Monday, November 3, 2008

the werks

my mom and i have been stalking the werkhaus (formerly mio's) on werk road awaiting the arrive of their seasonal pumpkin praline torte. we have been interrogating the servers. we have been examining the dessert case. we made brian call to see if it was available yet. our persistence was finally rewarded two fridays ago.

we eat at the werkhaus fairly regularly because the food is decent and the prices reasonable. it's kind of like something easy i would cook at home - straight-forward sauce, pasta, pizza. but it's nice to take a break and have someone else do the work (i resisted the urge to very cheesily say "werk"). i love their caesar salad and recently my favorite dinner has been the baked mostacolli. brian's crazy about the lasagna. it's warm, hearty wintertime food.

their desserts are always good - chocolate decadence, double lemon, cheesecake. but we really adore the pumpkin praline, made extra special by the fact it is only available a few weeks out of the year. luckily, they are very generous with the recipe, which i will in turn pass on to you. i made it last thanksgiving and it was met with good reviews, although i don't think it tasted as yummy as at the werkhaus.
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

in a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and cream. cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into two well greased 9x2 round cake pans. sprinkle with pecans. cool.

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

in a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and oil. add pumpkin and vanilla. combine dry ingredients, add to pumpkin mixture and beat until just blended. carefully spoon over brown sugar mixture. bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. cool for 5 minutes, remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. place one layer cake, praline side up, on a serving plate.

  • 1 3/4 whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • additional chopped pecans

in a mixing bowl, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff. spread 2/3 over cake on plate. top with second layer (praline side up) and spread remaining cream in center of cake. sprinkle with additional pecans. refrigerate.

makes 10-12 servings.

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