If you’re like me from three minutes ago and you’ve never seen this video but want to laugh really hard, push play on this little number. You can safely skip ahead to about 0:33…that’s when the action starts.
P.S. Yo Kenji! Why does the gnocchi do that?! (via @essl)
Update: I have not gotten an answer from Kenji yet (to be fair, he just became a father), but the consensus on Twitter is gnocchi and popcorn share some similarities. I will let John Vermylen, who is a Stanford PhD and also runs the pasta company Zerega, explain:
Hydrated starch on gnocchi exterior gelatinizes with temp, forming impervious barrier. Temp builds up inside. Water tries to boil as temp rises, but can’t turn to steam due to barrier. So pressure builds up, which pushes against wall of gnocchi. Eventually high pressure forces crack in that wall, which leads to pressure drop and instant flash off of high temp water to steam.
There’s an opportunity here to make crispy popcorn gnocchi…which brave chef will take up the challenge?
I was sitting at the laundromat this morning (my washer and dryer are on back order for a whole month) and started browsing “easy fall desserts”. That’s a dangerous thing to Google, BTW. I came across this recipe for Nutty Pumpkin-Pie Pudding from Better Homes and Gardens and loved the simplicity of it. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home, bought the few ingredients I needed to make my own version, and it was in the slow cooker minutes after I walked through my front door.
My version of the pudding is part apple pie, part pudding, and part crisp. It’s a totally unique dessert that is warm, rich, and full of those wonderfully spicy autumn flavors. I added diced apples to the bottom of the slow cooker, which melted down into a beautiful apple sauce or apple pie like consistency. The middle layer is the soft, rich, sweet, pumpkin “pudding” and the top is a cross between a cake and a crisp. Instead of yellow cake mix I used a spice cake mix because, duh, autumn. And lastly, I added some dry rolled oats to the topping to help absorb the extra moisture from the apples and give the topping a little more texture.
This dessert is a total win. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow because I’m sure it’s going to be just as awesome cold as it was hot!
Dice the apples and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, evaporated milk, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the diced apples.
In a separate bowl, stir together the cake mix, chopped walnuts, and rolled oats. Sprinkle the dry mixture over the ingredients in the slow cooker.
Melt the butter in the microwave and then drizzle it over the cake mix. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours. After 2.5 hours, turn the heat off, remove the lid, and let the pudding rest for 15-30 minutes, then serve. Eat as is or top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
If you can’t find pumpkin pie spice at your local grocery store, you can make your own with a blend of these spices.
Step by Step Photos
Start by dicing two apples. I left the skin on for more texture. I think these are Breaburn apples?I prefer apples that are slightly tart for desserts because it makes a nice contrast against the sugary sweetness of the rest of the ingredients.
Next, whisk together one 15-oz. can of pumpkin purée, 5 oz (2/3 cup) of evaporated milk, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice. I accidentally got the larger can of evaporated milk, so I guess I’ll use the rest for my coffee over the next few days! If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, here is a recipe to make it at home.
Place the diced apples in the bottom of the slow cooker, then pour the pumpkin mixture over top. You can coat the slow cooker with non-stick spray to make clean up easier, if you want.
Next stir together one box of spice cake mix, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup rolled oats. I used old-fashioned rolled oats because they have more texture and are in bigger pieces than instant oats.
Sprinkle the dry cake mixture over the ingredients that are already in the slow cooker. Melt 4 Tbsp of butter, then drizzle that over the cake mix. It won’t cover the cake mix completely, it will just be drizzled in spots. The moisture from the ingredients on the bottom will moisten the dry cake mix as it cooks.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours. After 2.5 hours, turn the heat off, remove the lid, and let it rest for 15-30 minutes. When it’s done, the top looks a little like a crisp or a crumble, but is also a little cake-like.
This dessert is pretty sweet and rich, so you might not be able to eat a whole cup serving. The chunks of soft apple provide a nice texture and flavor change to the rich pumpkiny pudding. The dessert is very soft overall, with bits and pieces of crunch in the topping (the topping is mostly soft too, though).
Here’s a close up. Can you smell the spicy autumn-awesomeness?