Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble gobble !! In other words- EAT !!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone !! When it comes to holidays, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite. I love everything about fall, the food (long simmering stews, roasts that cook all day, apples baking....), the smells (leaves burning, crisp fall rain, and the food....) and my birthday.

Sometimes the best part of a big holiday celebration is dessert !!! The Chef and I had to split our celebrating between two families this year- not uncommon for lots of families, but totally new for me ! And as always with my family, they knew exactly what the wanted me to bring- cheesecake. I considered all the different flavors and varieties.....and decided to go with a citrusy cheesecake paired with bright red raspberries, which I love.

Sunny Citrus Cheesecake

1/2 box vanilla wafers, finely crushed
2 tb sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
4 8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 lemon
1 orange

In small bowl combine crushed cookies, sugar and melted butter. Press onto bottom of 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

Beat softened cream cheese with mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Zest the orange and the lemon, mix into cheese mixture. Juice one half of the lemon and one half of the orange and add to mixture (about 1 tb lemon and 2 tb orange).

Pour filling into pan. Bake in a 325 degree oven for one hour until almost firm (still a little jiggly- will firm as it cools).

*NOTE* I always bake cheesecake with a pan of hot water underneath it. It helps prevent the top from cracking. Also, you can switch this one up with your favorite citrus zest and juice and of course, whatever fruit topping you like, or skip the fruit and serve as is.

Let cool, then refrigerate. Serve with fruit topping if desired (I used raspberry sauce).

The Chef's family had recently seen some of the photos of food that he and I make around the house- and of course, they saw the for their Thanksgiving dinner, pies were the requested dessert. You can't have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, so that was a definite must have.

The Old Standby Pumpkin Pie

1 unbaked pastry shell
1 can Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs

Combine filling ingredients and pour into crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees and bake 50-60 minutes or until just set. Cool before serving.

But I had a terrible time deciding on a second pie !! But most people love apple pie, and with a cranberry twist it seemed to fit the bill for Thanksgiving.

Apple Cranberry Pie

pastry for 2 crust pie or 1 crust with crumb topping
5 or 6 Granny Smith apples (about 2 lb)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, quartered
3 tb flour
3/4 c sugar, divided

In small bowl combine cranberries with 2 tb sugar- add about 2 tb water, cook in microwave for 1 minute. set aside to cool (can also cook on stovetop just for a minute or so until berries barely soften). Peel, core and slice apples into large bowl. Toss with flour, remaining sugar and cinnamon. Mix in cranberries. Pile into pastry-line pie plate. Dot with butter.

Add top crust, seal and flute. Vent crust. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar if desired. (Instead of top crust you can follow recipe for your favorite crumb topping such as Dutch apple).

Bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. Cover edges of crust with foil for half the baking time to prevent burning.

It was a wonderful holiday, spent with family, good food and fun stories, football, grandkids and dogs and cats. Happy memories.....

My lovely mother-in-law enjoyed the apple cranberry pie !!

And that my friends, is another Thanksgiving in the history books. For me and the Chef, the start of new traditions perhaps ? I hope so.... I hope we have many more holidays together in our future.  And now..... the Christmas madness begins....................

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