There are a lot of logistical considerations when it comes to Thanksgiving, so I tried to come up with a recipe that can be made ahead, can be doubled or cut in half easily, will travel well, and can served at any temperature. With Thanksgiving there are also sentimental considerations, so I tried to come up with a recipe that tastes like Thanksgiving, too. —SallyCan
one 2” x 8” square pan, can be doubled using 13” x 9” x 2” pan
¾ c gingersnap or spice cookie crumbs
2 T melted butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ c sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c pumpkin (canned or fresh roasted and mashed)
¼ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
½ tsp vanilla and 1 T Frangelico, or 1 tsp vanilla
¾ c cream (or half and half, or milk)
2 c pieces of stale baguette or white bread, crusts removed and shredded into ½ -1” pieces
¾ c caramel sauce, canned or recipe below (calls for 1 c sugar and ¾ c heavy cream), at room temperature, plus another ½ c for serving
3 T butter
6 c peeled, sliced apples
¼ c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 c chopped pecans
3 T butter
¼ c sugar
4 T dark corn syrup
1 c whipping cream
3 T Frangelico and 1 T confectioners sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla and 3 T confectioners sugar)
To make caramel sauce: in a heavy saucepan combine 1 c sugar with ½ c water. Cook on a medium heat, stirring constantly, until it become an amber color. Remove from heat and very carefully (very carefully! I still have a caramel scar on my hand from when I was 14!), stir in ¾ c heavy cream a few tablespoons at a time, and ½ tsp vanilla. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 375
Put cookie crumbs in bottom of 8” square glass baking pan. Pour butter over crumbs, and mix together thoroughly with a fork, and press them gently together, covering the bottom of the pan. Gently spread shredded bread on top of the cookie crumbs, making sure that you don’t disrupt them.
Beat softened cream cheese with ½ c sugar. Add eggs in two or three batches, beating after each addition. Mix in pumpkin, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ginger, and a pinch of cloves. Add vanilla and Frangelico (or just vanilla) and cream.
Carefully and evenly pour pumpkin mixture over the bread crumbs, again making sure that you don’t disrupt the cookie layer.
Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, until it is puffed and custard is firm and cooked in the center (you’ll need a few more minutes for a doubled recipe). Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
Pour ¾ c caramel sauce over pumpkin custard. Refrigerate until caramel sauce is firm.
In a large frying pan, melt butter. Add apples and toss with ¼ c sugar. Cook on a med low heat until apples are softened and begin to turn golden brown. Add 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp allspice. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.
When apples have cooled, carefully and evenly spread them over caramel layer.
In clean frying pan, melt 3 T butter. Add pecans and ¼ c sugar, stirring to coat them evenly. Cook on a low heat, stirring, until sugar begins to melt and the nuts begin to brown. Mix in corn syrup a tablespoon at a time, and continue to cook and stir until sugar and cornstarch form a sticky coating on the nuts and they begin to stick together. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
Spread the candied nuts over the apple layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be served cold, at room temperature, or warmed in a 300 oven for about 20 minutes.
Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form then add confectioners sugar and Frangelico, or confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat again, until stiff peaks form.
Serve with Frangelico whipped cream and extra caramel sauce.