While the entrée may be dubbed the star of the meal, we all know in our heart of hearts that dessert is what we're secretly waiting for. Not only is a sweet treat looked forward to by many, but it also makes a nice excuse to gather round with a cup of hot coffee/tea in hand to help settle the meal with some pleasant chatter.
Also, let's keep in mind that dessert is the last impression guests leave with! So let's make it special.
Here are two simple recipes that are quick enough to make that you should be able to easily squeeze it in your busy schedule and whip it up without a problem.
Pumpkin CheesecakeIngredients:For the crust -
- 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 stick melted butterFor the filling -
- 3 (8 0z) packages cream cheese
- 1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin
- 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.For the crust
: Combine the crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix evenly so that all of the crumbs are moist and coated. Press down firmly into a 9-inch springform pan. I use the bottom of a measuring cup and spread out so that the crust climbs up the sides of the pan as well.For the filling
: Beat the cream cheese until it's smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs and egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices. Mix well, then add the flour and vanilla. Make sure everything is incorporated evenly before pouring the batter into the crust.
Spread out evenly and bake for 1 hour. Let cool for a few minutes before sliding a knife around the edge of the crust to separate it from the pan. This keeps the pie from staying nicely shaped while cooling, otherwise it may end up breaking as it cools. Cover in plastic wrap and cool for at least 4 hours before serving.
- 6 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 lb mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 cup strong espresso (cooled)
- 2 tsp dark rum
- 24 packaged ladyfingers
- unsweetened cocoa, ground cinnamon, fruit (optional)
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it's thick and pale. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix until smooth. Add 1 tbsp of espresso and combine thoroughly.
Add the remaining espresso in a separate dish with the rum. Dip each lady finger into the espresso on both sides. You'll want to dip and turn quickly since the ladyfingers will get soggy and start falling apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of your preferred serving dish and start layering the bottom of the dish. Feel free to break them in half if needed.
Spread an even layer of the mascarpone mixture over the lady fingers before adding yet another layer of ladyfingers on top. Repeat as many times as you'd like (or are able to). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (lasts up to 8 hours).
Before serving, powder the top with unsweetened cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, and decorate with your preferred fruit.