Thanksgiving pastry ideas from Chef Kelli

- For some people, the turkey is the main attraction at Thanksgiving, and for others -- it's the desserts. Pumpkin pie has its reuptation as the Thanksgiving dessert staple, but Chef Kelli Lewton joined us in the FOX 2 Cooking School to give us some ideas for breaking your dessert menu out of the mold.

You can get her recipes below. Chef Kelli is from 2 Unique Caterers & Event Planners and Purefood2U.


  • 1~ 9inch baked pumpkin pie (filling removed, save the crust)
  • 1~ 8 ounce block of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups graham cracker crumbs


  1. Scoop out pumpkin pie filling and place in a standard kitchen aid mixer.
  2. Add room temperature 8 ounce block of cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Mix until just combined
  4. In food processor, grind the pie crust into crumbs and fold in the pie mixture.
  5. Using a small bowl, line the inside with plastic wrap.  Add in the pumpkin cheesecake filling and cover.  Freeze for 2 hours.
  6. Carefully remove plastic wrap from the pumpkin cheesecake and roll in graham cracker crumbs.  Arrange on a nice platter with gingersnap cookies for spreading. ( or your favorite cookie combination)
  7. Feel free to add other favorites to your mix; heath, chocolate chips, brownies scrapes and such


  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup luke warm water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of a small orange (optional)


  1. To make the cake cream butter, sugar, and molasses in kitchen aide mixer.
  2. Scrape bowl and slowly add in eggs.
  3. Dissolve baking soda and luke warm water in a small bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, and spices
  5. With mixer running on low speed, alternately add in sifted dry ingredients with the baking soda/water.
  6. Spray 12 small mason jars, and fill 1/3 full of gingerbread cake.  Bake 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven (300 degrees for convection oven)

Cream Cheese Icing

  1. Place unsalted butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in kitchen aide mixer and whip until well combined.
  2. On low speed, add in vanilla and orange zest.

Makes 12 Puffs
Apple Filling:

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups of chopped apples (2-3 large Granny Smith or Honey Crisp Apples)
  • Zest of 1 orange and juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup of ground toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 2 Sheets of puff pastry (thawed)

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • Coarse Sugar (for sprinkling)


  1. Melt butter and sugar.  Add in chopped apples and spices until caramelized.
  2. Add in flour, orange juice, dried cranberries, and walnuts
  3. Cool for 1 hour
  4. Using a 4 inch round cutter, cut out 12 circles from puff pastry sheets.  Place circles on parchment lined sheet pan.
  5. Place a heaping tablespoon of the apple cranberry filling in center of puff pastry circle.
  6. Pinch edges to seal dough over the apple filling (like a purse)
  7. Egg wash the puff pastry and sprinkle coarse sugar on top
  8. Bake 425 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Serve with Caramel, Ice cream, or shredded sharp cheddar cheese
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