Thanksgiving Desserts Part One and Deux

My apron of choice.

One of my family's Thanksgiving traditions is to make a crap-load of desserts. I'm talking, at least 7 desserts. Fo real. We don't mess around either, my mom and I team up and we conquer the desserts, one at a time. You should see us in action. We start first thing in the AM, tie on our aprons in sync, cue the Christmas music (it's acceptable this close to December) and it's go-time. She kindly takes on the roll of the reliable sous-pastry-chef and dishwasher while I take on the role of pastry chef diva.

This year, I jetted to Boston first to celebrate Thanksgiving early with my in-laws. They've adapted nicely to my dessert fiendness and happily join in on the dessert making. This year, we made PB Chocolate Chip Bars (see previous blog entry for the recipe), Mini Pecan Pies, Grandma's Special- Pistachio Whipped Cream Angel Food Cake Heath Bar Parfait (there's gotta be a better title for that), Croissant Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Vanilla Heath Bar Ice Cream and Apple Crisp. They were all delish, but the standout was, in my humble opinion, the Croissant Pudding! That recipe had me at "croissant." This is basically bread pudding, but better because it's with croissants. I've never made bread pudding before- for some reason, it always seemed very daunting to me. Luckily, it was far from that. Honorable mention goes to my mother-in-law's Apple Crisp. I'm such a sucker for it.

Croissant Pudding...hello lover...

Croissant Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
8 servings

Ingredients – Pudding
6 large croissants, sliced in half lengthwise
8 large eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 cups cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Ingredients – Sauce
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup Irish whiskey or bourbon

Directions – Pudding
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.
2.  Layer the croissants in pan, making sure entire surface is covered, with no space between the slices.
3.  Whisk eggs and sugar together, and blend well. Whisk in the cream and vanilla.
4.  Slowly pour cream mixture over the croissants, allowing the bread to absorb the liquid. Push down the croissants with the back of a spoon so they absorb more of the liquid.
5.  Set baking pan into a larger shallow pan or baking dish, and pour hot tap water into the outer pan, until the level reaches halfway up the side of inner pan.
6.  Place on center rack of oven, and bake until pudding is just set, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, and remove the inner pan from outer pan.

Directions – Sauce
1.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar in large bowl until pale yellow. Add whiskey and beat until well combined.
2.  Transfer mixture to the top of a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium high heat until the mixture is thick and creamy.
3.  Whisk just before serving. To serve, place a slick of the pudding (warm or chilled) on a plate, and drop with sauce.

My sister-in-law's husband modified the drizzle recipe or, some would say, he went rogue (he simply used melted vanilla ice cream) but it was darn tasty. I'm definitely making this recipe again.

Thanksgiving Desserts Part One

My adorable nephew sous-chef

The setup is key!

Next up, Thanksgiving Part Deux at the Thompson household. My mom and I, as I mentioned earlier, did our thing and made 6 of the 7 desserts: PB Chocolate Chip Bars (appetizers), Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake, Classic Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Pumpkin Cheesecake and Apple Pie. My hubs made the 7th which was another round of the Vanilla Heath Bar Ice Cream, but this time with a hot fudge swirl. Such a damn showoff. Everyone's favorite, of course, was the husband's dessert (PISH POSH!). Honorable mention goes to the Ginger Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from All Recipes & Martha Stewart
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients – Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients – Frosting
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions – Cupcakes
1.  Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.
2.  Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3.  Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Directions – Frosting
1.  In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
2.  Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Overall, 'twas a successful dessert Thanksgiving. The only flop we had was that we didn't grease the pan well enough for the chocolate cake so half of it decided not to come out (see below). We tried to patch it together with the frosting, but it was a hot, hot mess. Luckily, it still tasted good and, in my humble opinion, that's all that matters.

Happy Holiday baking friends!

Thanksgiving Desserts Part Deux