Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Custard

A Very Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving, Part II

 (The recipe has been updated to correct the amount of syrup and add brown sugar. That’s what happens when I try to write my post at midnight.)

You can’t have a Thanksgiving feast without desert. It’s just a fact. As someone who rarely has dessert, it still seems like the holiday is incomplete without some pumpkiny goodness. Sure, there are other holiday desserts of the non-pumpkin variety, but you can keep that mincemeat stuff. What the hell is that stuff anyway?

For me, pumpkin is synonomous with dessert as far as Thanksgiving is concerned.

And trying to exercise a modicum of restraint, eliminating the pastry from the dessert leaves a little wiggle room to sneak in an extra slice of turkey or two. And this is basically pumpkin pie without the crust. And since I will be cooking a big enough variety of items this Thanksgiving, I would rather not have to deal with a pastry as well.

I tried this once without the pressure cooker using this recipe. It was good, but I thought I could improve upon it using the pressure cooker and making a few changes. I may be biased, but the results were delish!

Since all four of my ramekins wouldn’t fit in a steamer basket, I placed them directly on the bottom of the pressure cooker in the water.

This makes four custards, aprroximately 10 oz. each. If you can’t fit all four into your pressure cooker at once, you could do two at a time.

Since this holiday season really snuck up on me, I have to hustle to get my Thanksgiving series in under the wire.

I have to admit, when I make these for the S.O. and myself, no matter how much restraint I try to exercise, these are so tasty that I usually tell myself I am only going to have one, then I put the empty ramekin in the sink, go back to my chair and sit down for 30 seconds before I get up to get a second one.
And here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, get the one that is 100% pumpkin)

2 cups heavy cream (divided)

2 large eggs plus one yolk, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons butter

4 ounces or so walnut halves

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon (approximately) freshly ground nutmeg (ground will probably work, but do yourself a favor and grind it yourself. It is definitely worth it!) Plus a little more for the top

Directions

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine pumpkin, 1 cup cream and eggs. Add in brown sugar and 1/3 cup maple syrup. Keep mixing. Add in cinnamon, ground cloves and the nutmeg. Mix for a couple minutes.

Divide between four ramekins. If your ramekins do not have lids, cover with foil
Put 1/2 cup water or whatever the minimum is for your pressure cooker in the pot of your cooker. Place the ramekins in the pot. Turn heat to high and cover.

When high pressure is reached, lower heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for ten minutes.

In the meantime, melt butter over medium heat in skillet. When butter is melted, add walnuts and toast them in the butter for a couple of minutes. When the walnuts start to take on a little color, add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and stir for a couple minutes more.

When timer sounds, remove pressure cooker from heat and release pressure naturally.

When pressure is released, remove ramekins from the pressure cooker. You can refrigerate for later, or let cool a little and serve warm.

When ready to serve, add the remaining cup of cream and the remaining syrup and whip (I used the immersion blender, but you can use your favorite whipping method. Just be sure to Whip It, Whip It Good)

Top each custard with walnuts

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Let me know how you like it!

 

 

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

A Very Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving, Pt. 1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and after a few false starts it seems that Fall is finally upon us. At the beginning of last week, temps were still climbing to 80-90F. It’s as if Mother Nature was so preoccupied with making things miserable for folks on the east coast that she totally neglected us on the left coast, that is until Thursday when she seemed to snap out of it and say “Oh, crap! I totally forgot about those schmucks on the other side!” Temps dropped to 50-60F, fog and drizzle prevailed, and winds reached hat-snatching velocity.

I must say that this weather is much more conducive to conducting Thanksgiving dinner tests. It’s difficult to get in the mood when you’re standing in the kitchen in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts sipping on a Mai Tai with a little umbrella in it, thinking “I wonder how those yams are doing…”

This week, my thoughts turned to cranberry sauce. Sure, there’s a certain nostalgic charm about the log of gelled sauce making that neat sucking sound as it plops onto the plate, but I decided to try something different, something I can make in the pressure cooker.

For some reason, I got the idea of a chipotle cranberry sauce stuck in my head, probably because chipotle everything seems to be big in this part of the country.
There are a lot of chipotle cranberry sauce recipes around, but none were exactly what I was looking for (meaning some looked way more complicated than I was willing to attempt, and I was unable to find one that utilized the pressure cooker).
Taking bits and pieces from many recipes and adding a few things of my own, a couple of tries later I came up with this easy recipe for Pressure Cooker Chipotle Cranberry Sauce.

The most difficult part of this recipe is sorting through the bag of cranberries. Sometimes it seems as though you end up with half the amount that you started with once you remove all the squished ones, tiny hard ones and ones that just don’t look right.

I didn’t even attempt cooking this directly in the pressure cooker pot, instead using Miss Vickie’s Pot in Pan (PIP) method, or in this case, Bowl In Pan (this is the same method I use when making my Pressure Cooker Grits). While I’m on the subject of bowls, my favorite by far is this pricey but perfect Rosle stainless steel bowl. It is narrow but deep with a 1.6 liter capacity, fitting easily into my 7 liter Kuhn Rikon, and I am guessing most pressure cookers of the 5 quart or larger size.

Now that I have the cranberry sauce down, this week I will work on my stuffing and yams.

In the meantime, here is the recipe:

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries

2 limes (you will use the zest of one, and the juice of both)

1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder (plain old chili powder should work fine, I have just been on an ancho chili kick lately)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I use a heaping half cup)

1/4 cup red wine

Directions

Rinse the cranberries well and sort through them and put in the bowl

Zest one of the limes over the cranberries

In a seperate container put two or three of the chipotle chilis, add a spoon or two of the sauce in there for good measure. I don’t know why, but I had a more difficult time than usual finding these this week, perhaps everyone is making chipotle cranberry sauce this season. The closest local supermarket was out of them, so I went to Whole Foods (the second closest, but more expensive local supermarket. I got lucky at Whole Foods, but they only had several cans left.

In with the chilis, add the red wine. The first time I made this I used water, and it turned out fine, but I like it a little better with the wine. Either will be good.

Add the juice of both limes to this mixture and puree using your favorite pureeing tool. I use a measuring cup for this mixture and puree with my immersion blender. If you use a regular blender just throw it all in the container and puree (hint, hint… With the holidays rapidly approaching, I wouldn’t be too upset if anyone wanted to get me one of them there Vitamixes).

Once this mixture is pureed, pour it over the cranberries.

Next, add the cumin, cinnamon, chili powder and brown sugar.

Now, stir this whole mess together.

In the pressure cooker add a cup of water (or whatever the minimum is for your particular PC) and place the trivet in the bottom of the pot.

Place the bowl with the cranberry mixture into the pressue cooker, turn heat to high, and lock the lid in place.

When you reach maximum pressure, turn the heat down to just maintain pressure and set the timer for ten minutes.

When the sound of the timer becomes annoying, remove pressure cooker from heat and let pressure come down naturally.

Remove bowl from pressure cooker.

With a fork, stir the cranberries, mashing some of them to release some of that natural pectin to thicken it up a bit. Let it cool a little. I have served this both warm and chilled. If you would like to serve it chilled, stick it in the fridge for a while.

And that’s it, it’s ready to serve!

Tonight, I used it to top Stuffing-flavored turkey burgers. This was the fourth time this week the S.O. and I had this, so I had to keep thinking of new ways to serve it.

I’d love to hear from you if you give it a try. Let me know how you like it.

 

Pressure Cooker Rouladen

Roll Your Own… Beef, That Is! 

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Rouladen (Wikipedia definition here) is probably my favorite thing I have made in the pressure cooker thus far. Having never had rouladen before I made it myself, I wasn’t sure about the authenticity of it, but the S.O., who was born in Germany, gave it her seal of approval by calling it “really good rouladen”. In fact, I felt a sense of relief when she walked in from work and saw the finished product on the plate and said “You made rouladen!” Just the fact that it was recognizable as what I intended it to be was a good sign.

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In doing rouladen research on the interwebs, I noticed that rouladen is one of those things that if you look at 100 different recipes, every one of them will be different, and every one of them will claim that it is the only true and properly authentic way to do it, much like chili in the U.S.

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Rejecting the many  versions on the internet, once again I was inspired by a TV show, this time it was Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, in an episode where host Guy Fieri visited the Chicago Brauhaus. This was what inspired me to try my hand at rouladen anyway, so I just developed the recipe based on what I saw on the show. When I saw the cook at the restaurant rolling up beef stuffed with bacon, mustard, pickle and onion I thought to myself “Wow! It’s nature’s perfect food!” and I knew right then and there that I had to give it a try. Of course, the version on the show was not prepared using the pressure cooker, but like most things I make, I had to adapt it to my favorite cooking method.

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Unfortunately, I lost most of the step-by-step photos that I took  during the preparation process when I had to perform an emergency reformatting of my memory card on my camera in the middle of everything, so I just ended up with a few photos of the end of the whole thing.

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Next time I prepare this, I will again take photos and add them into this post.

 

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Probably the most difficult part of preparing rouladen is finding the best cut of meat. I have tried it with top round and I have tried it with flank steak, and I have found that the shape of the flank steak lends itself well to this dish. One tricky part is to slice the flank steak through the center so that you end up with two thin flanks steaks. If you have a good butcher that can do this for you, then take advantage of it.

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Pressure Cooker Beef Rouladen (Rindsrouladen)

1-1/2-2 pounds flank steak

Salt

Pepper

Hungarian Paprika (I like to use the hot variety, but the regular will work as well)

Whole grain mustard (I’ve used Dijon in a pinch, but I prefer the grainy type)

4 strips thick cut bacon

1 medium onion, sliced as thinly as possible

4 pickle spears ( the pickles found in the refrigerated section of your market work the best, because they maintain their crispness better when cooking).

For the gravy:

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Stalks celery, sliced

2 small carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup red wine

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

 2 bay leaves

1-1/2 cup beef broth

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flour

Cut the flank steak into 4 pieces. First cut in half, then cut each of these pieces through the center, so that you are left with 4 thin pieces of steak

Pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until steak is of uniform thickness, ideally around 1/4 inch thick

Sprinkle each piece of steak liberally with salt, pepper and paprika

Starting at the end closest to you, spread some of the mustard, going about half way to the far end (going all the way to the other end will be a lot messier when you roll it. I found this out from experience).

Next, it’s time to baconize these puppies. I like to cut each strip of bacon in half, then lay side by side on the steak, so that there is more bacon per bite.

Put a layer of the thinly sliced onions over this, again going about half way to the other end.

Place a pickle spear ( I usually take a large pickle and cut into four spears, but this time I could only find smaller-sized pickles, so I just cut them in half) near the edge of the steak closest to you.

Now, for the rolling. I always use kitchen twine, but you can use toothpicks or skewers, I just find the twine to be easier. I usually cut eight pieces of twine before I start rolling, to make it easier.

Starting at the pickle end, roll the meat over the filling jelly roll style.

Secure each one with two pieces of twine (unless you are using toothpicks or skewers, then use those, but I guess I didn’t really have to tell you that.)

Using a little vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pan, brown the rouladen on all sides, then remove to a plate.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot. Flank steak is pretty lean, so you probably won’t need to drain any of the oil. Saute for a few minutes until the onions become translucent and the carrots and celery just start to soften. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so.

Add the red wine to deglaze the pan being sure to scrape up any yummy bits from the bottom.

Add the worcestershire and dump in the broth

Add the bay leaves

Add salt and pepper to taste

When mixture starts to simmer, add the rouladen back to the pan.

Cover the pressure cooker and let come to full pressure, then reduce heat to maintain pressure and set timer for 15 minutes.

Pour a glass of the red wine that you were using for the gravy and relax for 15 minutes.

When the timer sounds, take pan off heat and let pressure release naturally.

While waiting for the pressure to come down, mix two tablespoons of flour with enough water to form a thin paste.

When pressure is down, again remove the rouladen to a plate.

Bring juices to a simmer over medium heat. I have tried this several ways, you can strain the vegetables from the juices, you can use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables into the juices, or you can just leave the vegetables as is, which is my favorite way to do it.

Stir in the flour mixture and simmer for five minutes or so, until the mixture thickens.

Put the rouladen on plates, I usually count two of them as one serving, albeit a quite generous serving, but with enough side dishes, this could easily serve four.

Cut the twine with kitchen shears and remove. Top the meat rolls with gravy, and enjoy! I top with some chopped parsley if I happen to have some on hand.

I usually serve this with red cabbage and steamed buttered potatoes.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

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