torn to tatters through torrid tasting.
“Hello?” you say.
“Pop quiz, hotshot” the voice on the other end intones. “It’s Thanksgiving and you need to make something for dinner at your parents’ tonight. They want you to bring a dessert and all you have in the pantry is some noodles and half a thing of paprika. What do you do?”
“What do you do?”
“WHAT DO YOU DO?”
I’ll probably just Google up something,” you mumble. “I don’t know. The sun hasn’t even risen yet…”
With that, the calls ends. You get the feeling that God or Dennis Hopper just tested you. Or perhaps strangers with your phone number are just anxious to see what’s on the menu this year. Either way, you’re through the looking glass at this point.
Last year my contribution to the feast was Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake; a vat of cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, and butter poured into an equally rich graham cracker crust and chilled overnight. Since the recipe yielded more filling than expected I ended up with two of the damn things. To calculate their caloric content is futile. Adding machines laugh at such futile attempts to quantify infinity.
This year I went a lighter route and just poured a pot of melted caramel and chocolate over some buttered pecans.
Caramel Pecan Torte
- 9" pie crust*
- 36 caramels, unwrapped
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 3-1/2 cups pecan halves
- 2 tsp. butter
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp. whipping cream
*The actual recipe speaks of creating your own crust from scratch. Always on the lookout to cut corners, I found it simpler to procure a 9” pie crust from the store.
First, combine the unwrapped caramels and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat until the mixture is smooth and melted together, stirring frequently. Once it’s the right consistency, remove from heat and add pecans, stirring to coat. With that accomplished, dump the mixture into the pie crust, using a spoon to gently pack it down.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring until smooth. Add the two tablespoons whipping cream and stir until blended. Pour this over the pecan filling already in the crust until completely covered. To finish it off, drizzle white frosting on top in the sigil of your favored god of the dark pantheon. Finally, throw the thing into the fridge to chill for at least an hour or until firm (I always just leave such concoctions to go overnight). The resultant confection went over well at dinner earlier today. That no one died clutching their chest in paroxysms of delight was a positive sign.
On a side note; nuts and heavy cream are highly valued commodities at this time of year. I counted myself lucky to scoop up one of the three remaining whipping cream cartons left at the store. This is on Monday, mind you. Such shopping patterns usually precede 1) the holidays and 2) encroaching Union forces looking to bivouac on your lawn. In the days leading up to similar occupations, all anyone can discuss is whose house will serve as Grant’s Headquarters/Drunken Rumpus Room.