Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that we have in our lives. It’s a time of family. A time of reflection. A time of giving. And a time of stuffing!
This year Matt and I spent our first Thanksgiving together in Ann Arbor. Although we attempted to scale our meal back to a portion suitable for two, our refrigerator is stuffed with leftovers suitable for an entire weeks’ worth of Thanksgiving dinners. Our meal included some inspiration from New Orleans (where Matt’s alma mater is located), with BBQ shrimp. It even included a macaroni and cheese bake-off—although the winner is still in dispute. Overall, it was a lovely day filled with many first times and memories in the making.
Last year, I shared with you my list of things I was most thankful for in 2012. In keeping with tradition, I have decided to do the same this year. In no particular order, here are five things I am thankful for in the past year.
1. Love—for letting me feel what it means to be truly alive.
2. Good health—for enabling me to live each day to the fullest.
3. Tears—for helping me express my deepest emotions.
4. Friends and family—for being my closest companions in life.
5. My mind—for the ability to think, store memories, and create new solutions.
No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without dessert. This year I tried a new recipe from one of my coworkers for pumpkin tiramisu. This recipe won the fall baking competition at work, and after your first bite you will immediately know why. With layers of pumpkin-mascarpone, custard, and gingersnaps brushed with Calvados syrup, the flavors and textures form a deliciously creamy dessert.
Pumpkin Tiramisu Recipe
3 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from 1 1/2 envelopes)
2 tablespoons water
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 quart whole milk
one 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pound mascarpone (2 cups)
3 tablespoons Calvados or other apple brandy
1 1/4 pounds gingersnaps, 1/4 pound finely crushed
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, cornstarch, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until the sugar is moistened. In a large saucepan, heat the milk just until steaming. Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Pour the mixture into the milk in the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until boiling and thick, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk in the mascarpone.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the Calvados with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar at high power for 10 seconds, just until the sugar is dissolved.
Arrange one-third of the whole gingersnaps in a 9-by-13-by-2 1/2-inch baking dish. Lightly brush the gingersnaps with some of the Calvados and top with one-third of the pumpkin custard. Repeat the layering twice more with the remaining whole gingersnaps, Calvados and custard. Sprinkle half of the crushed gingersnaps on top and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the tiramisù. Freeze overnight.
Let the tiramisù stand at room temperature for 6 hours, until thawed. Sprinkle with the remaining gingersnaps. Serve.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
Thanksgiving is a busy time and this dessert can be made in advance to save you some time in the kitchen on the big day. The pumpkin tiramisù can be frozen for up to 1 week. Thaw at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.