Pumpkin desserts reinvented and other sweet recipes for the holidays

by on November 16, 2011

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Executive Chef Todd Knoll has been on vacation for a few weeks, so we asked our baker extraordinaire, Cristina Valencia, to share some easy dessert recipe ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner table. From mini pumpkin rolls and pumpkin pie with pumpkin seed mousse and to petite presentations for apple pies and streusel, these elegantly presented desserts are both simple and festive. Most ingredients can be prepared in advance–and you get to surprise your guests with an alternative to the typical pumpkin pie. Recipes for the two pumpkin desserts are included below. Happy holidays!

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Roll with Phyllo Crisps

Summary: Bring a bit of elegance to your fall desserts with this simple recipe, which will have holiday dinner party guests raving. It’s a refreshing spin on the traditional pumpkin pie.

Ingredients ~

For the roll:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the garnish:

  • 4 sheets phyllo dough
  • Melted, clarified butter
  • Cinnamon-sugar mixture
  • Candied walnuts (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions ~

  1. To make the pumpkin roll cake, combine eggs and sugar in a bowl. Beat until thick, then stir in pumpkin puree and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then gently fold into puree and egg mixture.
  2. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and spray well with a non-stick cooking spray. Spread cake batter out evenly between both pans. Bake for 8 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.
  3. For the filling, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor and combine until smooth.
  4. Remove cakes from oven and immediately flip each onto a thin towel that is generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Cut down the center lengthwise. Using the towel, roll from each end. You will have four rolls total. Let rest until cool to the touch then carefully unroll and remove the towel.
  5. Spread on filling mixture and reroll the cake. Wrap individual rolls in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for easier cutting. Slice logs into 1 1/4-inch pieces, giving you 10-12, three piece servings.
  6. For the garnish, brush the first layer of phyllo dough lightly with butter, sprinkle on an even dusting of equal parts cinnamon and sugar and place second layer of phyllo dough on top. Repeat until the fourth sheet of phyllo dough is on top and press firmly. Cut into desired shapes, freehand with a knife or using a cookie cutter. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then place an additional layer of parchment paper over the dough shapes and an additional cookie sheet on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
  7. To plate, arrange 3 slices of pumpkin roll and garnish with phyllo dough shapes. You can also place a sprinkling of candied walnuts topped with a dollop of whipped cream on the side for additional texture.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 16 minute(s)

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Pumpkin Seed Mousse and Candied Seeds

Summary: Thanksgiving is not complete without the perfect pumpkin pie. This rendition combines the sweet simplicity of graham cracker crust with the festive touch of pumpkin seed mousse and candied seeds. With its beautiful presentation, this dessert and is sure to become a perennial favorite.

Ingredients ~

For the crust:

  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • For the filling:
  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 ounces melted butter

For the candied pumpkin seeds:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup green pumpkin seeds

For the whipped cream and pumpkin seed mousse:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds

Instructions ~

  1. To make the crust, combine crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl until well incorporated. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of a parchment lined 15”x10” pan.
  2. In a food processor, mix pumpkin puree, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix again until smooth. Add melted butter last and combine.
  3. Pour entire filling mixture into crust and place in an oven preheated to 325 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  4. For the candied pumpkin seeds, bring sugar and water to a boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat and add salt and pumpkin seeds. Stir until seeds are crystallized and well coated with sugar. Spread seeds in one layer on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and let cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to plate.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Divide whipped cream and reserve half for garnish. To make the pumpkin seed mousse, stir ground pumpkin seeds into remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate both until ready to plate.
  6. To make your pumpkin pie easy to cut, refrigerate and cut when cold. On individual plates, dress each slice with candied seeds, whipped cream and mousse.

Preparation time: 50 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Fun ways to dress up apple pie and streusel:

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