Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thanksgiving Garnishes for Desserts. Holiday Flair is in the Air!

How many desserts do you have at Thanksgiving??

Two Pies?? Any Cakes? Cookies??

I think we have every dessert represented  in the dessert food pyramid...

 ... Everyone has a different favorite and so we have an abundance of dessert.

A cornucopia of desserts to be exact!

..And to make each dessert special...I garnish them...with a little holiday flair!
I was gifted with a little timely inspiration recently... Good old inspiration doesn't always hang around... but when it shows up ...I try to take copious that I can remember what super-great, really fantastic idea I had... 

Inspiration is there one moment, and gone the next... 

Which is precisely why there are black sharpie scribbles all over the back of my Land's End magazine... I had some inspirational ideas about pie crust while watching TV two nights ago...  

I know-- pie crust... ??  Really??  It couldn't be solar energy inspiration or world peace inspiration...

Nope... my inspiration was all about pie crust.  It might lead to other things... you never know...


Here is my inspiration in pie crust form...
Disclaimer: I am not a food stylist.  Kudos to food stylists around the world, for making food look flawless, appetizing and delicious in magazines and on menus everywhere!  
It is really hard to find a pumpkin pie's best side and the best angle to photograph pie dough...let me tell you...

And the crumbs that can fall off miniature pecans, that are made to look like little acorns... millions... millions and millions...of crumbs... (acorns are pictured below)

Full Disclosure: the pumpkin pie in these photographs is store-bought... I needed a model to shoot my pie inspiration...but didn't have the time to make one from scratch.  So --this just shows what a great addition homemade pie crust cut-outs can be --especially when it comes to fancying up store bought baked goods!!
I love a pie crust cutter.  My pie crust cutters are from Williams-Sonoma.  Retired and older versions are usually available on e-bay if you are not close by a William Sonoma shop.  I use this set of leaf cutters the most.

The cutters come in great shapes, and the plunger, pushes down to create detail in each cut-out.



I love monograms... I love them on the cuff of my husband's dress shirts, I love them on stationery, on rain boots and on shoes.

Who doesn't love a well placed monogram??

--I have not met a monogram that I did not least not yet.
...and now, I have found a way to monogram pie!!
I know... You might think "P" is for pumpkin pie, which would be correct... but it's also for Perry...
And "A" is for apple... but in this case it was for Art, my co-instructor the other night at Blue Ribbon Baking.
I picked up a set of alphabet cookie cutters from a cake and candy store.  You can also just purchase only the letters you need...rather than the entire alphabet.  
What a sweet way to welcome guests to a slice of dessert!
Spoiler Alert: I am making monograms for each of our Thanksgiving guest this year.
When our guests  receive their slice of will be fitted with a cinnamon-sugared pastry dough of their first initial!
 I love it!
Roll out pie dough,  Recipe and Photo Tutorial is here: PIE CRUST 101  Cut out shapes, Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Lightly spray with cooking oil (Pam) and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 375 degree oven, until lightly golden and crisp.  Use foil to create dimensional shapes, by laying the pie dough leaves across the foil.  (See above photo)  Cinnamon and sugar pie crust leaves are a great way to finish the pie edges, and added to whipped cream as a garnish.
Thank-you inspiration!!


These cute-as-can-be pecan acorns are inspired by a local chef, Amy Tobin.  She shares how to make them on her web page and a recipe for a pumpkin pie with bourbon whipped cream -- something we always do here at our house around the holidays... yum--bourbon whipped cream!
TIP: Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes.  Let cool.  Use melted chocolate chips to "glue" pecans together.  I used finely chopped salted cocktail peanuts for the acorn caps --and I mean really finely chopped...almost like peanut get the look I wanted.  Then, just dip the top only of the set "acorns" into a little melted chocolate and then roll in the finely chopped peanuts... Hello acorns!!  Hello holiday cuteness!!
I LOVE bourbon whipped cream, it goes especially well with a slice of pecan pie, my all-time favorite dessert.


Not to be out-done with the monograms and the acorns... How about these chocolate turkeys!

These can be made ahead.  Just gently lay the turkey on the whipped cream... Too cute!
I have a post about making these from the other day:
A handy print out of turkeys is available in the Chocolate Turkey Post (link above)...for all of your chocolate turkey making needs! 


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