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Desserts with Cloves

Cloves can be used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from the super sweet to the spicy and savory. In desserts they are most commonly paired with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, or ginger. Baklava is a traditional Mediterranean dessert that incorporates the clove spice as a prominent flavor. It is a fairly labor intensive dessert to make at home, but is wildly popular and very delicious. A more well-known dessert that also uses the clove spice to enhance a robust flavor is pumpkin pie. These two dishes are prepared, constructed, and taste very differently, but both utilize the flavor of cloves in interesting ways.

Baklava originates in the Mediterranean and has been a decadent dessert prepared for centuries. The ingredients used to make baklava include phyllo dough, butter, pecans (or walnuts, pistachios, etc. ), cloves, water, sugar, cinnamon, and honey. It is prepared by layering the thin sheets of phyllo dough with butter, nuts, sugar and spices. Once the sweet dough is baked, a honey glaze is poured over the dish, allowed to cool, and typically cut into triangular or square pieces. Although the dish can be eaten fresh and warm, it is most-often served long after the baking process and at room temperature.

The nuts, cinnamon, and cloves give the dessert a unique and spicy taste to go along with the plush sweetness. The phyllo dough is what gives baklava its unique and flaky texture. Because the dough is so thin when the dessert is baked, it leaves very crisp and wispy layers. It is cooked to a golden brown color and retains a translucent sheen from the honey glaze poured over the dessert. When cut, you can see the layers upon layers of dough mixed in with the nuts and spices. Baklava has a rich taste, but also contains complex and robust flavors.

The nuts provide a variety in texture and taste that is paired well with the flaky phyllo dough. Pumpkin pie is a traditional American dessert that incorporates similar spices, but produces a very different taste and texture. The typical ingredients used to make pumpkin pie include pie dough (flour, butter, sugar, and water), sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, eggs, vanilla extract, pureed pumpkin, cornstarch, and milk. The cloves are paired with cinnamon and ginger spices to create a full-flavored and delectable dessert.

Preparation and baking of this dessert can be fairly straight-forward, quick, and easy. Once the pie dough is baked (or purchased) and placed in the base of the pan, the creamy pie filling is added to the dish. Unlike most other pies, pumpkin is very rarely finished off with a top layer of dough. Because of the pumpkin puree, the pie retains an orange color that becomes golden brown after baking. Once the pie is cooked, it is removed from the oven and allowed to cool for a significant period of time.

It is usually served at room temperature or slightly chilled, and commonly topped with a dollop of whip cream. Pumpkin pies are sweet and flavorful, but usually manage to avoid the overly gooey and sugary taste of fruit based pies. All of the ingredients in the pie filling are pureed and have no chunky textures, so the finished product is like a creamy, solidified custard. In a pumpkin pie there is no whole fruit ingredient like in apple, cherry, or blackberry pies to offer a variety of texture.

Also unlike most fruit pies when cut, pumpkin pie retains its shape extremely well. The filling doesn’t pour out and it makes the dish easier to serve or display. The pumpkin provides a sort of earthy flavor that is accentuated by the robust spices of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Baklava Pumpkin Pie Sources: 1) http://simplyrecipes. com/recipes/suzannes_old_fashioned_pumpkin_pie/ 2) http://simplyrecipes. com/recipes/baklava/ 3) http://allrecipes. com/Recipe/Awesome-Pumpkin-Pie/Detail. aspx 4) http://allrecipes. com/Recipe/Baklava-2/Detail. aspx

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