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Stuffing and Dessert

November 24, 2009

Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream
Artichoke Stuffing

By that title I don’t mean stuffing yourself with dessert, although that is a very possible outcome on Thursday. On Thanksgiving, desserts have never been my favorite part of the meal. I’m not a huge pie girl and if I did have to pick a favorite pie, it wouldn’t be pumpkin. I do, however, love whipped cream. It seems that every time I dish myself up a dessert that is topped (lavishly) with whipped cream, someone feels compelled to quip, “Hey! Why don’t you have a little dessert with that whipped cream?” But I don’t care. Whipped cream is worth the ridicule. I especially like homemade whipped cream, although I have to admit I have a container of Cool Whip in my freezer right now that I’ll be using for Thanksgiving. Why won’t I be making homemade? Well…

Yesterday I made an experimental batch of Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream and it was so good I ate about 3 cups worth. With a spoon, right out of the mixing bowl, straight-up whipped cream. I whole-heartedly recommend the recipe, I just won’t be making it again for Thanksgiving because, well, I ate three cups of it yesterday. It’s a shame I’m not making the Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream again on Thursday, because The Husband didn’t even get to try one little taste. It’s also a shame because it would pair especially well with pie. The addition of a little creme fraiche takes just a tiny bit of the sweetness out of whipped cream and replaces it with a brisk, tangy finish. Instead of adding more sweetness to a slice of pie, this whipped cream cuts through it and lightens up the dessert. Creme fraiche has been showing up a lot recently on dessert menus…in whipped cream, in panna cotta, even in ice-cream, and I’ve been enjoying the trend.

One of my second favorite Thanksgiving foods is stuffing. I like a traditional stuffing – bread, celery, onions, maybe mushrooms – and I also like a stuffing that has a little bit more going on. This recipe for Artichoke Stuffing was inspired by a recipe in Sunset Magazine last year. Sunset had a fantastic Thanksgiving issue last year, filled with their reader’s favorite recipes from the past 25 years. It’s an issue I have slid onto the shelf with my cookbooks and will forever be indebted to, as it walked me through the first Thanksgiving turkey I ever cooked. Can you believe it? I was 33 years old and a culinary school graduate and I had never cooked a turkey. But back to the stuffing…this recipe for Artichoke Stuffing is the perfect side, especially if there will be vegetarians at the table. It’s really easy  and can even be made the day before and re-warmed in the oven for the big meal.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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