A Super-Easy Thanksgiving Menu, part 2

And now for the best part…the sweets!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This recipe was published in the November 2007 issue of the Excelsior, and it comes from Shaun Robinson, the district chef for Chartwell at KPS Food Service. It’s delicious and a bit of a twist on traditional pumpkin pie. Photo from Better Homes and Gardens.

1 1/4 C gingersnaps, crumbled

1/4 C butter

3 (8-oz) pkgs cream cheese

1 C sugar, plus 2 T, divided

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 can pumpkin

4 eggs

12 walnuts for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press evenly on the bottom of an ungreased springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves into a 4-qt bowl on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs and mix well.

Pour over crumb mixture. Bake until center is firm, about 1 1/4 hours. Cover and refrigerate at least three hours, but no longer than 48 hours.

Cook and stir 2 tablespoons sugar and 12 walnuts over medium heat until sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Immediately spread on aluminum foil. Cool. Break nuts apart. Top cheesecake with whipped cream and sugared nuts.

This next dessert takes some work, but the results are so worth it. It’s presentation is so stunning with the poached fruit and drizzled caramel sauce, you could almost make this dessert your centerpiece.

Chocolaty Harvest Fruit-Topped Cake

You could make the cake from scratch, but why? Some might disagree with me, but I think that the box cake mixes today are almost as good as homemade.  If you are hosting Thanksgiving, you should take as much help as you can get. Recipe and photo from Better Homes and Gardens.

Make chocolate cake according to package directions. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.

For the frosting: finely chop 8 oz of semisweet chocolate. In saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup whipping cream to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth. Cool to room temperature; chill until spreadable, about one hour. Meanwhile, prepare the fruit topping.

For the fruit topping: thinly slice 1 unpeeled pear lengthwise and 1 unpeeled cooking apple horizontally. In medium saucepan, combine two cups apple juice and 1 cup sugar; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add sliced fruit and 1/3 cup dried cranberries; return to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer covered, two minutes. Remove from heat, let stand five minutes. Strain and discard liquid. Cool to room temperature.

To assemble: place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with 1/2 of the chocolate-cream mixture. Top with the second layer. Spread with the remaining chocolate mixture. (Believe it or not, it actually looks better if the sides are left unfrosted).

Arrange the fruit in a single layer slightly overlapping on top of the cake. Pour 1/3 cup caramel ice-cream topping over the fruit and serve immediately.

Trust me…you will be greeted by ooohhs and aaahhs when you bring this lovely dessert to the table!

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Published in: on November 19, 2010 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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