Pie will be expected. Pumpkin. Sweet potato. Pecan. Or at least that’s the case at many Thanksgiving feasts.
But rarely does a single dessert suffice. This is, after all, Thanksgiving, the American feast of the groaning board, a celebration of plenty.
Scheduling the preparation of more than one dessert into your kitchen time — and oven time — can be daunting. So think about making a dessert that can be prepared one or two days in advance then stored, well covered, of course, in the refrigerator.
Classic layered desserts such as tiramisu, trifle and the retro-hip icebox cake inspired this sweet finish, developed by Judy Hevrdejs, starring Thanksgiving flavors.
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
1 can (29 ounces) solid pack pumpkin
1 container (8 ounces) mascarpone
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 cups broken gingersnaps or molasses cookies
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Beat whipping cream to soft peaks. Add sugar; beat a few more seconds. Set aside. Fold pumpkin into mascarpone in a bowl, blending well; stir in brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
Place some broken cookies in the bottom of each serving dish or glass. Sprinkle with some pecan pieces. Spoon in a layer of pumpkin mixture. Add a layer of whipped cream. Add another layer of pumpkin mixture; finish with cookie and pecan pieces. Cover each serving dish with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate remaining whipped cream, well covered.
To serve, dollop with reserved whipped cream.
Double pumpkin parfaits: Substitute vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies for the gingersnaps. Instead of pecans, use roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 542 cal, 38 g total fat (13 g saturated), 56 mg chol, 49 g carbo, 8 g pro, 282 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber
Adapted from “Tyler Florence Family Meal: Bringing People Together Never Tasted Better” (Rodale, $35). The pears can be served on their own, two halves per person. Or consider the variation offered here: pears caramel.
3 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon, thinly sliced
5 cups water
1 vanilla bean
4 firm pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett
Combine sugar, cinnamon, lemon slices and water in a large saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the pan. Add the pod as well. Heat to a boil; stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
Peel and cut the pears into halves through the stem; scoop out the cores with a melon baller. Add the pears to poaching liquid; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until pears are just tender (the tip of a paring knife will go through the flesh of a pear with just a little resistance), about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let pears cool in the poaching liquid, about 45 minutes.
If preparing in advance, transfer pears and poaching liquid to a container. Cover; refrigerate up to two days. About 1 hour before serving, remove from refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature. Serve allowing two halves per person, pouring some poaching liquid over them.
Yield: 4 to 8 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 196 cal, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg chol, 51 g carbo, 0 g pro, 0 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber
Pears caramel: Swirl 2 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce onto each of 8 plates. Top with a pear half, cut side up. Spoon 1 tablespoon softened goat cheese into the center. Drizzle with a little poaching syrup. Sprinkle with sugared pecans.