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Sunday Brunch

A Spooktacular Sunday Brunch

October 30, 2011

Trick or treat! Trick or treat!
Trick or treat for Halloween!
When ghosts or goblins by the score,
Ring the bell at your front door,
You better not be stingy or
Your nightmares will come true!

Trick or treat! Trick or treat!
Trick or treat for Halloween!
When trick or treaters are feeling beat,
Sit at home to rest their feet,
No more candy, what can they eat?
Well here's the treat for you!

(Original lyrics by Paul J. Smith, new lyrics by Reuben Gutierrez)

Halloween is a festive time of the Autumn season and while most kids and trick or treaters are excited about dressing up and filling their bags with candy, one must not forget the other seasonal favorite that comes along this time of year: Pumpkins!

In recent years, I've found I absolutely love anything with pumpkin. It could just be the flavor of pumpkin and pumpkin spice used in pumpkin infused and inspired dishes and desserts. Though I think part of it is the strong association between pumpkin flavors and the Autumn season. In Florida, it's awfully rare to get that feeling that it is a blustery day in October. While many vacationers are enjoying the warm Florida weather, I find myself missing the crisp Autumn air, the cloud covering sky, the crunch of fallen red and orange leaves-in short, a Florida Fall in the daytime is pretty much like a non-humid Florida summer. Still, part of feeling like it's Autumn can be credited to seasonal goodies, and pumpkin flavored treats did just the trick to remind me of how October should be.

The first treat is actually a place, not a treat. The best place to celebrate Halloween year round is Sleepy Hollow, a refreshment stand in Liberty Square, right by the bridge to the hub. Themed to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, you can usually find pumpkins in the windows, representing the Headless Horseman-s temporary head. This stand regularly features ice cream, funnel cakes, Mickey waffles, and other tasty treats year round. I've read online that in the Fall they also serve Pumpkin Ice Cream, though I have not confirmed this to make sure. I did take a picture while walking by one night of their Halloween display:

The second treat we shall look at is the Pumpkin Cheesecake, available at Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. This seasonal cheesecake is pretty straightforward: pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavored cheesecake with a dollop of cream cheese frosting and a candied walnut on top. The cast member at the dessert counter highly recommended it and I agree with her, it was delicious!


The next treat is the Pumpkin Cupcake at the Board Walk Bakery. As we have discussed before, the Board Walk Bakery changes the gourmet cupcake offerings as the year goes by and sadly, the Pumpkin cupcake replaced the Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake. On a brighter note, the pumpkin cupcake is amazing! It is probably a good way to get a little of that pumpkin flavor for a sense of that seasonal gourd. The base is a vanilla cupcake with a pumpkin mousse filling. It is topped with a nutmeg whipped cream frosting with praline crunch on the sides. This cupcake actually went through a few makeovers since its premiere this year. We had a vote in the bakery to see which was better. There was the existing one as it is sold today and also one with buttercream cream cheese frosting. I definitely preferred the latter as cream cheese and pumpkin go together so well and is what is traditionally done. I"m guessing among the bakers and front of house staff, the lighter, whipped cream version won out. Another change was in color. First the cupcake had white frosting, with a dark chocolate pumpkin. Then they changed the pumpkin to an orange colored white chocolate. Now they colored the frosting orange as well. Whatever the color, the pumpkin cupcake is pretty delicious and has been selling wonderfully, especially to those visiting from the North!


Our last seasonal treat is a treat that catches you by the nose. Imagine, walking through Epcot, trying your hardest not to think about food and buying everything in sight at the Food and Wine Festival when suddenly your nose perks up and senses the smell of Autumn. Before you know it, you have made your way to the Funnel Cake stand at the edge of the American Adventure pavilion.


The powerful smell of pumpkin spice wafts through the air as the Pumpkin Spice Funnel cakes are frying away. There was no question about it; though I had just enjoyed several tasty bites from various Food and Wine marketplaces, I knew I had to have a Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake! The batter was made with pumpkin spice, though it was hard to tell if actual pumpkin was used. It is a bit tricky in working with pumpkin in foods because it has such a high moisture content but at the same time a sort of paste like texture. I once made pumpkin tuille (tuille are very thin cookies used to garnish dessert plates), and I failed miserably because the cookies burnt before they could dry out enough to be crisp and crunchy. The solution was to use less pumpkin, but at the same time, lose a lot of the pumpkin flavor-which is why it was hard to tell whether the Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake had any pumpkin at all. My only indication was that this funnel cake was a bit more moist and chewy than plain funnel cake.


Chef Duffy presents the Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake!

My one precaution though to pumpkin seeking guests: this funnel cake has a powerful pumpkin spice flavor. The strength of the aroma as they cook should be warning enough. Each bite was packed with pumpkin spice and I found it invigorating. While some of the pumpkin treats at Disney had subtle or medium flavors, this one was strong! If you're a casual pumpkin fan I do not recommend getting this funnel cake as some may feel overwhelmed by its flavors, but pumpkin lovers rejoice, because you will enjoy this feast of pumpkin spiced funnel cake!

Before we leave, there is one last Halloween treat, though not pumpkin flavored, to make this a spooktacular Sunday Brunch: the Wicked Cupcake of the East.


Actually, I'm not sure what it was officially called, but I felt that was an appropriate name! My good friend RJ got this treat at the Main Street Bakery and was kind enough to let me photograph it for this blog. This fun, Halloween cupcake mimics the iconic scene from The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy finds her house has squashed the Wicked Witch of the East. A plain vanilla cupcake sits upside down on a plate with black and white chocolate sticks as her stocking covered legs and red sprinkled gummies as the ruby red slippers. This just goes to show how easily you can turn a simple dessert like a cupcake in an easy to make and cleverly designed Halloween treat!


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