This was my first attempt at this luxurious cake. I tried hard not to change the procedure described in the source recipe and it paid off. This sticky, gooey mound of sugar coated dough lumps it like heaven on earth. Give it a try too and you won’t regret it!
In a standing mixer I combined 1 cup of flour, yeast, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. I mixed these together with the paddle until blended.
In the meantime, I added the water and butter into a small microwave proof bowl and microwaved until the butter was fully melted. This took roughly a minute on high. Unfortunately, when I was done the water/fat mix was too hot to add to the yeast so I waited till it cooled. You want it between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Mine was at 126 degrees. I totally screwed up on this by the way, because my brain forgot what 4 vs 2 looks like and I used only 2 Tbsps of butter instead of the 4 suggested in the source recipe.
Once the water and butter were at a non-lethal temperature, I added it to the flour mixture along with the pumpkin puree, egg, and sugar and let it mix with the paddle for 3 minutes.
At this point I switched to the dough hook attachment and started adding flour bit by bit until the dough no longer stuck to the bowl at all. This was 2 1/2 cups for me on top of the first cup added in step 1.
The dough was then removed from the standing mixer bowl and gently turned into a ball and added to a large well oiled bowl to rise for 60-90 minutes. I think I was on the longer side for mine but honestly, I started cleaning things and just looked over form time to time to see if it had doubled in size yet. I should also note that my house, even in the middle of winter was a lovely 73 degrees Fahrenheit and dough does rise well on my counter. If you live like a student and your home is chilly, consider putting the dough into your oven with the heat turned off but the oven light turned on. One more aside before we move on, when I took the dough out of the mixer bowl it was still a pretty wet dough. It was borderline sticky. The oil from the bowl helped me and the dough remain separate entities.
The glaze was made by just adding the brown sugar to the melted butter and whisking until incorporated. It’s really that simple and it will look for a while like these two will never come together but just keep going. This is a pretty good general rule in baking. If someone tells you to do something and it looks wrong, try mixing way longer!
Finally I just added some chopped pecans, maybe even a lot of chopped pecans. This turned out to be very, very important because these beautiful pecans get a nice candy coating and became beautifully crunchy. Can’t go wrong with candied pecans guys.
Ok, so this is where it got long and a little tedious if you’re obsessive like me. I needed to take that lovely bread dough and divide it into 64 pieces. I like to weigh the whole dough and then divide it on a calculator and then weigh out each piece to the size I need. I did warn you about the tediousness. The shorter method is to just divide the dough in two, 6 times but then it won’t be perfect.
In a small bowl, I mixed the coating ingredients sans butter.
In another small bowl I melted the butter.
Finally, this is where it got exciting again. I sprayed my bundt pan down with some baking PAM because I’m lazy and unwary of scary chemicals. You can definitely choose to coat it in butter or do whatever you do to keep thing from sticking to the pan.
I took half of my glaze with those pecan gems and poured it into the pan in a nice little layer.
Next, I grabbed my precisely weighed dough morsels and dipped them into that butter before tossing in the sugar-spice mixture. Then each coated dough nugget was placed in the bundt pan in evenly around.
Once all of the dough has been used up and your pan is full of little dough balls, the rest of that glaze was poured on top. The dough was covered with plastic wrap with enough space for the expected rise but tight enough that the dough didn’t dry out.
At last, the raw cake was thrown into the fridge to rise slowly overnight.
After a long day the previous day, I loved how easy the next day was. The cake was removed from the fridge to let it come to room temperature. All in all it probably sat on my counter for 2-3 hours. Around 3 hours I realized it’s not going to rise anymore (might not be so great) and I chose to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The cake was baked for 35 minutes and then removed to cool
I know, I know I just gave you so many notes in the recipe but I have some more things to confess. After I baked this thing, I turned it out for photos and then resisted eating it somehow, put it back in the pan, covered it, and threw it in the fridge for another 24 hours. Yes, I am apparently capable of self control. Hear me out though, this was meant for a friendsgiving party so what could I do? Before eating I warmed it up in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes before turning it out on a plate and letting people at it. So what was the final result?Guys, this cake lived through the night ONLY because everyone was so crazy full from dinner, but it was picked at for many hours into the night with lots of love. It come out gooey, glossy, warm, tender, and those pecans…you heard about them already for good reason. Down side, the bread dried out a bit but I’m not sure if that’s because of the butter mixup or the reheating. I guess I’ll just have to try this recipe again. Woe is me!
You know this recipe is good just by how many words are in the title. Monkey bread is generally just chunks of bread stacked together in a pan and baked to create a pull-apart cake. To me, monkey bread is also gooey, delicate, and luxurious. You know it’s luxurious by how much butter coats this thing.
What do you mean by “how much butter coats this thing”?
I’m going to come clean, this monkey bread is very tasty but what makes it so good is that it has a full 2 sticks of butter and nearly 2 1/2 cups of sugar. Worth it!
How was the bread itself?
It was good but not great. Test 1 wasn’t as tender as I would have liked. This could be due to insufficient butter in the dough or maybe because I reheated it 24 hours after baking before I ever got to taste it. I will just have to try this one out again.
Butternut Squash ravioli is the epitome of fall foods. It combines the sweetness of fall gourds and spices with savory herbs, all encased in delicate dough and smothered in butter. For my butternut squash ravioli, I aim for a filling that brings out the sweetness of the butternut and balances it with a bit of tang from goat cheese, and brought back to earth with some sage.
You didn’t use much butternut, do you regret it?
Definitely! Butternut is always preferred because of its stronger flavor and sweetness. I feel it beats pumpkin any day but alas, I couldn’t let that pumpkin go to waste.
How was the texture?
The pasta used in this recipe is 50/50 all-purpose flour and semolina flour. This combination provides the more solid texture that many of us have become accustomed to with dried pasta. I love this texture myself as it feels more sturdy but isn’t tough.
Can the pasta be frozen for later use?
Yes! Coat these babies in some semolina and layer them on a board before freezing. Then you can store them in an air-tight container for a few weeks. Remember to brush off the flour before cooking. Speaking of which, no need to defrost before cooking, just toss them into your boiling cauldron of water and cook them till they float.
This ravioli couldn’t have been better. I think of it fondly even months later. The sweetness of the butternut is perfectly balanced by the goat cheese. The addition of the semolina flour gives the pasta a little more bite which is ideal for these raviolis.
For the butternut puree I roasted 1 sugar pumpkin and one tiny butternut squash. You can choose your gourd for this recipe as long as your reduce the water enough.
To roast, I coated the squash and pumpkin in olive oil and placed faced down on a half sheet. Baked at 375 for 45 minutes. When cooled, the skin was removed (easier to do this on the pumpkin than the squash as the skin is thicker and simply comes off) and the meat was pureed in a food processor.
I did not bother to squeeze any water out as I knew I would be cooking this mixture for a while but you are aiming for a consistency similar to what you get in a can and there is no shame in using the can. The can is delicious. I just had too many gourds.
The puree was transferred to a high walled pan and cooked on medium heat until it was warmed through.
The garlic, nutmeg, goat cheese, salt and pepper were added to the hot pumpkin. The idea was to not cook the garlic too much. I didn’t want to lose all of the garlic’s fresh taste but I did was it to permeate the mixture. The nutmeg really emphasized the sweetness which was needed as the sugar pumpkin isn’t as sweet as the butternut.
Lastly, I sliced up the sage and added it in. I didn’t want to cook this completely. I think herbs in general are better when they retain some freshness but I did want the flavor to permeate well.
All the ingredients were combined, dry ones first, in a standing mixer.
Using the hook attachment it was mixed for 15 minutes. This assumed that 5 minutes is what it would take to combine the ingredients and the other 10 minutes provided the dough with much needed kneading.
Once the 15 minutes were over, the dough was removed, covered tightly in plastic wrap and allowed to rest. Mine rested for a few hours but 30 minutes should be sufficient. The dough produced was quite soft and elastic. Pasta dough, though relatively dense, should no be hard.
The dough was divided in to 8 sections. The sections not actively in use, were kept covered to keep from drying out.
Each section was thoroughly coated in flour and run through the pasta roller starting at the thickest setting and progressing one by one through each thickness until as thin as your machine will go. Reflouring was needed about half way through.
The dough was then laid out on wooden cutting board. This turned out to be important as the softer wood allowed the stamp to cut through the dough. The wooden cutting board is also good in that it traps the flour better and creates a surface that the pasta dough does not readily stick to. If you’re using a ravioli mold or other methods you may not need the softer surface.
I used a 1/2 tablespoon (25mm) sized scooper for each ravioli and arranged the filling in a grid with roughly 1 inch between them over half of the rolled dough. The remaining dough was then folded to cover the filling.
Because the filling creates a mound, the upper layer of dough must be stretched gently. The dough was pulled closed around each mound by pressing down gently with my fingers to create a seal. It’s important while doing this to push out the air. This reduces the change of the ravioli bursting while cooking.
Once each mound was sealed, they were all stamped out using a square stamper like the one in the picture and placed on a board. I recommend if you’re using plastic, cover the board in plastic wrap and then a layer of flour. The flour alone doesn’t eliminate the sticking enough. Over time, the flour on a plastic board absorbs moisture, especially in the freezer, and creates a nice glue for your ravioli. The plastic wrap really helps here, though honestly I couldn’t tell you why.
When you run out of room on the first layer of ravioli, you can cover them in more flour (I switched to semolina at this point as I felt it was easier to brush off later) and place another sheet of plastic wrap and flour and layer more on top. The idea here is to layers them well enough that they can freeze flat but not require every square inch of space in your freezer.
Finally, freeze them for 3 hours or overnight before transferring them into a storage container. Keep in the freezer until ready to cook. They will keep for months like this.
Cooking and Plating
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The more water, the longer it takes and the lower the chance of them sticking together. I’ve done it with 6 quarts and with 2. It depends on how much you want to watch it.
While the water is coming to a boil, toast your pine nuts on a dry skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet melt you butter over medium heat. Add the sage and let it infuse the butter with flavor. The tricky part here is finding the right time to add the sage so that the butter has time to get a little brown before the sage is completely charred. This will depend on your heat but it’s also why I recommend not using high heat here. Melt the butter, give it a little time to cook, and then add the sage.
Do NOT defrost the ravioli. While frozen they are very easy to handle. Simply brush the excess flour from each and throw them into the boiling water.
Cook until they float and the dough is consistently cooked through. If the dough looks like it’s all one color, they’re done. If they float but the dough seems a bit splotchy, give it another couple minutes.
Strain the ravioli, plate it, drizzle the butter and sage over the top, and scatter the pine nuts. As additional toppings I recommend adding some grated Parmesan or some grated cured egg yolk.
Ok so I have a confession to make. My butternut squash puree was mostly pumpkin. The good news is that the butternut squash would be actually even better because it’s sweeter and more flavorful than the pumpkin. That said, this whole dish was phenomenal. If you’re feeling the first chills of the year to are deep into winter, this is sure to warm you right up.