Cake pops are so over. Pie lovers should instead clap their flour-dusty hands for pastry chef David Laufer of the Four Seasons Westlake Village, who has concocted a particular portable dessert in the form of Pumpkin Pie Pops. Imagine oozy, not-quite-fully-baked pumpkin pie filling encased in a white chocolate sphere surrounded by toasted meringue. It explodes on your tongue in a mass of pumpkiny-cocoa buttery-marshmallowy goodness. If you stop at one, you must be some sort of advanced Tibetan monk with astonishing mind control.
The pops are not part of the hotel's regular dining menu, but can be requested for special events or occasions. Laufer (personal motto: "pastry is beautiful; make it look sexy"), a St. Louis native who has been with the Four Seasons for seven years and who specializes in over-the-top cakes, generously shared his recipe.
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The Inspiration: "The idea was inspired by my grandmother's famous pumpkin pie (at least it's famous in our family). I was trying to add a new twist on the pie, so I turned it into a bite-size pop. People love anything bite size on a stick."
The Process: Take pumpkin pie filling and bake in a shallow dish at 320 Fahrenheit until set. Add ½-oz. gelatin to 1 qt. of the pumpkin pie base and mix well. Let cool. In a hollow white chocolate truffle shell, pipe cooled filling. Insert stick and set with white chocolate. Place in freezer and let set completely. Make an Italian meringue and dip the frozen pop until coated with meringue. Take a blow torch and toast the outside to give it a roasted marshmallow flavor. Stick in a styrofoam pumpkin and serve.
The Reaction: "People are surprised how much they taste like the traditional pumpkin pie and are mesmerized by the toasted marshmallow. We serve them from time to time in our lobby as guests are checking into the hotel."
The Four Seasons Westlake Village: Two Dole Drive, Westlake Village; (818) 575-3000