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This week’s obsession: Pumpkin EVERYTHING

Ok maybe not everything - I like pumpkin, but not THAT much. But since it’s in season, I do want to enjoy the flavor a bit. Pumpkin is one of those foods that can lend itself to both the savory and the sweet worlds, but since I am me, you know how I decided to use my pumpkin.

That's right, I decided to make a delicious dessert with my pumpkin.

I know. We're all shocked.

One of the most obvious choices for me is to make macarons, so that’s exactly what I did. But instead of the classic round shape, I tried my hand at piping pumpkin shaped macarons. They didn’t come out as perfectly as I was hoping, but hey - there’s a first time for everything, right?

Mostly I think my issues involved me dragging a toothpick through the partially set batter to define the pumpkin ridges. This needs to be said - DON'T DO THAT! Oh man did I get some terrible cracking and misshapen tops to the pumpkins. The ones that I already left to be a bit lumpy because it was more "true to real pumpkin texture." (I kind of want to go back in time to smack myself for that one. But I digress...)

Next, I needed to figure out how to fill these pumpkin shaped macs with something that was actually pumpkin-y. (I know what you’re thinking… it’s a word now.)

Most of the pumpkin suggestions I came across were simply pumpkin pie filling and that just didn’t cut it for me. But then I came across a recipe called “Pumpkin Fluff” that called for both Cool Whip and Jello Instant pudding mix.

At first I dismissed the recipe due to these two ingredients because I try to make things from scratch as often as possible. Then I thought about how I could modify the recipe to use scratch ingredients to ensure a better tasting product.

Of course, it’s always easy to whip my own heavy cream to replace the high fructose syrup laden Cool Whip (and that's exactly what I did), but what about the instant pudding mix? What even is that?! And can I replace it with something(s) from my kitchen?

I’ve definitely seen a lot of home bakers’ recipes that require powdered pudding mix and I’ve rejected them immediately because of this, so if I can replace it with ingredients from my kitchen, that would open up a whole new realm of baking options (I love to try new recipes and modify them to in ways that seem super delicious in my brain, and most of the time it works)!

To answer my previous question I did some digging to figure out what this mixture really is, and the answer is YES. You can replace it with a few simple ingredients!

Basically vanilla pudding mix is just cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla.

Some of the research I came across states that you should use one part cornstarch to two parts sugar (or a sugar substitute if that’s your jam), and then add in a dash or two of vanilla extract to the concoction, and that should allow you to replace the vanilla pudding mix if you’re like me and aren’t prone to using store bought mixtures for your desserts.

So keep that tip of the week in your back pocket the next time you come across a delicious recipe but don’t want to use store bought powdered pudding mix.

Happy eating, y’all!

If you tried this dessert, or any other desserts in my blog, please share my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts about them and let people know what you think! Mahalo!

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