The time is approaching to gather around the table with loved ones and feel blessed for all that is your life. Let’s also give thanks for this food — especially dessert. Thanksgiving is a week away, and besides giving thanks, this holiday is all about the meal. Turkey, stuffig, mashed potatoes and all the traditional fiings will populate a table of happy, warm faces. But before the tryptophan sets in, save a little room for dessert.
Thanksgiving desserts, traditional or with a twist, highlight fall flvors and fiish off the pinnacle of a classic American meal. Here is where you can get Thanksgiving desserts locally for your celebration, or just to enjoy during the last of the fall season.
Vienna apple strudel — Pavilion Restaurant, Northbrook
It’s time to loosen up that belt because Northbrook’s Pavilion Restaurant isn’t stopping at the main course. This Thanksgiving, the restaurant is unloading its newest dessert — the Vienna apple strudel — and shying away from its traditional pumpkin pie. The strudel packs a different punch customers are flcking to; it’s flky, wholesome and sweet all in one bite.
The strudel ($8) has freshly sliced apples that are cooked and mixed with raisins. The filing gets wrapped into a pastry, which is baked and topped with vanilla ice cream. This dessert is part of a new menu the restaurant is rolling out next month, said Pavilion’s Manager Amy Muzur. It will also be part of the restaurant’s Thanksgiving dinner and catering menus.
“I just can’t stop eating it,” Muzer said. “I’m not the only one. A lot of people love it. It’s just that homemade taste that makes it so good.” When I stopped in and tried the strudel for myself last week, it didn’t disappoint. The scoop of ice cream was already slightly melting on top of the warm strudel, so I quickly dug my fork in after it came out of the kitchen. It’s thick, flky crust, however, kept the strudel’s filing warm.
There were plenty of apple slices, but my favorite part were the raisins with their extra bit of unexpected flvor. The combination between the apples, raisins, crust and ice cream gave it that wholesome taste, keeping with turkey and potatoes. It was larger that I envisioned, though, so I think it would be a perfect dish to pass around the table. But I must admit, I did take every last bite. Pavilion Restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 27. The dinner is family style and costs $43 for adults and half price for children. Reservations are required at (847) 715-9440.
— Story by Editor Megan Maginity
Pumpkin butterscotch bread pudding — BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, Glenview
Dessert’s not always easy to take down after a delicious Thanksgiving feast, but one look the BRAVO! Cucina Italiana’s pumpkin butterscotch bread pudding will undoubtably create some room in your belly. The dish screams Thanksgiving, as the brioche bread is topped with the warming tastes and color of cinnamon, nutmeg, butterscotch chips, spicy pecans, caramel sauce and an anglaise cream sauce.
It’s all topped with BRAVO!’s homemade gelato, which adds a refreshing twist to the rich and delicious dessert. The substantial serving size looked challenging to take down at fist, but as forkful after forkful made their dents, the dessert remained just light enough for me to fiish and maintain the ability to stand up and walk away.
The bread pudding will be served at the Glenview restaurant through mid-Decemeber and is sold for $6.99 a slice. It’s also available on the catering menu, where its sold in a six-piece tray for $30. There’s no doubt the fall tastes and colors will leave you feeling festive as you cap off your holiday meal.
— Story by Contributing Editor Alex Mayster
Thanksgiving cake and pumpkin cheesecake — trueman’s, Winnetka
You’ve got the turkey, the cranberries and the sweet potatoes all taken care of. Although dessert is last it is certainly not least. A pumpkin pie cannot be sloughed off until the last minute. But if the main dish, drinks, sides and appetizers are too much for you to handle, let Winnetka’s Trueman’s Catering, 745 Elm St., take care of dessert for you.
Of course the catering company has the traditional pumpkin pie ($28) and apple pie ($26), but it also has two dessert options that are a twist on the traditional. Still using the typical flavors of the season, the pumpkin cheesecake ($6 per serving) and Thanksgiving cake ($5 per serving) are too alternatives for your Thanksgiving Day dessert. Both come as individual servings so you can order exactly as many as you need. The pumpkin cheesecake comes in a hearty round slice, garnished with a chocolate spear and toasted pumpkin seeds. Although appearing flffy on the outside, the filing is rich and dense for a bold statement at the end of your meal. The chocolate graham base also adds a good sweet taste and mix of texture.
The Thanksgiving cake also would offer a nice end to the meal, as it pairs well with coffee. The chocolate hazelnut sponge cake is layered with blood orange gelee and Valrhona Dulchey mousse, creating bursts of bitter sweet and tart sweet in the cake. The top also is glazed with the blood orange gelee, giving off a festive orange color, and sprinkled with chocolate crunch pearls and candied orange peels. Orders can be made through the website, www.TruemanCatering. com, or by calling (847) 386-6240 up until the end of the business day Monday, Nov. 24. Dessert pick up will be Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m.-noon.
— Story by Contributing Editor April Dahlquist
Pumpkin bar — An Apple A Day catering & Meg’s cafe, Glencoe
Once you’ve said your thanks and had your fil of turkey, it’ll be time for the most important course before snoozing your way through the Bears-Lions game. After the turkey, the gravy, the stuffig, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and so on, a little something sweet is exactly what you need to close a hefty meal. Thank fully, Thanksgiving offers a cornucopia of dessert options.
If you’re not quite ready to give up on peppering your palate with pumpkin, An Apple A Day Catering & Meg’s Cafe has just the thing for you. Its pumpkin bar ($3) has a hint of orange in it, with a sweetened cream cheese frosting, and it’s sprinkled with a little fresh cinnamon to give it some pop. For a garnish, the dessert also comes with a trio of raspberries — who said dessert isn’t healthy?
Barbara Lepman, owner of An Apple A Day Catering & Meg’s Cafe, said she loves pumpkin desserts around this time of year. If you’re like her, the pumpkin bar doesn’t disappoint. Flavorful yet not overwhelmingly sweet, not to mention well-portioned, it’s big enough to share with whoever you fid yourself sitting next to at the Thanksgiving table, but it’s also good enough to keep to yourself. For more information, visit www.anappleadaycatering.com or call (847) 835-2620.
— Story by Contributing Editor Fouad Egbaria