While we are still enjoying warm weather at Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) properties, the shorter days clearly signal that fall is on its way. We love the most colorful season of the year in DINE country, as hillsides turn into harvest-colored landscapes and the smells in the kitchen turn decidedly apple and pumpkin-filled. We’re lighting the fireplaces and adding down comforters to beds as we get ready for fall at our New England inns. Best of all, we’re shifting menus to focus on the delicious tastes of fall.
If you can’t make it to our inns for afternoon refreshments, allow us to inspire your teatime with a few wonderful desserts and sweet treats. Today we focus on some special crisps, cakes and cookies created by talented chefs in the DINE kitchens.
Captain’s House Inn Gingered Pear Crisp
Yield: 6 servings. (Serving size is about 1 cup)
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
4 cups chopped peeled Bartlett pears (about 4 pears)
¼ cup All-purpose flour
½ cup regular oats
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to combine. Add pears, toss gently to coat. Spoon pear mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until resembles coarse meal and stir in nuts. Sprinkle flour mixture over pear mixture.
Bake at 375F for 35 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Easy Pumpkin Cake from Rabbit Hill Inn
Ingredients to Yield 1- 9×13 cake:
1 cup salad oil
3 cups sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup water
Optional: pecans, walnuts or nuts of your choice
Mix the sugar, oil, and eggs until well incorporated.
Add the pumpkin and water and continue to mix.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended well.
Bake at 325°F for about 20 minutes.
Check for doneness by inserting a thin knife or skewer through the middle of the cake.
When the knife comes out clean, the cake is done.
Ice with your choice of butter cream or cream cheese frosting. Cut into small squares to make petit fours.
Vivian’s Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries and Pecans from Chesterfield Inn
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter and brown sugar.
Add egg and vanilla, beat until smooth.
Mix together all remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to egg, sugar and butter mixture. Mix just until blended.
Drop by tablespoon onto parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on pan then remove to a rack.
Next time, we hope you’ll enjoy your afternoon refreshments combined with a romantic getaway to any of the 11 DINE inns. Don’t forget to book direct when you make your reservations.
Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic