Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Cooking

From the food editor: Four not-so-traditional dessert ideas for Thanksgiving dinner

We're here to help you better prepare for the year's biggest food holiday: Thanksgiving. Throughout the site, we have Thanksgiving recipes galore, from a spoon bread side to a parsnip dish to corn recipes. We offer ideas for nine different kinds of stuffings, not only for your bird but for other vessels like squash and apples. And there is a Thanksgiving game plan as well as a by-the-numbers cheat sheet to help you make sure everything arrives at the table at (roughly) the same time.

To round things out, I am offering four ideas in this week's editor column for Thanksgiving desserts to serve alongside or, if you're in the mood to branch out, instead of, the classic pie.

Pecan Shortbread Squares: Make the crust first, by mixing ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, ½ cup confectioners' sugar and ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulsing a few times to mix. Add ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces and pulse until mixed. Pour into a 9-inch square baking pan lined with aluminum foil, pressing down to form an even layer. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 17 minutes, then set aside. In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, ¾ cup light brown sugar, 3 tablespoons honey, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 cups coarsely chopped pecans. Stir to mix, cooking for about 10 minutes until mixture is combined, then pour over crust and bake until filling is bubbling and caramel in color, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack. Recipe adapted from onceuponachef.com.

Pumpkin Pudding: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour 1 quart low-fat milk into a 3- or 4-quart pot or saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and slowly stream in 6 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal while whisking. Turn the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring, until the mixture has the consistency of runny cream of wheat. Stir in ? cup molasses and ¼ cup mild honey and continue to simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 cups pumpkin puree until smooth. Whisk in 4 eggs, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and stir to combine. Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole and bake 1 to 1 ½ hours until set; a knife should come out clean when inserted, and the top should be just beginning to brown. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.

Apple Crisp: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss together 6 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Pour into a buttered 2-quart baking dish and set aside. For the topping, mix 1 ¼ cups flour, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup light brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, work 12 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, into the mixture until it just comes together. Add ½ cup chopped nuts. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit and bake for about 45 minutes. Recipe adapted from the Food Network.

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