Tired of pumpkin pie? Try a Harvest Apple Cheese Tart or Cranberry Pecan Cake

The traditional pumpkin pie is a must to end the Thanksgiving feast, but honestly, they are almost just as good purchased than homemade.

If you want to show off your baking skills or just bring something different to the potluck, try one of these desserts:

One part fruit tart, one part cheesecake, the Harvest Apple Cheese Tart rich and creamy Thanksgiving dessert is entirely delicious.

A cheesecakelike cream cheese base fills a simple sweet tart crust. Then we top that with a sauce made from sauteed apples and golden raisins sweetened with brown sugar. The result is rich, but lighter than a traditional full-on cheesecake.

Velvety Pumpkin Custards With Ginger and Cinnamon taste exactly like pumpkin pie, only without the crust. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, or sprinkle raw sugar on top and torch, brulee-style, until crisp. If you make them in advance, be sure to cover the custards with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

Think of Cranberry Pecan Cake as a seasonal upside down cake. It calls for frozen cranberries so you can tuck this recipe away for the middle of summer when you need a taste of fall. Serve it warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. A perfect exclamation point on your holiday meal.

>>MODERATE

Harvest Apple Cheese Tart

For the crust:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up

2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

For the topping:

2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

¼ cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

½ cup toasted walnuts, optional

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with baking spray.

To make the crust, in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, then pulse together, adding cold water, as needed, until a meal forms that sticks together easily when you squeeze it.

Press the mixture into the prepared tart pan, making sure to press the dough up the sides. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn golden and the center is slightly firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

While the crust cools, prepare the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, vinegar and powdered sugar until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the cooled tart shell and smooth the top. Refrigerate while making the topping.

To make the topping, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, combine the apple slices, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, vinegar and raisins. Cook until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Add this mixture to the skillet, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Spoon the apples over the top of the tart. Sprinkle with walnuts, if using.

Serves 8.

Nutritional information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 570 calories (280 calories from fat, 49 percent of total calories), 32g fat (20g saturated, 0g trans fats), 95mg cholesterol, 68g carbohydrates, 7g protein, 3g fiber, 360mg sodium.

Source: Associated Press

>>EASY

Pumpkin Custards

With Ginger and Cinnamon

½ cup pure pumpkin

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

2 cups evaporated milk

1 large egg plus 2 large yolks

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Set eight 6-ounce ramekins in a large roasting pan, or two small pans. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Heat pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium heat until puree sputters and flavors intensify. Whisk in brown sugar, then evaporated milk, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk egg and yolks in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk hot-pumpkin mixture into eggs, then pour into custard cups. Set pans in oven and carefully pour in enough water to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards set, about 30 minutes. Remove custard cups from baking dish and cool slightly. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes 8.

Source: Perfect One-Dish Dinners by Pam Anderson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)

>>EASY

Cranberry Pecan Cake

3 cups frozen cranberries

1 cup pecans

2 cups sugar, divided use

2 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

Spread the cranberries evenly over the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle the pecans over the cranberries. Spoon 1 cup of sugar over the cranberries and pecans.

Place the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed about 1 minute, until the eggs are foamy. Beat in 1 cup of sugar, the flour, melted butter and milk and beat on low until just mixed. The batter will be thick. Spread the batter evenly over the cranberry-pecan mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cake is lightly brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate, so the cranberry-pecan layer is on top. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Serves at least 8.

Source: Allrecipes.com

Tired of pumpkin pie? Try a Harvest Apple Cheese Tart or Cranberry Pecan Cake 11/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 3:31am]

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