By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Thanksgiving Day desserts

Can you believe Thanksgiving Day will be here in just a few weeks?

My advice is to begin planning your menu now — that way you can get your shopping done, have all of your recipes in one place and do as much as possible ahead of time.

All of these tricks assure you will cook the very best dinner and avoid being stressed out.

While the turkey is the real star of the meal, don’t forget about dessert — that is the last thing your guests will eat at your table, so you want to leave a memorable impression.

We always have a pumpkin pie, but since it is such a special meal, I like to have another dessert as well. Here are some simple, but delicious desserts that would make you proud to serve.

• • •

Pound cake might sound, well, boring, but this lemon poppy seed pound cake is anything but. Light and refreshing, it is the perfect ending to a heavy meal. The lemon glaze is tangy and sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee or espresso.

Lemon poppy-seed pound cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup poppy seeds
16 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (not the bitter white pith)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

For the cake: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350-degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Measure out 1 tablespoon of this flour mixture and place in a small bowl with the poppy seeds and set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking to combine.

In a food processor, pulse sugar and lemon zest, about five pulses. Add lemon juice, eggs and vanilla and process until combined. With processor running, add melted butter in a steady stream. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Sift flour into the egg mixture in batches, whisking to combine. Stir in poppy seeds.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees.

Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, about three minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto rack to continue cooking. Poke top and sides of cake with toothpick. Cool at least an hour.

For the glaze: Bring sugar and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Brush top and sides of the pound cake with glaze and cool to room temperature before serving.

• • •

I love this dessert because you must make it ahead of time and serve it chilled. Use good quality chocolate — this would be terrific when served with some fancy cookies — homemade or store bought.

Chocolate mousse
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
4 eggs, separated
Pinch of cream of tartar
½ cup heavy cream

In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, stirring well. Let cool to room temperature. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. Whisk a third of the whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remainder.

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Chill until set, two to three hours.

• • •

Apple crumble
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch cubes
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 recipe Crumble Topping (recipe follows)

Adjust oven racks to lowest and middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir cornstarch with lemon juice in a large bowl. Add apples, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss to combine.

Transfer mixture to a 8-inch square glass dish. Cover with foil and set aside. Place Crumble Topping mixture on parchment paper lined baking sheet and place on middle oven rack. Place apple mixture, covered in foil on lower oven rack and bake about 20 minutes.

Remove topping and apples from oven. Uncover apples and gently stir. Carefully slide the topping mixture on top of the apples. Sprinkle with a little sugar and raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Bake until browned and filling is bubbly, about 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Crumble topping
1 cup flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until in chunks.