Los Angeles may be immune to the blustery weather that afflicts the majority of the country, but when it comes to food, we still have many of the same seasonal ingredients. Case in point: pumpkin, which is as sure a sign of fall as you’ll find. Several enterprising Angelenos have turned the leathery orange fruit into creations that far exceed pumpkin pie. Here are three prime examples of pumpkincraft.
Thyme Cafe and Market – Santa Monica
Maire Byrne may own this seasonally inspired Sunset Park café, but it’s pastry chef Lisa Vega who decided to grab the pumpkin by the stem. Vega previously worked at Providence, Craft and Yountville’s Bouchon Bakery. Her pumpkin tart costs $4 and features a scintillating gingersnap crust made with repurposed gingersnap cookies. Her creamy pumpkin puree contains an intoxicating mix of brown sugar, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. The topper is a clever pumpkin seed garnish that provides added texture.
Craft – Century City
At Tom Colicchio’s Century City outpost, pastry chef Shannon Swindle oversees a sprawling dessert menu that allows you to mix and match seasonal fruit, ice cream and sorbet with “classics,” but your best bet is to look to the composed “Combinations” listed at the bottom of the page. $12 may seem like a lot to pay for dessert, but this is Century City, and the quality level is high. Swindle’s contribution to pumpkindom is a Pumpkin Clafouti with Spiced Pear & Cajeta Ice Cream. His clafouti is a fluffy cross between a souffle and a pancake, studded with pumpkin seeds and layered with naturally sweet slices Bosc pear. The hot clafouti comes hot in cast iron dish and is paired with a cool scoop of cajeta ice cream ribboned with rich goat’s milk caramel.