Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Dessert

So, friends. Who here is hosting Thanksgiving this year?

I am, and I always do. However, our Thanksgivings are very tiny. Christopher and I have small and/or split-up/fractured/far-away families and neither of us was raised with a posse of extended relatives with whom we are close. (Christopher once stayed in the empty dorms at college over Thanksgiving, if that tells you anything.)

So, at most I have two guests at Thanksgiving, and often just one. I know! Crazy to most of you, I'm sure.

So anyway, it's not like I'm cooking for a truckload of people. On the other hand, to some degree, if you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner--whether it's for five or 15. The only significant variation is the size of your turkey, which translates into how long it takes to thaw. Other than that, you're kind of doing the same things whether your feast is for a few or a large group.

My menu is pretty traditional (although I skip the sweet potatoes for this small a group and do a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey): a relish tray, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, honey-ginger glazed carrots (no green bean casserole here, because we just got our CSA fall storage share and are up to our ears in root veggies), cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and pie.

Over the years, I've done all sorts of things for dessert, including a classic pumpkin pie and a marbled pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake (delish), and though traditional cheesecake may be my all-time favorite dessert, it's soooo heavy after an indulgent meal. So my favorite Thanksgiving choice is the simple cheater cheesecake recipe below, because while it will satisfy any cheesecake lover out there, it's also fairly light compared to most holiday desserts. Which means that, should you end up with leftovers because of a small Thanksgiving guest list like I do, you can enjoy next-day pie with nary a flicker of guilt.

Try it sometime--if not next week, then maybe for Christmas?

(Sorry there's no photo! Trust me; it looks AND tastes good.)

Simple Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
serves 8


1 nine-inch reduced-fat graham cracker crust
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 eight-oz. package Neufchatel cheese, softened & at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 eight-oz. tub Lite Cool Whip (thawed)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, Neufchatel, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer on medium speed until fully incorporated and smooth.

Fold 2-1/2 cups Lite Cool Whip into the pumpkin mixture and stir gently until combined.

Spoon pie mixture into the crust, mounding the filling nicely. Chill 4 hours or overnight. Serve with additional Cool Whip, if desired. (A drizzle of warm caramel sauce is good too!)

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