October Fun, Killer Sweets… Here are some tricks Chef Ryan Rondeno has up his sleeve

October Fun, Killer Sweets... Here are some tricks Chef Ryan Rondeno has up his sleeve

The Fall season is here, and pumpkins are everywhere! Americans ,both young and old, share enthusiasm for this time of year—maybe it’s the trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, baking tasty treats, setting up decorations, enjoying pumpkin lattes, baking pumpkin pie, dressing up in Halloween costumes — either way, there’s a comforting feeling and festive energy with this season.

Did You Know — Origins of Halloween

The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward-off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor all saints. Soon, ‘All Saints Day’ incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as ‘All Hallows Eve,’ and later ‘Halloween.’ Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes, and eating treats (source: history.com).

Pumpkin Fun Facts (source: Farmers Almanac)

  • The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, pepon, which means a “large melon.” * Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  • Pumpkins are actually a fruit. Many people think it should be our national fruit.
  • Pumpkin is also a squash; a member of Curcurbita family.
  • The yellow-orange flowers that bloom on the pumpkin vine are edible. * Pumpkin seeds taste great roasted and contain medicinal properties.
  • Native Americans grew and ate pumpkins and their seeds long before the Pilgrims reached this continent. Pilgrims learned how to grow and prepare pumpkins from the Native Americans.
  • Pumpkin was most likely served at the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in 1621.
  • The earliest pumpkin pie made in America was quite different than the pumpkin pie we enjoy today. Pilgrims and early settlers made pumpkin pie by hollowing out a pumpkin, filling the shell with milk, honey and spices and baking it.
  • Early settlers dried pumpkins shells, cut it into strips and wove it into mats.
  • Pumpkin has been prepared in a variety of ways from soups to stews to desserts since the immigration of the first European settlers.
  • The ‘Pumpkin Capital of the World’ is Morton, Illinois. Home of Libby’s pumpkin industry.
  • The state of Illinois grows the most pumpkins. It harvests about 12,300 acres of pumpkins annually.
  • The latest U.S. record (2019) for the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed in at 2,517.5 pounds by Karl Haist of Clarence Center, New York.
  • Pumpkins were once considered a remedy for freckles and snakebites.
  • Natural medicine practitioners have proven that consuming pumpkin seeds reduces the risk of prostate disorders in men.

Decorate & TRICK-OUT Jack!

Carving, coloring, painting, and stenciling are just some of the millions of ways to trick-out Jack. The real stars of the night are our little one’s dressed to fright!

What to do with all that GOO—here’s a recipe from Private Chef to the Stars and founder of Rondeno Culinary Designs and the Rondeno Spice Collection, Chef Ryan Rondeno, so easy to do!

Coconut Custard, Pineapple Compote, Almond Praline Coconut custard is great when paired with fruit such as pineapple. This recipe is paired with pineapple, cinnamon, star anise, and almond. The collaboration of black salt with this dessert completes the meal for a fantastic finish!

Time to cook 02:45:00 Serves 8

Ingredients 1 15oz. can of coconut milk 1 can of coconut cream ½ c. heavy cream 6 egg yolks 2 ½ c. granulated sugar ¼ c. all-purpose flour 1 tbs. vanilla paste, plus 1 tsp. 2 c. pineapple, small diced 1 tbs. olive oil 1 tbs. butter 2 star anise 1 cinnamon stick1 cup sliced almonds 1-2 tbs. lemon juice Pinch of salt Black salt for garnish


For the Coconut Custard: In a 4 qt. saucepan, add coconut milk, coconut cream, and heavy cream. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a light simmer. In a bowl, add egg yolks, flour, and sugar. Whisk until combined. Temper egg mixture with 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Whisk. Add remaining milk mixture and vanilla paste. Whisk until combined. Return mixture into saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk constantly until thickened. Taste. Pour into individual 2-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wraps. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For the Pineapple Compote: In a 10-inch sauté pan, add 1 tbs. butter and 1 tbs. olive oil at medium heat. Sauté pineapple for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens. Add 1 tsp. vanilla paste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste. Set aside and allow to cool.

For the Almond Praline Powder: F Line a baking sheet with foil or a silpat.  In an 8-inch pan, cook 1 cup sugar over medium heat, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon to help  sugar melt evenly, until melted. Cook caramel, without stirring until amber golden brown. Add almonds. Cook until coated well for about 1 minute. Add lemon juice. Mix well until incorporated. Working quickly, use a spatula and pour onto silpat. Spread evenly an allow to set for about 10-15 minutes onto silpat. Break praline into small pieces and add to food processor. Pulse in food processor until coarsely grind. Removeand set in air-tight container.

To Assemble: Once custards have chilled and set, spoon pineapple compote on top ofeach custard. Sprinkle almond praline over each one. Garnish with black salt. Serve!

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