The Best Pumpkin Dessert in the world is at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in Santa Monica. My friend Michal Mitchell, who now lives in Virginia, is one of the best home cooks I know and she sent me this recipe to make for the Thanksgiving dinner at my home.She always has fabulous ideas. Of course I tweaked the recipe a tad and used buttermilk instead of whole milk. It is the lightest of any shortcake I have ever made. The caramel apples will melt in your mouth, and the ginger whipped cream is an ethereal and clever topping for this dessert. It is so easy to make and will grace any holiday table. I brought a batch of them to my friend Diana Temple’s house for dinner the night before and every one raved about them. Diana is a professional chef so I was very proud to have her compliments.
I like it so much because I am not a pumpkin pie lover, I prefer sweet potato pie. So we served it as a special at our Irish pub on Thanksgiving. The shortcakes also received rave reviews so we are featuring it throughout the holiday season. My mother used to say a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips! The diet starts for real in January.
Happy Christmas to all of you and all of our very best wishes for a safe, healthy, prosperous New Year.
Michal’s Pumpkin Shortcake with Caramel Apples & Gingered Whipped Cream Makes 6
4 tablespoons sweet butter
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in ¼-inch wedges
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add apple slices. Sauté for 10 minutes until tender. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and cream and cook slowly over low heat until thick and caramelized. Set aside.
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into ¼ inch dice
½ cup pumpkin puree
⅓ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
1. Heat oven to 425º F. Butter a cookie sheet. Sift the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl of a mixing machine.
2. Add the butter and mix until flour resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together the pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla. Add into flour mixture with the machine running on low and stir until it combines. Dough should be sticky but hold together in a sticky ball.
3. Flour hands well and turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press out and cut dough into 6 three inch rounds with a glass or a cookie cutter.
Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Place cream and vanilla into mixing bowl with wire whip and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Slowly add sugar and continue beating until cream holds soft peaks. Stir in ginger.
Split each shortcake in half & place a large dollop of whipped cream on top. Spoon warm apple mixture over cream and make sure to serve a generous amount of sauce. Place top of shortcake and drizzle with a little more sauce.