- Pies, traditional and whoopee (the latter being more cake-like, but that’s a debate for another time)
- Pumpkin bread, which borders on health food
- Seasonal coffee drinks
This time of year must be a bane for pumpkin-haters. Personally, I’m in heaven. It’s not so much the flavor of pumpkin itself–which on its own doesn’t really taste like much–but more about the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice (which sounds like something you’d find in a 1970s cupboard, next to the box of lard).
Below, a rundown of a few pumpkin sweets that have crossed my plate lately:
1) Trader Joe’s pumpkin cheesecake (pictured above w/creme fraiche, also from Trader Joe’s): At $6.99, that’s less than the price of one slice at the Cheesecake Factory. I had high hopes, but they should’ve called this “pumpkin-ish cheesecake.” The flavors are pretty muted, while the all-important crust lies in a purgatory between pastry and graham cracker. Half of this cheesecake is still in the freezer. I’m not anticipating defrosting it anytime soon.
2) Mrs. Smith’s classic pumpkin pie: Speaking of not defrosting things soon, I got this pie for $2 from Giant during the 2010 holiday season. It’s been taking up precious real estate in the freezer ever since. Given that it’s nearly a year old, I wasn’t sure whether to bake it or toss it. Upon inspection, it had just a tiny layer of freezer burn that scraped off easily. So into the oven it went. The pie actually came out perfectly—the crust even stayed crusty. Not sure what kind of industrial chemicals that takes, but someone who eats a year-old pie probably shouldn’t be quibbling.
3) Red Velvet pumpkin-sage cupcake (above, right): This is one of the November flavors-of-the-month at Rabbit, a Clarendon salad/grill place that serves Red Velvet cupcakes (same owners). I liked the sugared sage leaf, but the strong sage taste in the frosting threw me off. My brain couldn’t help thinking I was eating stuffing. The cupcake part was decently moist–overall, it’s a good cupcake. I was probably just too full after my amazing meal there to fully appreciate this.