November is here, and that means Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! CLEARLY Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, since it’s all about food, so I thought I would share some of my favorite holiday dishes in the weeks leading up to Turkey Day. They will include:
- Healthy pumpkin cheesecake trifle, an alternative to pumpkin pie (today’s recipe)
- Brussels sprouts with shallots and pecans
- Cheesy corn spoon bread
- Holiday Icebox Dinner Rolls: 3 Ways
- Butternut Gruyere Tart with Mushrooms and Pancetta
- Boozy Fruit Stuffing (or, why we must always have at least two stuffings on the table)
Why no turkey recipe, you ask? Do I not have a turkey recipe I’d like to share? Oh, do I ever! My hubby and I are in love with this recipe for Roasted Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon. But, as we always do Thanksgiving with just the two of us, our “turkey” is actually just a lonesome breast, and probably will not be of much help to you all, who I’m sure are celebrating with oodles of family and friends.
And why no traditional stuffing recipe, you ask? The fruit stuffing I’ve promised above is life-changing, I assure you, but traditional stuffing (bread, sage, stock, etc) is my absolute favorite Thanksgiving dish. So why am I not sharing my go-to recipe?
(with eyes downcast, she admits)….
I haven’t found it yet.
I love stuffing (or dressing, or whatever) SO MUCH, and have tried SO MANY recipes, but have not yet attained the perfection that can be Holiday Stuffing. Perhaps I will reach that nirvana this year; we’ll see. Until then I will not bother you with my less-than-perfect attempts.
So to start us off in the holiday spirit, let’s work backwards, shall we, and start with dessert! You know how much I love pumpkin. I mean REALLY love pumpkin. In soups, in waffles, in breads, in almost anything really…. except pie. I know, I know: it’s damn un-American to not like pumpkin pie (but then again I hate peanut butter too, so you can see a theme.) I’ve just never been a fan of pumpkin pie. Maybe I’ll find a recipe I like someday. But until that day – and probably even after – I will make this pumpkin cheesecake trifle, because Oh. My.
This is a lick-the-spoon, forget-about-serving-size sort of dessert, and incredibly, it’s not all that bad for you. Use fresh pumpkin puree if you can; but I won’t judge if you use canned. Just try it – trust me.
HealthyPumpkin Cheesecake Trifle
adapted from this recipe
Time: 15 minutes Serves 4-6
- 16 ginger snaps (or 3 sheets Graham crackers or 12 biscoff cookies), crushed into crumbs*
- 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tub (12 oz.) whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed OR 1.5 cups fresh whipped cream
*a particularly good outlet for any holiday frustrations you may be feeling
Distribute cookie crumbs evenly in dessert glasses.
In a bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Continue beating until smooth.
Gently fold in half of the whipped topping until well combined.
If you are so inclined, you may use a pastry bag for this next step. Or, if you’re like me, just use a spatula.
Layer the pumpkin cheesecake mixture on top of the crumbs, then the whipped/topping/cream. Repeat layers if you can, depending on the size of your glass.
These can be made several hours (even a day ahead) and stored in the fridge. When serving, garnish with some extra cookie crumbs (or a whole cookie!) and a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice.