Home For The Holidays Series Part Four: Holiday Desserts

Desserts… Oh Happy Thanksgiving Day!  Holiday dinners and holiday desserts make a delicious combination.  I stay true to tradition at Thanksgiving with the meal and dessert offerings.  A house full of family and friends gathered on a day centered around thankfulness and fullness is not the best time to experiment with new dishes, or at least it isn’t for me. I save that stress for Christmas!  If you can make things easier by purchasing ready made items that pass the taste test and your approval, I highly suggest doing so.  I make a mean pumpkin and sweet potato pie, but the local market puts mine to shame.  When I say good I mean fabulous!  Dave the Builder, the official pie wrangler, handles that department.  With my apron on and my utensils in hand I handle the homemade desserts.

No Crust Coconut Pie


4  eggs
1 3⁄4  cups sugar
½  cup flour
¼  cup margarine, melted
2  cups milk
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1  teaspoon vanilla


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 10-inch pie pan; set aside.

Combine ingredients in order given; mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Middle of pie will appear rather soft.  Properly done, the pie will have a delicate crust over the top.

Paula Deen

Paula Deen’s Southwest Georgia Pound Cake recipe is quite frankly the best pound cake I have ever baked.  My family loves a good pound cake, and they are not afraid to request one quite often.  Can you guess what I was doing last night at nine o’clock?  I was baking a Paula Deen Southwest Georgia Pound Cake.

Southwest Georgia Pound Cake


2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
6  eggs
3 cups sugar
2  sticks butter, softened


Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Do not preheat oven.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.


Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Begin by adding ¼ of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Next, add 1/3 of the heavy cream into butter-sugar mixture. Repeat steps and end with flour.  Stir in flavoring by hand.  Pour batter into greased and floured pan.

Place in a cold oven, set oven temperature at 325, and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes without opening oven door.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes if necessary(it was for my pound cake).  Remove from oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes before plating.

When our son is home from university for the holidays I prepare his all time favorite dessert, Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits.


Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits


1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 ¼ tsp)

¼ cup cold water

1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 ¼ cups chilled heavy cream, divided or whipped topping

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

20 gingersnap cookies, coarsely crushed

8 clear glasses or champagne flutes


Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small saucepan and let soften 1 minute. Bring to a bare simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved. Whisk together gelatin mixture, pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl. If using heavy cream for topping, beat cream with vanilla until it holds soft peaks.  Gently fold 1 cup  into pumpkin mixture.  Spoon ¼ cup pumpkin mixture into bottom of each glass. Lightly layer with cookies and top with whipped cream.  Repeat layers once, ending with cream. Chill at least 2 hours.

Speaking of favorites!  I have had more request for my Old Fashioned Apple Nut Cake recipe lately and am happy to list it again.  You can find more detailed prep pictures by clicking on the link.


Old Fashioned Apple Nut Cake


1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup applesauce

3 cups fresh apples, peeled and sliced


½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

¼ cup butter or margarine

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup chopped pecans


Peel and slice apples.  Add brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon,  ground cloves  and lemon juice to apples coating well; set aside.  Mix together sugar and oil.  Add eggs; beat until creamy.  Add vanilla.  Combine salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour together.  Add dry ingredients in small amounts to sugar and oil mixture.  Next, add apples, apple sauce, and chopped pecans and mix by hand.   Bake in greased and floured Bundt pan in 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For the icing: In a medium saucepan bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly.  Boil for one minute continuing to stir or whisk constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and stir or whisk until smooth and continue until it begins to thicken slightly.  Immediately drizzle over cooled cake. Top with pecans.



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