ways. Two of the most distinct flavors of the season are crisp apples and plump pumpkins. These two ingredients weave their way into an endless list of baked goods and beverages.
To start out, I think pumpkin and I started out on the wrong foot. From a young age, pumpkin has always meant pumpkin pie, enjoyed only at Thanksgiving and served with a pig pile of whipped cream to mask any sort of notion that what I was being served was actually a healthy dessert (even though that fact is debate-able with all that sugar and whipped cream on top!). I didn’t love the flavor until I started seeing its versatility in other goods, such as scones, muffins, and Green Mountain Coffee’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee. Recently, I decided to try a Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake recipe with the idea of celebrating National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day on October 21st. The results were ridiculously good and I’m proud to say near perfect for my second time ever making cheesecake and my gosh, is it a long-winded project! (I joked to my coworkers I had a “cheesecake baby” the night before, as I was setting my alarm and waking up every two hours to check on the thing “resting” in the oven). But trust me, it was all worth it.
My first real love though for pie and baked goods has always been with apples. Apples are so versatile in beverages (Hot Apple Cider, Cold Cider, Apple Juice), let alone in baked goods. My favorite thing ever this time of year is apple pie, an apple crisp pie to be exact. Something about peeling, coring and rolling apple slices in sugar, spices and baking them with a heavenly amount of butter, flour and sugar (and sometimes oatmeal) crumbled on top is so so satisfying. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
As hard as it is to compare the two flavors, the winner overall came head to head in my Apple Pie vs. Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake throw down and the winner undoubtedly was the cheesecake. Somehow the pumpkin combined with the cheese, sugar and spices hit all the right notes, savory, sweet and not overly heavy. All of those ingredients combined just seemed to whop the simple, but delicious apple pie. Maybe it was my mood that day, or the inordinate amount of time I’d spent baking the cheesecake, but it really was obvious to me (and my coworkers I might add! who were dying for me to hurry up and finish my photo shoot so they could eat them) that the cheesecake “took the cake”.
Now, what are you favorite flavors of the fall season?