November 14, 2012

Soup to Nuts: This Thanksgiving, change the ending

Chefs and a cheese expert offer ideas for trying something besides pie for Thanksgiving dessert.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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A pumpkin trifle created by Ilma Lopez, the pastry chef at Grace restaurant in Portland, is a festive and light combination of pumpkin, apples and cranberry flavors that doesn’t require a lot of preparation time.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Ilma Lopez with her pumpkin trifle at Grace. She says it can be made in a big bowl if smaller dishes aren’t available.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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A simple melon baller shapes the bites of apple into little rounds, but Lopez said they could be cut into squares or any other shape with a knife as well.

If you don't have an ice cream machine, Lopez said the cranberry mixture can be frozen and then scraped with a fork, creating a granita.

If the idea of making cranberry sorbet in between basting the turkey seems a little intimidating, Lopez notes that the different parts of the dessert can be made ahead, then assembled when you're ready to eat.

If you don't have the dessert ware to make a lot of these at once, Lopez suggests layering it in a big trifle bowl. Put in the cranberry sorbet and the mousse and let that set for a bit in the refrigerator, then layer in the rest of the ingredients. It's an easy way to serve it, and it makes for a great presentation at the table.

PUMPKIN TRIFLE

Ilma Lopez, pastry chef at Grace Restaurant

Servings: Six to eight

CRANBERRY SORBET

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ pound white sugar

½ vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 quart cold water

PUMPKIN MOUSSE

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

6 egg yolks

½ cup white sugar

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder (Knox type)

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder

2 cups pumpkin puree

MERINGUE

¼ cup egg whites

¼ cup white sugar

APPLES

2 or 3 fresh Maine apples

3 cups apple cider

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

To start the meringues, mix the sugar and egg whites on high in a mixer until you have firm peaks and they are glossy. Pipe or spoon them onto a parchment-covered baking sheet tray, in shapes like Hershey's kisses, and bake at 250 degrees in the oven overnight.

Put the cranberries, sugar and vanilla in a sauce pot over medium heat and cook until they begin to break down, stirring the pot every so often. When broken down, remove from the heat and let cool in the fridge.

When cool, puree in a blender until smooth, then remove with a spatula. Reserve half of the mixture for later. Mix the other half with 1 quart of cold water and put this mixture into an ice cream machine and run it according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, reserve in the freezer. (Can be made a day ahead.)

For the pumpkin mousse, bring the milk and cream to a boil, then whisk in the egg yolks and sugar and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 84 degrees.

Then whisk in the gelatin and strain through a fine strainer (chinois or similar) and mix with your pumpkin puree. At this point, whisk in the vanilla and cinnamon powder. Let this cool down and fill the whipped cream gun with the mixture and reserve in the fridge.

Put the cider and spices in a pot and bring to a simmer to infuse the flavor. Using a melon baller, cut out rounds from the apple, then gently poach in the spiced cider until the apples are just tender. Remove from the liquid, cool and reserve. The leftover cider can be used for mulled cider drinks later.

To assemble, place some cranberry puree in the bottom of the bowl, fill half the glass with the pumpkin mousse, one scoop of the cranberry sorbet, about six to seven pieces of the poached apple, and finish with the meringue. Enjoy!

HOT DATES

Sticky toffee pudding is a British dessert traditionally served during the holidays, but this comfort food reminds Karen Voter of her grandmother. She always had dates in the kitchen – dates are one of the key ingredients in sticky toffee pudding – and "used to make this fabulous carrot pudding that I still cannot duplicate."

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Karen Voter, sous chef at Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, serves a sticky toffee pudding cake that is good for busy Thankgiving cooks because it’s easy to make and can be done at least a day ahead.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

  


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