Thanksgiving Series: Desserts

I’m retelling the story of my family’s Thanksgiving meal in the wrong order by sharing the dessert after the salad, but who hasn’t at some point wanted to skip right past dinner and get to the sweets!

I cannot claim credit for these beauties, but I wanted to share the pictures regardless.  My mom made sour cream cheese cake (it has cream cheese too, of course, but those other ingredients make it less dense) with graham cracker crust and pecan shortbread bars.  Here they are all laid out to head to the table:

IMAG1300I did contribute to Thanksgiving dessert though, and I made salted caramel custards.  I used a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Food52.  They were almost great.  I let the sugar cook for a little too long while making the caramel, so they tasted slightly burnt, but I just described it as campfire caramel and pretended the smokiness flavor was purposeful!  I’m sure they would be perfect if I made them again, and I highly recommend the recipe to anyone that wants a fairly simple, but delectable dessert.  I would also recommend topping the custards with a little extra sea salt and whipped cream.

IMAG1295Here’s how I presented them for our Thanksgiving dessert extravaganza:

IMAG1297I called our series of desserts an extravaganza because there is still one more to come!  As a starter for the dessert course, I made homemade spiced, cream of squash soup.  I started by braised white pumpkin and butternut squash with an apple and some white onion in hard apple cider (my new favorite ingredient!) and fall spices.  Then I pureed it all together with a little cream to smooth out the texture, and I added just a couple tablespoons of maple syrup for some sweetness.  Then I topped it with crispy bacon and chestnuts.

IMAG1304The soup was absolutely delicious and was gone within two days.  My dad even ate the last bit without telling me!  I think I need to start hiding all of the yummy food that I make from him because he tends to scarf it down and leave none left for me. I also learned that chestnuts should never be overcooked.  I guess I should have done my research first, but overheating them results in hard nuggets that will almost break your teeth, so beware!  My last tip to anyone interested in making this soup would be that it can take an unusual amount of salt.  It really brings out the sweet flavor of the squash and doesn’t compete with any maple syrup or extra sweetness that you might add, so keep on adding it until it tastes right.

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