Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just Desserts: Sweet Treats For Your Thanksgiving Table

We were a couple of very lucky ducks this Thanksgiving. We scored ourselves invites to not one, but TWO Thanksgiving feasts. Thanks to our wonderful groups of friends for stuffing us full of delicious food – Turkey, ham, 22 pounds ridiculously good of prime rib, the best stuffing ever and yummy candied yams (need that recipe!).

As much as I enjoy savory cooking, I loved that everyone else took care of the meal and I got to focus my whole heart and soul on these desserts. A lot of love went into these cakes and pies guys. I hope that you are inspired to create something equally delicious for your friends and family this holiday season. Enjoy!

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cappucino Glaze

Chocolate Bundt Cake
Recipe from via Sweetapolita

1 Cup  butter
1/2 Cup high quality Dutch process cocoa
¾ Cup espresso (Or 1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder dissolved into 3/4 cup water)
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 Cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan or Kugelhopf pan.
2. Melt butter in a large bowl  (I used the bowl of my stand mixer) set atop a pot of simmering water. Add cocoa and stir until smooth. Whisk in the espresso and remove from heat.
3. Add sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs to the cocoa mixture, mix to combine. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the first mixture and mix until well blended.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.

Cappucino Glaze
2 Tablespoons espresso or strong coffee
1/2  Teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons heavy Cream or half-and-half
1 Cup powdered sugar

Gradually add the espresso and vanilla to the powdered sugar while whisking constantly, making sure to get any lumps out. Add the cream a bit at a time until you have the consistency you like, I did not use all the cream. It should be thin enough to drizzle, but thick enough so that it does not all drip off the cake (test on a saucer before the cake). If it is too thin, add extra powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
Once the cake has fully cooled, use a large spoon to drizzle on the glaze. Don’t be too picky here, it won’t be perfect but it will be lovely no matter what. Allow the glaze to set before digging in.

The Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cream Pie
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
I am not a huge fan of the traditional pumpkin pie. I like the flavours but after a huge meal I don’t usually want something so dense and heavy. This pumpkin cream pie made with jello pudding is light and creamy, and oh so yummy. This came together the quickest and received the most praise of all the desserts. Thanks Ree!

Graham Cracker Crust
1-½ Cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (buy them already crushed or make your own from about 15 graham cracker sheets)
½ Cup powdered sugar
1 Stick butter, melted

1. If your graham crackers are not already in crumb form, crush them either in a food processor, or by putting them in a big ziplock bag and pounding on them with a rolling pin (or get your big strong boyfriend to pound on them with a rolling pin).
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 Inch pie dish. You have got to get in there with your fingers for this, there is no clean way (but its better than being the person with their hand up a Turkey!).
3. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes or until it has set. Set aside to cool.

Pumpkin Cream Filling
1 Box vanilla pudding (cook and serve variety)
1 Cup half-and-half
½ Cup heavy/ whipping cream (33% - 36% MF)
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I am pretty sure I added more than this, but I failed to measure)
OR combine Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove to make your own
¾  Cup pumpkin puree
½ Cup (additional) heavy/ whipping cream
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to  350.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine pudding mix with heavy cream, half-and-half, and pie spice. Bring to a boil, while stirring often, until mixture is bubbly and thick.
3. Remove pot from heat. Whisk in vanilla and pumpkin puree. Make sure it is well incorporated. Cover and set aside to cool. After a few minutes, transfer to refrigerator to cool completely (at least 30 mins).
4. Combine ½ cup whipping cream with the brown sugar, beat until light and fluffy (either in the bowl of your stand mixer or with a large bowl and electric beaters). Fold into cooled pumpkin mixture until just combined. Pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Top each slice with more whipped cream if you are feeling really indulgent.

Apple Spice Bundt Cake with Maple Walnut Glaze

Apple Spice Bundt Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking powder
½ Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon nutmeg
1 Teaspoon ground cloves
1 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ Cups brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tart, green apples, peeled and sliced thinly

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch bundt pan and lightly dust with flour.
2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda,  baking powder, salt and spices
3. In a mixer fitted with  a paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla and mix again.
4. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Do not over mix.  Gently fold in the apples.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for about 1 Hour. It is done when a cake tester inserted comes out almost clean, some bits of apple may stick to it and make you think it is not cooked. Don’t be fooled.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake, then place a plate on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it to cool completely.

Maple Glaze
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼  Cup maple syrup
1 Teaspoon maple extract (optional, it just inhances the maple flavour)
½ Cup crushed, toasted walnuts.
Wisk  all ingredients, except the walnuts,  together in a small bowl. Add more icing sugar or maple syrup if needed, to get the consistency you want. It should be thin enough to be easily drizzled over the cake, but not so thin that it all drips off and pools at the bottom.
When the cake is almost cool, drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle the walnuts over top. Cool completely before serving. This cake stays nice and moist for a day or two after it is baked and is easy to transport.
Note: I added the walnuts to my glaze before icing the cake, I do not reccommend this. It made the glaze very difficult to drizzle on the cake, and does not look nearly as pretty as I thought it would. But man, did it taste good.

Chocolate Pecan Pie
I don’t know the original source of this recipe. I have had a crumpled, stained piece of paper floating around my recipe box for a few years and I think it is a recipe that was dictated over the phone to me by my Mom. It is a pretty standard Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe and is always a huge hit.

Basic Pie Crust
1 Cup all purpose flour
½  Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
½  Cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4-6 Tablespoons  very cold water

1. Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives. The mixture will be crumbly, pea sized clumps of butter should start to form.
2. Add in the water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture begins to stick together. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill, leave it here for at least an hour or overnight.
4. Roll out your pie dough onto a lightly floured surface – It does not have to be a perfect circle as you are going to trim the edges, but it should be a 10-12 Inch circular shape. Use your rolling pin to transfer the dough to a 9 Inch pie dish by rolling it loosly ON to the rolling pin, and then rolling it out on the pie dish (pictures of this technique here.) Trim any overhanging dough and crimp or fold as you please.

4 Oz. dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
½ Cup packed dark brown sugar
3 Large eggs, beaten
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¾ Cup light  corn syrup
1 ½ Cups toasted pecan halves

1. Preheat an oven th 325. Combine Chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stir constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool.
2. Whisk together the Brown sugar, eggs and salt in a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer). Add in the corn syrup and chocolate/butter mixture, mix well to combine.
3. Sprinkle your lovely toasted pecans over the prepared pie crust. Pour the chocolate filling over the pecans. Bake uncovered for about 1 Hour, until the crust is golden and filling has puffed up. Set on pie rack to cook completely.
This can also be made a day ahead of time, but do store it in the fridge overnight, and be sure to remove well before dinner, as it should be enjoyed at room temperature. Top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Apologies to my Canadian friends for not having this up in time for our Thanksgiving, but I know there are many holiday parties to come for which a simply delicious pie or bundt will be needed. And for readers in the U.S., it would seem my timing is perfect. Try something new out for your Thanksgiving desesrt this year, and let me know how it goes.

P.S. The detectives out there will realize there was a 4th Cake. You can see the edge of it snuck into the first picture up top. It was the chocolate bundt cake with chocolate cinnamon glaze (a la Sweetapolita). I was attempting to move it onto its very pretty cake plate when ..... I broke it.

In half.

 It looked a hot mess and I was devestated.

I cried.

And then I ate it.

 It was delicious.

The end.




  1. That pumpkin pie looks delicious! Same with that Chocolate Pecan pie - yum yum!

  2. I am drooling over the ENTIRE dessert table. Even the chocolate bundt that's not really pictured, I'm drooling over that too.

  3. Whoa, I am so impressed by all these desserts! Especially that apple spice bundt...definitely need to make that very soon! :)

  4. Thanks for the sweet comments everyone - it sure is encouraging!