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
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

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

click image to enlarge

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

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

"I love date desserts because of their flavor, but they add so much moisture," Voter said. "It's definitely something that has childhood memories for me."

Voter, a self-taught pastry chef, is a native of New Hampshire who worked in several Portsmouth restaurants before moving to the Portland area. She worked at Back Bay Grill for a while, and then transitioned into baking because she liked the up-before-dawn lifestyle.

She opened her own wholesale bakery, Ferry Village Bake Shop, in South Portland. But after four or five years, she found that she missed working in restaurants.

When she heard that chef Mitchell Kaldrovich was going to be working at Sea Glass, the restaurant at Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, she decided to join the team as well. She's been there since 2008.

Kaldrovich started as a pastry chef, she said, "and that's one of the reasons I like working with him."

"Even though he doesn't do it that much anymore, he gets it," she said. "You work with so many chefs that really don't have any idea of what goes into it, the time involved, and he does. And I appreciate that."

Voter's sticky toffee pudding is good for busy Thankgiving cooks because it's easy to make and can be done at least a day ahead, since the cake is so moist.

If you make it ahead, just pour some of the toffee sauce over the cake, slide it back into the fridge, and then when you're ready to serve it, reheat and add more sauce.

"There's nothing tricky about it," Voter said. "If you don't have the individual forms, you can do it in a 9-inch cake pan. You can probably even do it in a casserole dish, leave it in there and then throw it back in the oven."

Leftover toffee sauce will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. It can be drizzled on ice cream, apple tarts and chocolate cake.

Voter likes to serve her sticky toffee pudding with orange sections, a date-apricot compote and a dollop of whipped cream.

"This has orange and coffee flavors, and it just kind of really complements the dates so well," she said. "It just brings you back to the holidays."


Karen Voter, sous chef at Sea Glass, Inn by the Sea

Yield: One 9-inch cake or 6-ounce ramekins

For the cake:

8 ounces pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped

1 cup boiling water

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounces unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange rind, save the orange for segments

1 teaspoon espresso powder

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the toffee sauce:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

¼ cup milk

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon water, if needed

1. For the cake, place the dates in a bowl and pour on the boiling water. Let sit for 1 hour.

2. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan or eight 6-ounce ramekins.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. With the back of a fork, mash the dates in the bowl with the water. Stir in the baking soda. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown and granulated sugar, orange zest and espresso powder on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

(Continued on page 4)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

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


Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



More PPH Blogs