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Video: Yum! Make delicious Thanksgiving desserts

TODAY recipes
updated 11/18/2011 6:25:30 PM ET 2011-11-18T23:25:30

Recipe: Chocolate ricotta pie

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, plus 3/4 cup, toasted (about 8 ounces in total)
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 3/4 cup
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg yolks

Blend the flour, cornmeal, 3/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse, just until the dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 11-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the tart dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell in the lower third of the oven until just set, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and pie weights. Bake the shell until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Cool completely. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool the sugar syrup slightly. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over very softly simmering water.

Pulse the ricotta cheese and cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolks, 1 at a time, and process until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and process until combined. With the machine running, add the sugar syrup in a thin steady stream and process until smooth. Pour the custard into the tart shell and bake until the filling is almost set, about 30 minutes or until the custard has set. Scatter the remaining 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts on top of the filling. Let the tart cool completely before serving.

The tart can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Return the tart to room temperature before serving.

Recipe: Cranberry cornmeal cake

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
  • 1/2 cup yellow fine cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup orange zest (from 2 large oranges)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Measure 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture into a small bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and toss until coated.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cranberries. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. 

Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cake into wedges and serve. (The cake can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in a plastic container.)

Recipe: Persimmon-pumpkin pie with mascarpone shortbread crust

  • For the crust:
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1.33 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup, or 1 stick, chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone, or Italian cream cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • For the filling:
  • 1 cup ripe fuyu persimmon puree, from about two 6- to 7-ounce persimmons
  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone, or Italian cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • For serving:
  • Whipped mascarpone or heavy cream

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Inactive Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes

To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray to coat lightly.

Blend flour, butter, sugar and salt in a processor until coarse crumbs form.

Add mascarpone and blend until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball.

Reserve 1/4 cup of dough. Drop walnut-size pieces of the remaining dough over the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Using moist fingertips, press the balls of dough together forming a smooth crust, creating a high standing edge on the rim of the dish, and using any of the reserved dough if needed.

Crimp the edge decoratively.

Bake the crust until the edge is browned and the center of the crust is pale golden, piercing with a toothpick if the crust bubbles and occasionally pressing with the back of a fork to flatten the center. This takes about 25 minutes.

Transfer the crust to a work surface. Brush the sides and bottom -- not the crimped edge -- with apricot preserves to coat.

To make the filling:
In the processor, combine the persimmon puree and the next eight ingredients and blend well.

Add the eggs and blend for 5 seconds. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Place the pie into the oven and, if the edge will over-brown, stand a foil collar directly on the oven rack and wrap it around the dish to protect the crust.

Bake the pie until slits or cracks appear around the edge and the center is set, which takes about 35 minutes.

Cool the pie on a rack. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with whipped mascarpone, if desired.

Serving Size

Serves eight

Recipe: Berry, melon, and mint iced tea

  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 3/4-ounce packages fresh mint, plus extra sprigs for serving
  • 5 English breakfast tea bags
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cups 12-inch cubes watermelon, plus extra for serving
  • 16 strawberries, stemmed, halved, plus extra for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bottle prosecco, chilled
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2-pint container blackberries
  • Lemon wedges

Bring the water, sugar, and 3 packages of mint to a boil in a heavy large saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat; add the tea bags. Let steep 10 minutes. Strain into a large pitcher or bowl. Mix in the extract and salt.

Place the watermelon cubes, then halved strawberries into a blender. Blend to a fine puree, stopping to push the fruit into the blades as needed. Working in batches, strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing and mashing until just the berry seeds are left. Stir puree into the tea and add the lemon juice. Chill until very cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Before serving, add prosecco to tea.  Put a few ice cubes into each of 6 glasses or water goblets. Add some melon cubes, halved strawberries, and blackberries to each glass. Pour tea into each glass. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and lemon wedges.

Serving Size

Serves 6

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