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Satisfying Your Thanksgiving Sweet Tooth
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The best part of any Thanksgiving feast is the beginning and the end. The beginning because your stomach is full of anticipation for the impending journey to gluttony you’re about to embark on, and the end because no matter how full you are, there’s this magical space your body seems to save just for dessert.

So, before you fill up on Thanksgiving Day staples, check out these Texas-style desserts and let your body know that it’s not over until the sweet, sweet end.

Smokehouse Pecan Pie
A Texas classic that’s sure to please and a Meyer’s family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup dark Karo syrup
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cup pecan halves or pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons corn meal
  • 9-inch deep-dish pie shell, frozen

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl, except pecans. Mix well with whisk. Add pecans and mix lightly, pour into pie shell. Make sure pecans are spread evenly. Place pie pan on baking sheet to avoid spill. Place in oven on middle rack.
  3. Bake 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees.
  4. Bake an additional 33 minutes (since ovens bake differently, check at 30 minutes). Pie should not jiggle in the middle when done. Add time to baking if filling is still moving in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool for two hours before cutting.

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Same recipe as above: add 2 squares bakers unsweetened chocolate (1/4 bar) melted in microwave. Bake an additional 5 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potato Pie
A must for anyone living below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. dark-orange sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-large)
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheet with foil. Place sweet potatoes on cookie sheet. Roast 1 hour or until tender. Cut potatoes in half. Scoop out pulp into medium bowl; discard skins. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  2. Place pie crust in 9-inch deep-dish pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. Beat sweet potato pulp with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add remaining ingredients; beat 1 minute or until well blended. Pour filling into crust-lined plate.
  3. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack, about four hours. Store in refrigerator.

Texas Pecan Pie Bars
Portable pie, what’s not to love?

Ingredients
CRUST

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed golden-brown sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

FILLING

  • 8 large eggs
  • 6 cups firmly packed golden-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Directions

  1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 x 17-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter in a large bowl on medium speed about 1 minute.  Add the sugar and beat about 1 minute, until fluffy. Add the flour and salt; mix on low speed until evenly incorporated but still crumbly.  Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has darkened to a deep golden brown. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.
  2. To make the filling: Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until blended. Stir in the bourbon, butter, vanilla, flour and salt, then the coconut and pecans. Pour the filling over the crust, spreading evenly. Bake until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool thoroughly, at least 30 minutes, before cutting into 3-inch squares or diamonds.

Sopaipillas
Full of hot air, in a good way.
Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm (110 to 115 degrees) water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup dry nonfat milk whisked with 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water and yeast until the yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg, milk mixture, butter, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Put the dough (it will be runny) in a large oiled bowl, stir to coat, cover with a damp cloth, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, usually about 1 hour.
  2. Stir in the remaining 2 cups flour. Knead the dough in the bowl for about 1 minute, until soft. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down and use right away or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 4-inch triangles or squares.
  3. In a large, heavy sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 365 degrees on a candy thermometer. The oil is ready when a small piece of dough dropped into it sinks to the bottom, then rises to the top immediately. Fry the pieces of dough in batches, turning occasionally, just until they are puffy and golden brown. Using a wire skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with butter, honey, powdered sugar, cinnamon, or all of the above.

Peachy Key Lime Habanero Pie
A Texas twist on a time-honored classic

Ingredients

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup peach habanero jelly reduced

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, 1/3 jelly, Key lime juice, and zest.
  2. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.
  3. Chill completely 3 hours then top with remaining jelly.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Flan
Pumpkin pie’s more delicate and moist cousin.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place an empty 9-inch cake pan in the oven to warm it.
  2. Mix the milks, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a blender or food processor and set aside.
  3. Put sugar and water in a saucepan and cook until the sugar becomes an amber color (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Quickly remove the pan from the oven and pour the melted sugar into it, making sure that the sugar coats the bottom of the pan.
  5. Gently pour the liquid mixture over caramelized sugar.
  6. Place the filled cake pan in a water bath, a larger pan half full of water.
  7. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let flan cool completely.
  9. To serve, invert on serving plate with edges as the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.
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