For dessert, I debated between making pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake. Both have graced our Thanksgiving table is years past. I was having a very Goldilocks moment I wanted something more than pumpkin pie but not so completely dense and rich as pumpkin cheesecake. When I thought about it, I realized that pumpkin cheesecake is just that, a cheesecake that is merely flavored with pumpkin. I wanted a pumpkin pie that was a little bit cheesecake-y. My mom and I googled around and found a recipe that was equal parts pumpkin and cream cheese. Because the end result was not so insanely dense and rich, it left room for a layer of fresh whipped cream on top. The gingersnap crust I made sadly did not go as well. I made it a little too thick around the outer edge and did not pre-bake it long enough. It ended up being soft and cakey, not gritty and crunchy like a crumb crust should be.
Dessert number two (because there is never just one dessert) was my mom’s spectacular maple-roasted pears. There are only two ingredients required: Bosc pears and good maple syrup. The pears become soft and a little chewy, and the syrup forms a nice sticky sauce coating it all. This is a recipe you could doll up with whipped cream and a garnish and trick your guests into thinking it is harder than it is.
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 cups pumpkin puree
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1.5 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 Tbs butter, melted
1. Combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter and press mixture into a springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
2. While crust is in the oven, mix cream cheese and condensed milk together until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and eggs. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.
4 Bosc pears
2-3 Tbs maple syrup
Slice pears into eighths. Place the pears in an 8×8 pan coated with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and then pour maple syrup on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft and caramelized on the outside.