If I didn’t have to taste all of the dishes I prepare at Thanksgiving then I would have room for dessert, too. I have never been able to eat anything else after consuming at least 1000 calories in one sitting. Something light and sweet seems so appropriate to me to relieve that over-stuffed feeling.
Fresh fruit sorbet certainly is not traditional but sounds wonderfully soothing. Sorbet is quite simple to make but unnecessary when you can buy so many different tasty varieties now. If I served this on Thanksgiving, my family would run me out-of-town on a rail.
The pumpkin is native to North America. The pilgrims did bring pumpkin pie to New England but the English method of cooking pumpkin was a much different thing. The English actually stuffed the pumpkin with apples, sugar and spices then baked it whole. Pumpkin pie as we typically know it did not become a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner until the early 19th century.
I have been preparing pumpkin pie the same way for a very long time. On the back of Libby’s canned pumpkin is a basic but delicious pie recipe. Be sure to use whole pumpkin and not the puree. I think adding your own spices make a difference, too. We’ll call this pie ‘Aunt Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie’, shall we?! You don’t have to use Reddi Whipped cream in a spray can but then you won’t have the pleasure of squirting the cream directly into your mouth (oh, come on, admit you have done this). Very cold heavy whipping cream with a little sugar is easy to whip up right before you serve your pie. It only takes 2-3 minutes depending on how much you are preparing. Cool Whip should be taken off the market – if you don’t already know this, it is an oil based, artificial topping.
I love cooking demonstrations. The pastry chef at my favorite local bistro gives dessert demonstrations around the holidays. Emily prepares wonderful desserts and at the last demonstration prepared a pumpkin chiffon pie. I did not attend her most recent class but my friend Linda E. shared the recipes. I do make a pumpkin chiffon pie that does not require gelatin like most chiffon pies and is more custard-like. Seems like a lighter alternative to pumpkin pie. If you are a baker, by all means make your own crust for this pie. I confess to using store-bought pie crust!
ALI’S PUMPKIN CHIFFON PIE
- One 9-inch pie crust
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ¾ cup sugar, divided
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- One 15 oz. can pumpkin
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Prepare your pie crust or store-bought crust, pre-bake as directed.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, spices and salt.
- Whisk in pumpkin puree and then the cream to the yolk mixture.
- In another bowl, beat 4 egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar, beat until glossy, one minute longer.
- Fold egg whites gently into yolk mixture.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until the custard is set (if the crust browns too quickly, cover it with foil). Cool before serving.
I would love to eat cheesecake on Thanksgiving. I suppose it could be eaten in a very small quantity but ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have a recipe for cheesecake made with goat cheese, for, as you know, I am all about the goat cheese. However, I suspect that most people may prefer it made with cream cheese. Cheesecake is not difficult to make; it just requires a spring form pan. For Pete’s sake, you have enough going on in preparation for this meal so go and buy a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake at Sam’s or Costco. Just make it a little more festive and serve it with my cranberries on top.
ALI’S ORANGE HONEY CRANBERRIES
- Zest from 2 navel oranges
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. Champagne vinegar
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup cranberries
- Julienne the orange zest (there is a special kitchen tool for this – see below).
- Place zest in a saucepan of boiling water, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain and return to the saucepan. Add sugar; stir over low heat until the sugar is melted and the zest glazed, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the vinegar; transfer to a small bowl.
- In another saucepan, bring honey to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in cranberries and let cool.
- Garnish your cheesecake or pound cake with zest and top with a few cranberries.
Other dessert suggestions could be a pear tart or a pumpkin trifle (which is a gorgeous presentation). I can’t think about any more recipes – I have to make the shopping list and begin the preparations! Thursday, November 22, 2012 is just a few days away…Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appétit!