I have been working at Williams Sonoma in Brossard now for about 5 months. It is a wonderful and magical food place that fills me with joy every time I walk into it. I have been teaching cooking classes on the weekend. Saturdays are for the kids and Sunday is for adult classes. The best part of the whole experience is the people I get to meet and talk food with (I am learning as much as they are) and the taste testing of all the wonderful prepared WS food staples. Plus, I get to test all the equipment - Oh joy!
So far, I have been truly amazed by the Breville ice cream maker, the Vitamix (bought one), the Breville waffle maker and now, this week, the Breville pizza oven (please note that prices in Canada are different than on the American site). Seriously, every one of these tools is amazing and I would love to own them all. However, living in a condo in downtown Montreal does not allow for the space required to store these wonderful appliances. If I had it my way, I would have a beautiful pantry, just off the kitchen, that would house and display them all. Maybe some day!
What I can do however, is bring home many of the delicious food items. Two of my new favourites are the Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter and the Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Quick Bread. As a cook, I really do prefer making things from scratch but when I find something that makes my life a little easier (like at this time of year) and is incredibly good (as good or possibly even better than I can make), I will buy it and use it without guilt. Check out the ingredient list too - it's only pumpkin, sugar, lemon juice, pecans and spices (which BTW makes it vegan)!
After the initial tasting and discovery, my mind will always inevitably begin to conjure up new and different ways to serve it and this is a recipe I decided to try that is inspired by the WS Ooey Gooey Bars (you can reduce the sugar a little in the recipe for the oozy gooey bars).
So here it is: the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mousse. It is sooooooo good that I just eat it by the spoonful and it's really hard to stop. It is also wonderful as a topping for waffles, pancakes or cakes. Otherwise, use it as a dip with cookies (shortbreads, digestives or tea cookies). I promise, you won't believe how good this is. BTW, it's on sale now (after Thanksgiving) so now is the time to stock up.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mousse: Makes about 4 cups (1L)
- 1 package (block) of regular cream cheese (250g) - I only used full fat cream cheese but you are welcome to try it with the reduced fat version - let me know how it turns out!
- 1 jar of Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter (382g)
- 1 cup (250ml) of whipping 35% cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (another ingredient I cannot do without)
- 1/3 cup (80ml) of powdered sugar
1. Start by whipping the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to another bowl and keep in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.
2. Place the cream cheese in the micro-wave (or leave at room temperature) to soften it. It should be a consistency that is easy to whip.
3. In the bowl in which you whipped the cream (don't worry about cleaning it - all the ingredients will come together in the end), whip the softened cream cheese until it is light and very smooth (about 2 minutes on medium high speed).
4. Add the whole jar of pecan pumpkin butter, the vanilla bean paste and the powdered sugar. Whip on medium high speed to combine all the ingredients well.
5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add 1/3 of the whipped cream, stirring well with a spatula to incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.
6. Fold the remaining whipped cream gently into the mixture, maintaining the fluffy, airy texture of the cream.
7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (can be kept for 3 - 4 days in the fridge). This mousse pipes easily onto any cake or desert you like or serve it as a dip with your favourite cookies for a new quick and original desert idea.
PS: also really