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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Final Countdown to Thanksgiving Desserts

It's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and you probably have all of your recipes planned out, guests RSVPed, and wine displayed - or not. Maybe you've been invited to a dinner and don't know what to bring; maybe you've been busy shoveling yourself out of the deep, deep snow and haven't had a chance to determine your menu. Any way you slice it, here are a few last minute recipes for the dessert buffet. Make that final stop at the grocery store ASAP!

It has to be chocolate...
Chocolate Mascarpone Pound Cake
Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients
Cake
  • Butter, for the pan
  • Flour, for the pan
  • 1 (16-ounce) box of pound cake mix, such as Betty Crocker
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Glaze
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
For the cake: 
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pound cake mix, cocoa powder, butter, mascarpone cheese, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until smooth and thick.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the glaze: 
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla and slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons water, or a little more as needed, until the mixture is thick. Spoon the glaze over the cake and serve.

A little Mexican...
Crepes Cajeta
Mary Sue Milliken

Ingredients
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 egg, plus 2 yolks
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, plus more for garnish
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish
Directions
  1. Place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a 2-qt. saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 3 hours, adding more water as needed. Using tongs, flip can and continue to cook 2½ hours more. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate overnight. 
  2. Combine flour, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, cloves, egg, and yolks in a blender. Blend until a smooth batter forms; cover and chill 1 hour. 
  3. Heat an 8” nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, pour 2–3 tbsp. batter into skillet, tilting skillet to let batter cover bottom completely. Cook until small bubbles form on the surface of the cr√™pe, about 2 minutes; flip and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Spread 1 tbsp. cajeta evenly over each crepe; sprinkle with 1 tbsp. pecans. Roll crepes into logs and transfer to serving plates; sprinkle with additional pecans. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with raspberries, if you like.

A little old school...
Pumpkin Halvah
Anissa Helou

Ingredients
  • 2 lb. peeled and seeded kabocha or acorn squash, cubed
  • 3½ cups milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
Directions
  1.  Working in 2 batches, place squash and milk in a blender and puree until smooth; transfer to a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until reduced and thickened to the consistency of loose peanut butter, about 1 hour. Add both sugars, almond flour, butter, rose water, cardamom, and salt, and cook, stirring often, until smooth, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Remove pot from heat and stir in powdered milk; using a handheld blender or a food processor, puree halvah mixture until no lumps remain. Stir in ¾ cup chopped almonds and 6 tbsp. each raisins and golden raisins. Transfer halvah to a serving platter or bowl and sprinkle remaining almonds and raisins over top; drizzle with ghee and serve immediately.

Happy Thanksgiving baking!

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