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  • Margot Ruland

My Top Four Fall Desserts

Recipe #1: Burnt Butter Pear Crumble

From Adriana Adarme’s “The Year of Cozy”

Margot Ruland

I recently made this crumble for my advisory, and it was so yummy. The spices, butter and pears give off such nice autumn vibes, and the ginger adds a nice kick. The sugar in the crumble topping caramelized to form a gooey, delicious web of toasty sweetness in the cracks between walnut bits. Note: I found that 35 minutes isn’t nearly enough time for this to bake; I had it in the oven for a little over an hour and dialed the heat up to 425º after about 45 minutes. The recipe linked here, from Adriana Adarme’s blog, contains apples. I cannot attest to the effect of this added ingredient, but I’m sure they are a delicious addition. If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend buying the book, “A Year of Cozy.” It’s full of fun DIY crafts, recipes and activities, separated by month and season. If nothing else, buy it for the adorable photos of the author’s corgi Amelia (like this one):

Adriana Adarme, “A Cozy Kitchen”

Adriana Adarme, “A Cozy Kitchen”

Find the recipe here!

Recipe #2: Apple Cake

Lisa Ruland, “Unpeeled Journal”

Family recipe card/“Unpeeled Journal”

This is a family recipe, originating from my grandmother’s high school Home-Ec class. My stepmom Lisa, makes it a lot, and it is one of my Absolute Favorite Cakes Ever (for the record, I have two: this and Lisa’s chocolate cake, which I request every year for my birthday). The apples make it a perfect fall dessert. It’s sweet, simple and cozy and sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Find the recipe here.

Margot Ruland, “Unpeeled Journal”

Recipe #3: Pumpkin Pie

From family recipe card/“Unpeeled Journal” – adapted from Libby’s pumpkin pie can

Until about a month ago, I thought I hated pumpkin pie. My only memories were of a bite of slimy, pumpkin-y goop on Thanksgiving. I am not a fan of pumpkin (or sweet potato, or squash...) unless it is in bread/muffin or pancake form (unpopular opinion – I can’t stand pumpkin-scented things.). A month ago, however, Lisa made pumpkin pie when we had a family friend over for dinner. I ate a sliver to be polite. And guess what?! It wasn’t slimy, pumpkin-y goop! It was delicious! It was silky and a little bit warm, and it tasted more like vanilla and spices than straight pumpkin. Thank you, Lisa, for making me a pumpkin pie convert. The recipe that brought me to the light can be found here!

Recipe #4: Vanilla Custard Pie

Family Recipe

Last but not least comes the vanilla custard pie. I think I’ve only had this once, at Thanksgiving maybe two years ago, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. I request it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas (sadly, it hasn’t made it onto the menu since that first glorious time I tried it. I suppose it’s been usurped by the more classic apple and pumpkin pies). I have come to associate this pie with the fall/winter holiday season, and though it doesn’t contain any typically “fall” ingredients (apples, pears, nutmeg, pumpkin, etc.) I promise it is cozy and delicious enough to worm its way onto your holiday menu. I include the actual recipe here since it’s been passed down in my family and, as far as I know, does not exist digitally.

For the crust:

20 graham crackers (crushed in food processor)

1 ½ tb. flour

½ c. sugar

1 stick melted butter

1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and press into standard 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 7 minutes (or until brown) at 350º.

For the filling:

4 tb. cornstarch

½ tsp. salt

6 beaten egg yolks

½ c. sugar

4 c. whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

4 tb. butter

Bring first five ingredients to a slow boil. Stir/whisk the whole time. Boil for two minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Add the butter and vanilla. Stir and pour into pie crust. Bring to room temperature and then refrigerate.

For the meringue topping:

3 egg whites

Powdered sugar to taste

Pinch of cream of tartar

Beat mixture on high until it forms stiff peaks (when you dip your whisk/beater/whatever into it and pull it out, the little points should stay, not deflate sadly). Spread meringue over cooled custard filling, and bake pie at 375º until meringue is a light, toasty brown.

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