“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”
Yogi Berra

Light pumpkin pie 1Light Pumpkin Pie. It’s difficult to not think pumpkin and get deluged by orange thoughts once fall is in the air. Come autumn, and pumpkin pie spice is the on the top of my head. It breaks my heart to say goodbye to stone fruit when summer draws to a close, and somewhere in the hot summer months I always forget the charm of fall. These days there’s loads of pumpkin on the table.

orangeOh the orange hues. persimmons, pumpkin {which is there pretty much all the year around here though}, and the little bitter kumquats. Such bright colours and so much fun! It’s around this time that the boy will gently come and request for a pumpkin cake on Halloween. For him it’s customary to ask. For me, it’s another opportunity to experiment. With a steady source of good quality pumpkin pie spice from the sister in the US, I am happy to take the pumpkin route.

fresh pumpkin pureeThe pumpkin pie came along in a hurry as usual. The ingredients were very basic with fresh pumpkin puree and some left over condensed milk thrown in. There was an orange sitting on the counter so in went some zest as a last minute thought, then a dash of Grand Marnier to compliment it. You can always skip the liqueur, but try and add the orange zest. The flavour  orange zest added was amazing.

Light pumpkin pieWhenever I experiment with pies or cakes, there is a sense of panic on the other side. Will it set, won’t it set. Will it slice cleanly, or maybe not??? Then again, hope it tastes OK! Heaved a mighty sigh of relief when it left the pan easily and didn’t flow like lava. YES! It had set. A few pictures, then a slice later, a sense of jubilation. It set beautifully AND was firm enough to be sliced, staying light and moussey!

Light pumpkin pieThe boy wolfed down a couple of slices in the evening. Is it dessert Mama he asked, before eyeing another slice. It was his after all, made on personal request. I would have done him a pumpkin pie latte on the side but I got a little lazy.

Light pumpkin pieThe husband gave it a thumbs up too. Is it pie, is it cake I asked? Cheescakey he said. It’s a pie that thinks it’s a cheesecake I guess.

  • [print_this]Recipe: Light Pumpkin Pie
    Light Pumpkin Pie

    Summary: Bursting with orange and fall flavours, this Light Pumpkin Pie is simple to make and quite addictive to eat. It’s a pie that thinks it’s a cheesecake. Serves 8

    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    • Biscuit Almond Crust
    • 115g digestive biscuits
    • 35g whole almonds
    • 40g brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    • 70g unsalted butter, chilled, grated
    • Pumpkin pie filling
    • 250g fresh pumpkin puree
    • 100g condensed milk
    • 150g brown sugar
    • 25g cornstarch
    • 1tsp pumpkin pie spice
    • Zest of 1 orange
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 3 egg whites
    • 1tsp Grand Marnier or pure vanilla extract
    • Single or whipped cream to serve, optional


    1. Biscuit Almond Crust
    2. Preheat oven to 180C
    3. Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor and pulse briefly on high speed until breadcrumb like mix
    4. Turn into 8″ loose bottomed baking tin or 9″ pie dish, press down and up firmly to make a base and about 1/2″ high side.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes until light brown. Leave to cool slightly while you make the pumpkin pie filling.
    6. Pumpkin pie filling
    7. Place egg whites in clean large bowl and whip to stiff peaks.
    8. Place remaining ingredients in bowl of food processor and blend until smooth.
    9. Fold beaten egg whites gently into the pumpkin mixture.
    10. Turn over baked pie crust and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until firm when touched in the centre.
    11. Allow to cool completely in the tin, and chill overnight.
    12. Serve with unsweetened single or whipped cream.


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“If it be not ripe, it will draw a man’s mouth awry, with much torment, but when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an apricot.”
Captain John Smith

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse 1Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse … light, smooth, deep and delicious. The persimmon puree adds a pop of colour that welcomes fall with it’s bright orange like nothing else. OK maybe a papaya, but then the papaya lacks the translucent jelly like beauty of this special fruit.

A couple of years ago, we landed in Sydney on a cold night. I headed straight for the kitchen since I knew my sweet Ukrainian friend would always have something special waiting for me. I was duly rewarded… a line of persimmons sat neatly on her windowsill. It was instant fruit therapy, but they weren’t ripe, she pointed out. 

hachiya persimmonsCut to now. After waiting almost forever I gently inquired at my local fruit & vegetable vendor why persimmons, or Ramphal/Amarphal as they are locally referred to, weren’t showing up yet. You see Ruchira in Islamabad had already excitedly announced their foray, made a mousse and waxed eloquent about this delicious fruit.

Hachiya persimmonsI immediately developed persimmon withdrawal symptoms! Must have been my lucky day, because the guy at the shop came back two minutes later saying I should have asked for something else. He cranked open a fruit crate to uncover lines of persimmons, that too hachiyas, the variety I so love! They were all tickled pink that I asked for something and it popped out of the crate! I was chuffed!

hachiya persimmons Of course they were unripe. Very firm, very hard and barely a deep orange. Bite into a persimmon at this disastrous stage and you will be sorely {or surely} punished! It’s a strange fruit. When unripe it’s very edgy and astringent. Make the mistake, and you might never come back to it.

hachiya persimmonsBut allow them to sit out on the kitchen counter {or windowsill}; be patient, VERY PATIENT. Mine took almost 3 weeks to ripen. They will turn a bright, translucent orange, evenly coloured, with a few blackish spots; very soft to touch. The time is ripe to chill them and dig in, or just dig in if you can’t wait any longer! Sweet as honey and slippery like jelly, it’s an amazing fruit!

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse 2I HAD to make something with the puree. Unfortunately, only one hachiya was completely ripe, the fingertips sinking right into the fruit when I gently pressed it. Some quick thinking later I decided to make a dark chocolate mousse {inspired by this two ingredient winning recipe by Hervé This}. Had to keep the dieting diva in mind as she is off on another hair brained dieting venture.

Dark Chocolat & Persimmon Mousse The chocolate had to be dark {as it’s good for dieting she announced as she readily nibbled away on my precious stash}. 85% dark Lindt it was, and then a tasting later I figured it could use some low fat cream and a dash of sugar. The Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  is so rewarding to make, considering just a combination of chocolate and water can yield something so magical.

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse I added a dash of Grand Marnier {very optional}. It gave very slight orange undertones, enhancing the taste of the mousse gently. I did add a small dash to the persimmon puree as well to tie the flavours in. Separated by a layer of unsweetened low fat cream, it was a dessert we enjoyed!Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  Any dessert serving followed by ‘Can I have more?‘ is a sign of success! This Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  was one such example!


[print_this]Recipe: Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse your picture

Summary: The dark chocolate mousse is fab on its own. Sensuous, smooth, satisfying, intense … everything that good quality dark chocolate promises to be. Top it with seasonal fruit, persimmon in this case, and some low fat cream. Mousse recipe adapted from here, inspired by Hervé This.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Dark chocolate mousse
  • 200 grams bittersweet (%70 cocoa solids) chocolate, chopped
  • 170g water
  • 10g Grand marnier {optional}
  • 30g sugar, optional
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • Topping
  • Pulp of 1 large ripe hachiya persimmon + 1 tsp grand marnier {latter optional}


  1. Place a large mixing bowl on top of another slightly smaller one, filled with ice and cold water (the bottom of the large bowl should touch the ice). Set aside.
  2. Put chocolate and water (also sugar and/or liquor if you’re using) in a medium-sized pan and melt the chocolate over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl sitting on top of ice and water, and start whisking with a wire whisk (or an electrical hand-held mixer) until thick. Watch the texture as you whip and make sure not to over-whip as it will make the mousse grainy.
  4. Add 100ml low fat cream and whip to mix
  5. Divide between 6 serving glasses/goblets
  6. Chill for an hour to set.
  7. Divide remaining 100g low fat cream between the 6.
  8. Chill for an hour. Divide the persimmon pulp between the 6, garnish with mint leaves if desired.


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“Cake baking has to be, however innocently, one of the great culinary scams: it implies effort, it implies domestic prowess; but believe me, it’s easy.”
Nigella Lawson

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk FrostingPumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting. I’ve waited to bake a pumpkin tea cake for long. This humble fall vegetable is entirely charming, so full of promise, yet so underrated!

pumpkin loveOver the years, the season has continued to inspire me. It’s a culinary delight to see the number of pumpkin dishes falling into the inbox day after day. From pumpkin soups, to waffles, to chili, scones, smoothies and so much more tumbling in, it was but natural for me to roast more pumpkin. Felt right!

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting I roasted a large batch the other day. Half headed for pumpkin soup. That recipe inspired my mother to make a similar soup, a vegetarian version. She roasted a bunch of vegetables on the side, didn’t use stock, and yet came up with a winner! The remaining puree was reserved for cake!

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting This Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting is based on the buttermilk pound cake which I make very often. I tried to keep it nice and healthy, with a generous dose of whole wheat flour. The pumpkin and pie spice added a nice deep dimension to it. I knew the kids would love it. The boy LOVES anything with pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting The frosting was simple, yet finger licking good. Quite close to tasting like a salted butter caramel sauce, but sans the caramel. It’s quick and easy to make. Complimented the cake really nicely.

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting As always, it’s difficult for my fidgety hands to leave well alone. I had a rather large cinnamon scroll that a sweet cousin had sent me. And I thought some marzipan art was in order. Despite being rushed for time, my hands got down to kneading the last remaining marzipan from Finla. I had a field day.

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting Making pumpkins with marzipan is no rocket science. It’s a step back into playschool and such a load of fun. I made some a few years ago for this cake with homemade marzipan. I love the way simple garnishing can add a pop of colour and add oomph to a loaf cake. 

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting It tastes just as good without the ‘decor’ but the kids {read young adults} fought for marzipan bits and bobs! I love the slight bitterness the marzipan has. Not to sweet and a 100% delicious.

[print_this]Recipe:  Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting 
your picture

Summary: This Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting is based on the buttermilk pound cake which I make very often. It’s healthy with a generous dose of whole wheat flour. The pumpkin and pie spice added a nice deep dimension to it. Buttermilk frosting and marzipan make it festive.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 120g vanilla sugar
  • 130g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 80g plain flour
  • 120g whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 50g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • Buttermilk frosting
  • 25g butter
  • 25g buttermilk
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp buttermilk


  1. Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 9 X 11″ loaf tin, line the bottom.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the walnuts, stir well to distribute evenly.In a large bowl, crream the butter and both sugars until lligh and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, followed by the vanilla extract.
  5. Next beat in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.
  6. Add a third of the flour mix and beat in on low speed, then a half the buttermilk. Repeat again, ending with the flour mix.
  7. Turn into prepared tin and bake at 180C for about an hour, until the tester comes out clean.
  8. In the meantime, make the frosting and cool completely.
  9. Buttermilk frosting
  10. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a simmering boil, stirring constantly until the frosting thickens.
  11. Remove from heat, strain into a bowl or jar and cool completely.


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