I’m in awe of the speed of time during this season. All the preparations and to-dos and just like that, it’s here. We’ll be doing a little collaborative hosting this time year and by that I mean Luke’s mother does mostly all the prep and I show up and cook. Not a bad deal! She’s a saint.
Desserts are, however, one of those don’t you dare wait until the day-of items that we must review so you can put a plan in place. That or allow this post to serve as a reminder to order a few pies from your favorite orchard bakery.
Typically I do two desserts; one pumpkin, one not, usually apple. From those categories I choose one that will be a pie (sometimes both!) and most definitely one that will be easy to prepare. If the crowd is particularly large, someone will bring an additional dessert.
This course is my absolutely favorite because it’s such a treat. If you’re just starting out, check out Ina Garten’s easy to make dishes. If you want to get a little more adventurous, get your hands on Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook. Most of what I bake is from this book.
I love baking and don’t get to do it half as often as I would like (remember this a few years ago in Paris?!). So when the holidays roll around I make sure to set aside some time to prepare a few special Wow! dishes like these:
Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits I’ve made these more times than I can remember and they’re always adored by everyone, even those who proclaim they don’t do pumpkin. This was one of the first recipes I made and shared with Luke’s family, including his late grandmother who was a phenomenal cook. She loved them, so I continue to make them.
Flour Bakery’s Super Pumpkin-y Pumpkin Pie I made two of these a couple of weeks ago and they were gone in 2 days. It’s the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had, mostly due to the fact that you reduce the pumpkin with sugar and add a ton of cream and the like. It’s so worth it. Plus it lasts a few days covered and refrigerated. Adaptation found here, but seriously, buy the book
Smitten Kitchen’s Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecake I have not made this before but I’m contemplating it for this Thanksgiving. I mean I can’t imagine this would be anything but outstanding. Stay tuned.
Flour Bakery’s Double Apple Pie Joanne Chang’s cookbook is my baking bible. Every recipe I’ve made from it has come out perfectly due to fool proof instructions. This pie is no exception. I’ve made it twice and had it for breakfast both times. Here is the recipe . Oh and did I mention it already? Buy the book.
I haven’t tried this one either, but as most of Ina’s seasonal desserts go this is really easy and the ingredients spell out you can’t go wrong. Add a nice dollop of freshly whipped cream and you’re golden.
This is a super easy variation (a great boxed yellow cake mix makes it even easier!) of a recipe I made a few years ago when I started baking. It’s simple and so delicious with the fresh whipped cream on top. Bonus points for some grated orange zest over-top the whole thing. A great breakfast cake for the next day.
(Edited to Add)
Easy Tarte aux Pommes
This is my something easy dessert for this year. I won’t be following this recipe exactly as I have visions of pastry cream atop the puff pastry then the apples. But the technique will be very much the same and I hope it turns out similarly beautiful. You can get crazy and make your own puff pastry here, but I will be using my reserved box from Trader Joe’s.