As much as I love my sweets and post-dinner treats, after a big Thanksgiving meal (and knowing that I will be enjoying another leftover sandwich plate later in the evening:), I am a bit too full for a slice of pie or piece of cheesecake right then. In come these little beauties to solve that problem. One bite will satisfy that seasonal sweet tooth for anything pumpkin or spiced. The best description of these snow white balls-- the love child of a traditional pumpkin pie and a spiced pumpkin cheesecake. In fact, it is the technique from a spiced pumpkin cheesecake recipe I have that I use to make the filling creamy and rich like a truffle and not like a cream filled chocolate. I'll explain more below.
The original recipe came to me a few years ago via an e-mail from Whole Foods. I read the name and was instantly smitten. But after reading the recipe and a few reviews, I knew I had to make a few changes. The original called for part gingersnap crumbs and part graham cracker crumbs, but I love the taste of homemade gingersnaps, so I use only gingersnaps (pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust-- oh, yes!). The recipe also called for orange zest. As much as I love the combo of pumpkin and orange, I omitted it for a straight spiced pumpkin pie taste. The original recipe also made 30 truffles, but they were only a heaping teaspoon each, so I doubled the batch for a nice sized truffle. The biggest modification came from the reviews, which were good for flavor, but the filling was too wet, and not stiff enough to roll. This is where the handy technique from Cook's Illustrated comes into play. To remove the unwanted excess moisture from the pumpkin purée...
Line a baking sheet with triple layer paper towels. Using an off-set spatula, spread the pumpkin into a thin, even layer.
Place more paper towels on top to soak up more moisture.
|Look at all that moisture!|
Once the towels are completely saturated, remove the top towels and grab the one side of the bottom towel. Fold the pumpkin in half onto itself.
Flip the pumpkin purée onto the baking sheet and discard the towels. I actually squeezed several tablespoons out of the paper towel. Transfer the purée to the bowl of a food processor and proceed with the recipe.
There is still time to put these decadent treats on your Thanksgiving dessert table. A box or plate full of these with a warm hug will really show your family and friends how thankful you are. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles
makes 30 (1-ounce) truffles
For the Filling
1/2 cup pumpkin purée, fresh or canned
1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs, homemade (about 10-12 cookies from my recipe), or store bought), plus more for garnish
2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup white chocolate, chopped
For the Topping
14 ounces white chocolate or vanilla almond bark, chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
For the Filling
Place a triple layer of paper towel on a baking sheet. Using an off-set spatula, spread the pumpkin purée into a thin, even layer. Place another triple layer of paper towels on top of the purée and lightly press to absorb moisture. Once towels are saturated, carefully peel back the top layer and discard. Grasp one side of the bottom towels and fold the pumpkin layer in half onto itself. Repeat, flipping pumpkin onto the baking sheet. Transfer the pumpkin to the bowl of a food processor. Add the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese; process until smooth.
Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, stirring often to keep the chocolate from melting. Add the melted chocolate to the pumpkin mixture and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process until completely combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl or container, cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm enough to shape into balls.
Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, shape the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to coat.
For the Topping
Line a separate baking sheet with parchment or wax paper; set aside. Melt the chocolate (or almond bark) and shortening in a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, stirring frequently to keep from burning. Place pumpkin ball onto a small fork over the melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate over the ball and carefully dip the bottom of the ball into the chocolate. Gently tap the fork on the side of the bowl to shake off excess. Use a toothpick to push the truffle onto the prepared baking sheet. Garnish with a few gingersnap crumbs; repeat with the remaining pumpkin balls. Chill the truffles in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour. Truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from wholefoods.com