Friday, November 27, 2009

- A Noah’s Ark Thanksgiving

We had two of everything for Thanksgiving yesterday: a fried turkey and a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, plain stuffing and sausage onion stuffing, smooth cranberry jelly and chunky cranberry orange relish, green olives and black olives, carrots and celery, red wine and champagne … along with matched sides of Levine family green bean casserole and buttered corn versus Ackert family creamed onions and sautéed turnips.  Dessert would have continued the two-by-two theme with coconut cream pie and pecan pie, but Kristen and her family saved the day from cliché by arriving with a chocolate frosted cheese cake.

It’s a good thing we decided up front to eliminate pumpkin pie and apple pie from the menu, as dinner was so good that there wasn’t much room left for sampling all the desserts. However, pumpkin did make a pre-dinner appearance in a “new for this year” brunch pairing of pumpkin rolls with, you guessed it, two fillings. One was a straight take on an Ina Garten recipe I caught on the Food Network the other night, but the second was a riff on strawberry trifle, as odd as that might sound.

So see for yourself. Snag the original Pumpkin Roulade recipe from the Food Network, cut the pumpkin cake in half after it’s cooled and fill one side with a half recipe of the mascarpone filling. Then whip up a trifling half. It won’t be as pretty, but in my book it wins the prize for taste.

Trifling Pumpkin Roll

½ Ina Garten pumpkin roulade cake
1 small box Jell-O Vanilla Cook and Serve pudding (not instant!)
1 ½ cups milk (whole milk is best, but 2% will do)
½ cup whipping cream
½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts (filberts)
Sherry or Vin Santo

Cook the pudding mix and milk in the microwave until thickened. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Whip ½ cup cream (don’t add any sugar), and fold into the chilled pudding.

Chop the hazelnuts and then toast them for 3-6 minutes in a 350 oven until they are nicely browned. Cool.

Spritz the pumpkin roll with sherry (I stick my thumb into the bottle opening to control the flow). Slather the cake with a layer of the pudding/cream mixture. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Roll carefully and expect it to sag, as the cream filling is not as firm as the mascarpone version.

Conduct your own taste test and may the best cake win ;-)

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