Delicious Dilemma

As of the writing of this post, I’m still waffling over what will be dessert for our Thanksgiving dinner.
I had planned to make pecan pie bars, as none of the guests at our table is particularly fond of pumpkin pie. But then a recipe popped into my email inbox that combines my two favorite pies into one decadent offering: Chocolate Silk Pecan Pie. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
I’ve already bought the ingredients for the bars, but it would only take one more trip to the store to get the extra items needed for the pie. Hubby Bryan says the pie sounds like too much work, but my qualm is that it would be awfully rich after a big meal.
So, to pie or not to pie is still the question. Whether it gets served on Thursday or not, I’m sure this pie is destined to be made by me sometime in the near future.

Chocolate Silk Pecan Pie

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using 1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on the box, place crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed for one-crust filled pie.
In small bowl, beat 2 eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar, ½ cup dark corn syrup, 3 tablespoons butter, melted, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat 1 minute. Stir in ½ cup chopped pecans. Pour into crust-lined pie plate. Cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until center of pie is puffed and golden brown, removing foil during last 15 minutes of baking time.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, place 1 cup hot milk, ¼ teaspoon vanilla and one 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups). Cover and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Refrigerate until mixture is slightly thickened but not set, about 1½ hours.
Gently stir chocolate filling and pour over cooled pecan filling in crust. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm before serving.
Top with whipped topping or whipping cream that has been beaten with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla until stiff peaks form. Garnish with chocolate curls.

I’m a bit belated in printing this recipe from our annual Oktoberfest party, which took place about a month ago, but this dip, toted to our house by Millie Hamman, would also be appropriate for holiday and football entertaining.

Reuben Dip

In a slow cooker, combine one 16-ounce jar sauerkraut, drained; ½ pound deli-style corned beef, shredded; one 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened; one 8-ounce package shredded Swiss cheese; and ¼ cup Thousand Island salad dressing. Cover and cook on high setting for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until heated through and cheese is melted. Makes 6 to 7 cups.

Sister Margaret shares this updated version of  butternut squash soup, which she recently served to a luncheon gathering, along with pasta salad and apple crisp.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large baking dish, place 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes, and 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered. Cover with 29-ounces canned chicken broth and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
In a large skillet, toast 1½ teaspoons curry powder over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn. Stir into soup along with ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sour cream and thinly sliced scallions.

1 Response

  1. Allison Koster

    HOLIDAY RECIPES submissions

    I got this recipe from a friend’s neighbor, who hosted a Winter Solstice party while I was visiting. I was always pretty indifferent to olives until I tasted these—I can’t get enough of these roasted olives! The colors of the green and purple olives with the brown almonds and the shocking orange-red peppadews is so festive, but I make this recipe year-round (with or without the peppadews).


    1 to 1-1/2 cups various olives–whatever you like
    (use olives in “plain” juice—not ones already marinated)
    1 to 1-1/2 cups raw whole almonds
    ¾ to 1 cup peppadews
    ~3 T. olive oil
    ¼ tsp. Aleppo pepper flakes
    -OR- ¼ tsp. crushed Ancho chiles
    -OR- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
    leaves of ~three 5-inch stalks fresh rosemary, stripped from stalks
    ~scant ¼ tsp. dried thyme leaves
    other herbs, if you like

    Drain olives and peppadews and pat dry with paper towels. Whirl herbs and pepper flakes in food processor; add olive oil and whirl until rosemary is chopped fairly fine. Just before baking, mix olives and raw almonds in non-metal baking dish (such as a glass 8×12 pan); pour olive oil-herb mixture over olives and almonds, and toss to coat.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add peppadews to the mixture and bake another 5-8 minutes. Transfer to serving dish. Serve warm or room-temperature.


    Peppadews are small, bright pickled red peppers (about the size of cherry tomatoes) from South Africa. They can be found in many deli sections or near the olives. You may substitute oil-cured sun-dried tomato halves for the peppadews if you wish.

    Raw almonds are most easily found in the bulk foods section or at food co-ops.

    Keep the almonds away from the rest of the ingredients, including the marinade, until you are ready to bake—almonds are porous and will soak up the marinade (or olive juice or peppadew juice) and get mushy.

    I love cooking and baking with beer (I have been homebrewing for 18 years). This recipe, from “Real Beer, Good Eats”, makes the best, most moist gingerbread ever.


    Butter and flour for baking pan
    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons powdered ginger
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    ½ teaspoon ground cloves
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar
    2 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup molasses
    ¾ cup stout, at room temperature
    confectioner’s sugar, for decoration

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour 9” x 13” cake pan, or 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift together dry ingredients. Using hand mixer on high speed, beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in molasses (mixture may look curdled at this point). Using medium speed of mixer, beat in flour, in portions. Finally, beat in stout.

    Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth out top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean—approximately 35-40 minutes for 9” x 13” pan, or 50-60 minutes for Bundt pan. Cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then unmold onto rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar when cake is cool.

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