Pumpkin rolls are one of my favorite desserts and it kinda sucks because I only get to eat them once a year. For some reason it’s less acceptable to enjoy a pumpkin roll from January through October, but November? November is fair game. I think I’m going to make an effort to bring it back in 2015. This March, PUMPKIN ROLL BIRTHDAY CAKE! You heard it here first, guys.
I took a big risk making this for Thanksgiving. We’ve talked about it before, the fact that Mr. Eats has a deep love for my praline pumpkin cake. I mean, I love it too, but I also like to not eat the same exact thing every year for Thanksgiving. This meant that a regular old pumpkin roll just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to kick it up a notch. I
First thought? I know! Praline pumpkin roll! Which did seem like a good idea until I realized the praline would just crack off of the roll, assuming I was able to even roll the cake with hot, molten, drippy praline all over it. So I used my second thought instead: salted caramel.
Initially I thought a beautiful salted caramel layer swirled between the cake and frosting would be gorgeous and delicious, and maybe it would have been, except for one small issue… You see, caramel is liquid and so it did what liquid does and oozed out… all over the counter. I really wish I had been able to snap a picture but I was too busy trying to fanangle my pumpkin roll and yelling “I MADE A MISTAKE” and “OH GOD NO” in the kitchen, so there was no time.
Back to the drawing board.
The solution, of course, was to beat the caramel IN the frosting. That way you get all of that salted caramel flavor and zero mess on the counter. Well, not zero mess. Pumpkin rolls are a bit on the messy side, but the mess won’t be caramel, so at least you’ll have that going for you.
This is the part where I tell you how to roll up your pumpkin roll without it cracking. And I would really love to tell you that, except that I’m 0 for 3 at the moment… However, I did some research (read: talked to some pumpkin-rolling masters) and we decided that I was most likely rolling the cake too tightly. So when you’re rolling, roll it loosely and gently and with care. Then say a prayer.
The good news is that if you do crack it, it will still taste just as good. And if you use some artistic liberty in your photos and angle the roll “just so” and crop out most of the cracks no one will ever know it cracked to begin with! Well, except the people who are actually eating it. Just slice it before you serve it and those dummies won’t know any better anyway.
Serves: 1 10-inch roll
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ canned pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspooon fleur de sel
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup salted caramel
- Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 10 by 15-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment.
- In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, eat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until thick and foamy.
- Add pumpkin puree and continue to beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture and pour into prepared pan.
- Bake 10 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Dust a dish towel with ¼ cup powdered sugar and invert cake onto towel. Starting from the short end, loosely roll the cake until a spiral and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan mix the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir to combine.
- Mix heavy cream and fleur de sel in a small measuring cup and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute until it is hot. Stir to dissolve the salt.
- Heat over high heat until it reaches about 340F and is dark amber in color. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 minute.
- Carefully pour the heavy cream into the sugar mixture (it will bubble and spit), whisk to combine. Add the sour cream and continue whisking until it is incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium high until combine. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
- Add the salted caramel and beat to combine. (You could also probably just stir the salted caramel in for a more swirly effect but, whatever)
- Carefully unroll the cake, if it breaks just keep going, you've come too far to stop now.
- Spread filling onto cake leaving one inch un-frosted at the end and re-roll into spiral. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
[ Pumpkin roll recipe source: Libby’s Pumpkin ]
I know that by now we have seen every possible use of Thanksgiving leftovers under the sun. We’ve seen them in pies, in soups, in sandwiches, and in salads, but one I had not seen was this masterpiece.
Imagine, if you will, your Thanksgiving leftovers tightly wrapped in a croissant dough and baked to perfection. I think my knees just went weak…
May I present to you Pain au Thanksgiving! It’s very similar to its cousin pain au chocolate but instead of being filled with chocolate, it is filled with an entire Thanksgiving dinner … all rolled up into flaky buttery croissant dough… which is where it has apparently always belonged.
As soon as I got this idea I couldn’t wait to make it. I knew that I had to do it before Thanksgiving, so that you could use it for your leftovers. Of course, the added bonus of me getting to eat TWO Thanksgiving dinners this month may have weighed on my decision as well.
For these, I used a standard croissant dough (you can use your own favorite recipe, I used this one only because I had successfully used it before). If you’re short on time (or motivation) you could even use store-bought puff pastry or some of those refrigerated “crescent” rolls in a pinch. Just keep in mind that a different dough may yield a different amount of pastries. My recipe yielded 24 pastries each one about 4 by 2 inches when baked.
For the filling, I used turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I toyed with the idea of putting the gravy inside, but decided it would a> be too messy and b> be much better alongside the sandwich. Because, if there’s one thing I love more than a sandwich, it’s a sandwich with a jus for dipping.
I also opted to leave out the cranberry sauce since Mr. Eats turned his nose up at it. You’re welcome to include it if your guests are more cranberry-friendly – I personally think it would have been delicious stuffed inside or even drizzled on top as a glaze.
If you’re wondering what on earth you are going to do with 24 thanksgiving pastries, fear not! You can freeze the pains (baked or raw) and keep enjoying that turkey dinner for up to three months.
Pain au Thanksgiving
Yield: 24 Pain au Thanksgivings [ Printable Recipe ]
Time: 1 hour (prep), 8 – 18 hours (refrigeration), 15 – 20 minutes (baking)
For the croissant dough:
- 1 1/2 cups milk, warm (105°F–110°F)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 sticks unsalted butter
For the filling:
- Thanksgiving leftovers: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, whatever you want!
Baking & Serving:
- 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
- Gravy, for serving
Making the dough:
1. In the stand of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the milk, sugar, and yeast. Let sit until foamy (appx 5 min). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, set aside until yeast has foamed.
2. Add flour/salt mixture to yeast, while mixing on low. (I usually add half, then once incorporated add the rest)
3. Once it comes together into a smooth, slightly sticky mass, shape it into a rectangle about 1 ½ inches thick, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for about an hour until chilled
Laminating the dough:
1. Once dough is chilled, line up sticks of butter and smash with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment paper until they are roughly the shape of an 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Wrap and chill, swapping butter for dough in the fridge.
2. Unwrap dough and roll out onto a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as necessary* into a 16 x 10 in rectangle. Arrange dough w shortest side nearest you, put butter rectangle in the center, and fold like a letter—cover the butter with the bottom 1/3rd of dough first, then with the top. Brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush.
3. Turn dough 90 degrees so new shortest side is near you, then pound with a rolling pin at even intervals, making uniform impressions (this will help the butter to spread). Roll dough again into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle. Brush off any excess flour, and fold in thirds again, stretching the dough as needed to square off the ends—thus forming a 3 layer 10 x 5 inch rectangle.
4. Give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back for doing your (presumably) first ever “fold”, rewrap the dough in plastic wrap, and stick it back in the fridge at least another hour. (I’m not going to lie, I got a little impatient and may not have waited the whole hour… on that same note, I also left the house a while between another fold and it was in for over an hour, and alas the world has not come to an end)
5. Repeat 5 & 6 three more times, creating a total of 4 “folds”. Once you have completed your last fold, rewrap the dough and place in refrigerator for 8 – 18 hours.
When you’re ready to shape the Pain au Thanksgiving
1. Remove dough from refrigerator, unwrap and cut in half cross-wise. Re-wrap half of dough and place back in the fridge. Just look at all those buttery layers…
2. Roll on lightly floured surface into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, stretching as needed to maintain rectangular shape
3. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Stretch each square so that it is slightly elongated and place a small amount of filling of your choice into the center. If you go over 2 tablespoons of filling you will probably have a hard time rolling it into shape.
4. Fold one side over the filling and wet it slightly with some water. Fold the other side over and press down firmly to seal.*
5. Place onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan, seam side down. Continue with remaining squares, I was able to fit 8 onto each pan. Once the pan is filled cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size 1 to 2 hours.
6. Remove other half from fridge and repeat the steps again.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F and make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 tablespoon water.
Right before you put the dough into the oven, brush with egg wash. If you feel so inclined, you can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for added flavor. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until well-browned.
To freeze raw:
Once you have filled and sealed the dough, you can place them seam-side down on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the freezer) and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and return to freezer until ready to bake.
To freeze cooked:
Wrap cooled pains tightly in foil and place into a freezer-proof Ziploc bag.
To bake from frozen (un-baked):
Place frozen dough on parchment-lined sheet and cover with plastic wrap.Place on counter to rise overnight about 8 to 10 hours. Once doubled in size paint with egg wash prior to baking.
If you freeze croissants pre-baked:
Frozen croissants can be thawed overnight prior to reheating or taken from the freezer directly to the oven, in which case they will need a few minutes more to reheat. Bake for 10 minutes at 375F from thawed, add a few extra minutes if baking from frozen.
Take a walk down memory lane with 20 years of Thanksgiving food trends.
Did you know that you could celebrate a fast food Thanksgiving (think “semi-homemade” – Sandra would be proud)… sadly that stuffing actually sounds really freaking good.
Meanwhile Food52 comes to the aid of your gluten-free guests.
King Arthur Flour answers the age-old question about what makes the best pie crust: Butter or Shortening? (Hint: IT’S BUTTER!)
New York Times has Thanksgiving across the states – what is your states dish? Arizona’s is apparently cranberry sauce with chiles.
And The Kitchn showed us how to make our entire Thanksgiving meal in the slow cooker. Of course, then you would need like six slow cookers, but who’s counting?
This Philly delicatessen has turkey-shaped mozzarella.
And Salt & Straw has released a turkey flavored ice cream… that supposedly is actually pretty good.
Make your life easier on Turkey Day and cut down on those tears by nuking those onions before you chop them.
And DON’T BASTE THAT TURKEY because if Alton Brown doesn’t do it then neither should you.
Guess what? I don't baste my bird. It's like showering in a raincoat. Plus you let heat out of the oven every time you open it. #ABThxgSOS
— Alton Brown (@altonbrown) November 19, 2014
If you still need to stock up on Thanksgiving gear, check out last year’s Thanksgiving Survival Kit with all the gear you need to get you through the holiday unscathed.
If you are heading out to the grocery store, Serious Eats will hook you up with a a printable list of your Thanksgiving pantry essentials.
Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup
The turkey is sacred territory to pretty much everyone out there, so I won’t touch that one with a ten foot pole. I will, however, give you some side dish ideas! This year hubby’s dad is making the turkey, so side dishes are all we need to worry about anyway!
Last year I made this sweet potato casserole recipe from Some Kitchen Stories and it was delicious.
This classic sage and sausage stuffing from Serious Eats is sure to please your Turkey Day guests.
Though Thanksgiving isn’t generally a time for experiments, I’d definitely give these slow cooker mashed potatoes from Gimme Some Oven a whirl
Of course it’s always good to have a nice, light salad on hand, but you don’t want it to be boring. That’s where A Periodic Table’s Asian Pear & Fennel Salad comes into play.
And let’s diverge from that murky green bean casserole and enjoy some of Pink Parsley’s crispy green bean fries instead.
I’m obligated to make this praline pumpkin cake every year or else Mr. Eats will kill me… in fact it may have been in the fine print of our marriage contract. “Must make pumpkin cake at least once a year”.. If you want to go the more traditional route, try the creamiest pumpkin pie in the world.
And don’t forget to make miniature versions of everything to serve to your hamster.
I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away! I’ve been preparing my body by starting my Thanksgiving eating early. I have to make sure I don’t wuss out and get full halfway through my meal. If you’re still lost, don’t worry! Take a peek at my Thanksgiving Survival Kit (with additions from our lovely Shannon at A Periodic Table), last year’s Thanksgiving recipe roundup, oh, and even stuff to do with the leftovers.
You can see her own tweet here, if you so please.
On a semi-related note… I’ve had Twitter for a while, but have just recently started actually paying attention to it and the fact that it exists. So, if you’re on twitter, feel free to say “hi” or whatever. We could be real life Twitter friends! Isn’t that exciting?
Almost as exciting as being a cupcake. (Tips: Click the top-left of the video for volume. Click anywhere else on the video to give the poor girls legs a rest.)
In a related note, I’m feeling like I might be a cupcake for Halloween next year. I wasn’t quite sure how I would pull it off this year but if I start early enough I might be able to make it happen.
Our good friend tried to warn us the other day about looking for owl things on Etsy. It was super hilarious because it came just mere moments after I stumbled onto this beautiful masterpiece.
Unfortunately, she was just moments too late, because I already saw this.
And am already in love. For the low price of $9.99 it could be yours! Just think of the possibilities!
In cookie news, this amazing video goes in-depth into the magic behind making cookies. It’s pretty freaking amazing. WE ARE MAD SCIENTISTS!
We’re also saving lives by murdering tons of salmonella germs to save our loved ones… To review, we are amazing salmonella-murdering mad scientists.
In other news, San Francisco made a little boy’s dreams come true… I’m sure you’ve all heard of Batkid by now, but if you haven’t, you have to check out his amazing story.
On a semi-related note, if you’re at all interested in ruining your own childhood, check out the real stories behind some of the most popular Disney movies … Just remember, you’ve been warned.
If you’ve not seen the new Volvo ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme’s epic split, you’re not missing THAT much (aside from a pretty spectacular trick from someone who I wasn’t even sure was still around). But it will help you to understand Channing Tatum’s spoof of it.
You can read the story and see them both here.