30 October 2009

Halloween Italian Comfort Food: Halloween Purses, Pumpkin Risotto, Chocolate Pudding Cake, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Nutella Apples

From Denny: Italian cooking goes Halloween! Featured is Pumpkin Risotto, Trick-or-Treat Halloween Bags which are phyllo dough purses with stacked layers of eggplant, prosciutto ham, mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil. More goodies from this chef family are the recipes for Baked Pumpkins filled with Pumpkin Bread Pudding topped with Pomegranate Sauce, Bittersweet chocolate pudding cake with butterscotch sauce and Caramel Nutella apples.

All of these recipes come from Chefs Marion, Anthony, Rosanna, John and Elaina of the New York City restaurant Fresco by Scotto. These chefs are exceptionally clear on fast-paced television.

Bittersweet chocolate pudding cake with butterscotch sauce

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 10 servings


For chocolate pudding cake

• 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup butter
• 1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup hot water

For butterscotch sauce

• 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3 tablespoons light corn syrup


1. To make chocolate pudding cake: Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and ½ cup of the cocoa powder.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup of the brown sugar at medium speed until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon the batter into the dish.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ¾ cups brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and the hot water. Pour the liquid over the batter and place the baking dish into a larger pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pudding is barely set and has begun to pull away from the sides of the baking dish.

6. To make butterscotch sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Serve the pudding warm with the warm butterscotch sauce.

Trick-or-treat Halloween bags

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 6 servings


• 1 box phyllo dough sheets
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 12 slices eggplant, 1/4 inch thick, brushed with olive oil and grilled on both sides
• 8 Italian plum tomatoes, cut 1/4 inch thick
• 6 slices fresh mozzarella, cut 1/4 inch thick
• 18 fresh basil leaves
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
• 6 slices prosciutto, sliced thin, 8 inches in length
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Stack 1 slice of eggplant, 2 slices tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, 2 basil leaves, and top with 1 more slice of eggplant. Season with a pinch of oregano and top with ¼ teaspoon Parmesan cheese. Assemble 5 remaining stacks the same way.

2. Place 2 prosciutto slices lengthwise on work surface. Place stack in middle of prosciutto slices and fold prosciutto over the top to wrap stack.

For phyllo bags:

1. Place one sheet of phyllo on work surface. Brush a little olive oil all over sheet, especially the edges of phyllo. Place a second sheet on top in the opposite direction to make a cross. Brush oil on top of second sheet as before. Salt and pepper entire surface.

2. Place vegetable prosciutto filling in middle of the phyllo. Pull all the sides up toward the center to make a bag. Pinch all four corners of phyllo dough together with your forefingers and thumbs. Brush the outside of each bag with olive oil. Continue the same procedure to make a total of 6 bags.

3. Place the assembled bags on a baking tray brushed with olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until phyllo bags become a light golden brown.

4. Place a few spoonfuls of Halloween sauce on the bottom of each serving dish, add a phyllo bag and serve (see recipe below).

Halloween sauce

From: The Scotto Family


• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 2 shallots, peeled, finely minced
• 2 yellow peppers, split in half, deseeded, rough-chopped into small pieces
• 2 yellow tomatoes, cored, rough-chopped
• 1 small yellow squash, split in half lengthwise, deseeded, rough-chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium to high heat. Sauté garlic and shallots for approximately 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add peppers, tomatoes and squash all together. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to low heat for 20 minutes.

2. Allow vegetables to cool off for 10 minutes, place in blender and puree to smooth consistency.

Pumpkin risotto with toasted almonds

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 4 servings



• 4 small pumpkins, weighing 2 pounds or less, tops removed, insides scraped and deseeded


• 6 cups chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 2 cups Arborio rice
• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep at a bare simmer.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and wine and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the onions are translucent and the white wine is reduced. Add the rice and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until every grain is coated the liquid.

3. Place pumpkins in preheated oven.

4. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. When half the stock has been added, add pumpkin puree. Continue to add stock. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese and toasted almonds.

6. Remove pumpkins from oven, fill with risotto, top with almonds and serve immediately.

Baked pumpkins filled with pumpkin bread pudding topped with pomegranate sauce

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 6 servings


Pumpkin bread pudding

• 3 medium-size pumpkins, tops removed, insides scraped and deseeded
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
• 1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 10 cups 1/2-inch cubes egg bread or brioche (about 10 ounces)
• Powdered sugar

Pomegranate sauce

• 4 large pomegranates (about 3 pounds)
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 3/4 cup sugar


For pumpkin bread pudding:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk half-and-half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes.

For pomegranate sauce:

1. Cut the pomegranates in half. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Using a spoon or your fingers, scrape the seeds into the sieve.

2. Using a wooden spoon or a flat meat pounder, press on the seeds to extract 2 cups of juice. Discard the seeds and set the juice aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, mix the cornstarch with the sugar. Slowly stir in the pomegranate juice and mix well. Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken and darkens to a deep wine color and the sauce coats the back of the spoon.

4. Remove from the heat and let cool. The sauce may be made ahead and stored in a jar in the refrigerator. It will thicken somewhat if stored. When ready to use, thin with a little warm water if necessary.

Caramel Nutella Apples

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 6 servings


For caramel apples

• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, about 3/4 cup
• 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• Wooden candy apple sticks
• 6 apples

For Nutella apples

• Wooden candy apple sticks
• 6 apples
• 1 jar Nutella


1. To make caramel apples: Mix all ingredients in a 2-quart pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until soft ball stage (about 230 to 236°F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat. Cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Skewer apples; dip one by one in caramel.

2. To make Nutella apples: Heat Nutella in the top of a double boiler. Skewer apples; dip one by one in Nutella.

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone!

*** For more Halloween recipes and funny Halloween videos:

Video: Halloween Campy Cakes - Chocolate Spider Cakes, Ghoulish Ghost Cakes

4 Campy Halloween Drinks for Your Party, Find Out Halloween Trivia

*** Handmade Unique - lists posts from several blogs around the blogosphere with Halloween posts. Pay her a visit!
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