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Come Party With Me: Christmas Dinner — Menu (Desserts)

Follow up a decadent Christmas dinner with a spread of just as delectable desserts. Boxes of chocolates, candy canes, and truffles look gorgeous among a pair of stunning homemade treats. For the chocolate traditionalists, serve Emily Luchetti's variation of German chocolate cake. For the fruit lovers, offer a pear and cranberry crisp. To get these recipes, read more

New German Chocolate Cake
From Emily Luchetti

2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
Coconut Pecan Filling, recipe below
Chocolate Frosting, , recipe below

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position 2 racks in the middle and lower thirds. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment or wax paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake and all-purpose flours with the baking powder and salt. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small pitcher.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture resembles moist sand, about 3 minutes. Beat in the flour mixture at low speed in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture; stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating at medium speed between additions.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the layers are light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn each out onto a rack and peel off the paper. Invert onto another rack and let cool completely.
  6. Center a cake layer on a platter and spread one-third of the Coconut Pecan Filling over the top, leaving a 1/2 -inch border at the edge. Set a second cake layer on top of the first and spread another third of the filling on top. Cover with the third cake layer. Spread the top and side of the cake with the Chocolate Frosting. Spread the remaining Coconut Pecan Filling over the frosting on the top, leaving a 1-inch border.

Serves 12-16.

Make Ahead: the unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month.

Coconut Pecan Filling

1 2/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans (2 1/2 ounces)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate (4 ounces)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the coconut and pecans on separate baking sheets and bake for about 7 minutes, or until golden and fragrant; let cool.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated and dark brown sugars.
  3. Stir in the milk, cornstarch, salt and 1 cup of the coconut and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until pudding-like, about 6 minutes. Strain the custard, pressing hard on the coconut. Discard the coconut and let the custard cool. Stir in the vanilla and refrigerate until cold.
  4. Whip the cream until it holds firm peaks. Fold the cream into the custard, then fold in the chocolate, pecans and the remaining coconut.

Chocolate Frosting

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear around the edge; remove from the heat.
  2. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the butter until smooth. Let the frosting cool, then beat with a wooden spoon until slightly thickened.

Pear-Cranberry Crisp
From Cooking Light magazine

6 cups sliced peeled pear (about 3 pounds)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Cooking spray
3/4 cup regular oats
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. To prepare filling, place the pears in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss well to coat. Stir in cranberries and next 5 ingredients (cranberries through 1/8 teaspoon salt). Spoon pear mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  3. To prepare topping, combine oats and remaining ingredients, tossing until moist. Sprinkle topping in an even layer over pear mixture.
  4. Cover with foil; bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
  5. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until topping is golden and fruit mixture is bubbly.

Serves 8 (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

Nutritional Information: CALORIES 310(30% from fat); FAT 10.2g (sat 3.9g,mono 3.4g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 4.2g; CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 40mg; SODIUM 168mg; FIBER 4.8g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55.4g

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