Norman Rockwell may have placed a perfectly browned turkey on the center of the table for one of his iconic scenes, but we’re dialing it up for this menu. Instead of turkey we’ve included not one, but two, delicious meat choices. Classic roast beef rises to another level when crusted with horseradish and spicy mustard. Versatile pork loin feels fancy when butterflied, filled and rolled. Not to be upstaged, this menu features kicked-up side dishes that are easy to prepare but look spectacular. Invest a little extra time in the kitchen, then linger around the dining table a bit longer as well. If ever there’s a season for celebrating, this is it.
Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brownie Bottom
For the brownie layer:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar, sifted
- 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cups cocoa, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the cheesecake:
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
For the topping:
- ¼ cup pecan pieces
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- Additional whipped cream to serve
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9” springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
In a mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Switch to paddle attachment, add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 42-45 minutes. Check center with toothpick and when done, remove to a rack to cool. Be careful to not overbake the brownie layer.
For the filling: In microwave safe dish, stir gelatin into milk and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Heat and stir in 30-second increments in microwave until gelatin dissolves. Cover surface with plastic wrap and set aside to cool.
Beat cream cheese in bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cooled gelatin mixture and the sweetened condensed milk, along with the pumpkin pie spice.
Divide mixture in half, adding the pumpkin to one batch.
In separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to firm peaks. Gently fold half of whipped cream into each portion of the cream cheese mixture. Layer the plain cream cheese mixture onto the baked brownie layer. Set in freezer for 10 minutes for the layer to stiffen slightly. Carefully layer the pumpkin mixture over the other two layers and smooth the top. Chill in refrigerator 6 hours or overnight for cheesecake to set.
For the topping: Melt chocolate in 30-second increments on medium power in microwave. Check each time so the chocolate does not burn.
Stir in the pecan pieces so all are coated. Spread on waxed paper, sprinkle with sea salt and nutmeg. Allow to cool then coarsely chop.
To serve: Run a knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen. Remove edge of the pan, and the parchment from the bottom. Transfer the cheesecake to a pedestal cake plate. Sprinkle top with the chocolate covered pecans. Cut into wedges to serve and garnish each with a dollop of whipped cream.