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Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

Celebrate autumn with bountiful desserts that showcase seasonal items like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, pears, raisins, pecans, almonds and other nuts. There are plenty of ideas to choose from - ranging from pies and cakes to trifles and ice cream creations - in the collection here. Easy and fool-proof, they are designed to make fall and holiday dessert preparation a breeze. Clip and save to use now, for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Give thanks for the harvest season with individual-serving-size cheesecakes with a cranberry-orange topping. And for something a bit offbeat with pumpkin, try a trifle. The version here is layered with pound cake slices (use yellow or even try chocolate) and a spiced pumpkin mixture, then topped with a whipped cream combination zipped up with pumpkin pie spice. Toffee-covered nuts or nut brittle jazz up the top. A fun idea with mini pumpkins: Cook the pumpkins in the microwave until tender, then scoop out the insides and cool the shells. Fill with scoops of commercial pumpkin (or another flavor) ice cream. Drizzle the top and plate with warmed caramel sauce from a jar, spiked with a few tablespoons of bourbon or rum, if desired.

If chocolate is a must on the fall or Thanksgiving table, whip up an Almond Fudge Banana cake from scratch with unsweetened cocoa. Drizzle with a banana-enhanced chocolate glaze for a yummy ending.

In the pie realm, the options are many, including a pumpkin pie made with a sugar alternative for the calorie- and weight-conscious. A simple- to-prepare Chocolate Harvest Nut Pie boasts a chocolate filling that marries well with the crunchy texture of pecans, walnuts and almonds. If you're looking for a new take on apple pie, opt to flavor the filling with cinnamon chips, which were recently introduced by Hershey's Foods. Once baked, drizzle melted cinnamon chips atop the top crust for a festive finishing touch. Try the new chips in cakes, cookies and more.

Sweet potato pie is an oh-so-good Southern favorite. Although some recipes utilize sliced sweet potatoes, the one here relies on mashed. Finally, a refreshing layered Raspberry Topped Lemon Pie can be turned out fast with the help of sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and frozen raspberries.



1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon grated orange peel


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

6 tablespoons butter OR margarine, melted


3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

Line 24 muffin pans with foil baking cups; set aside.

For Sauce, combine cranberry sauce, orange juice, cornstarch and orange peel in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring, until mixture is clear and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Refrigerate until lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

For Crust, combine crumbs and butter; press about 1 tablespoon in bottom of each baking cup.

For Filling, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling over crumbs in each baking cup. Top with 1 teaspoon sauce mixture. Top with remaining filling.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 25 to 30 minutes or until firm. Cool 30 minutes. Top cheesecakes with remaining sauce. Refrigerate until chilled. Makes 24 individual cheesecakes.


2 1/4 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup packaged vanilla INSTANT pudding mix

3/4 cup evaporated milk

2 large eggs, room temperature

6 tablespoons butter OR margarine, softened

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except pie shell and beat at medium speed until well blended. Spread evenly in unbaked pie shell.

Bake in preheated 450-degree oven 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake 40 minutes longer or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into slices.

Garnish with whipped cream, raspberries and mint leaves, if desired. Makes 8 servings.


2 (4-serving size) packages vanilla INSTANT pudding and pie filling mix

4 cups cold milk

1 cup canned 100 percent pure pumpkin (puree)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 (10 3/4-ounce) frozen all-butter pound cake loaf, thawed

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup coarsely chopped toffee-covered nuts OR almond OR pecan brittle OR toasted pecans

In a large bowl, with a wire whisk, mix pudding, milk, pumpkin and 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice until thickened; set aside.

Cut cake crosswise into 16 slices. Line bottom of a 2 1/2- to 3-quart straight-sided glass bowl or souffle dish (about 8 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 1/2 inches deep) with 1/2 of cake slices, cutting to fit. Spoon 1/2 of pumpkin mixture over cake. Arrange remaining cake slices on top of pumpkin mixture, cutting to fit. Coarsely crumble any remaining cake and sprinkle on top of slices. Spoon remaining pumpkin mixture over cake. Cover and chill 4 hours or overnight.

Whip cream with powdered sugar, vanilla and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice until stiff peaks form. Spoon over top of trifle, spreading to edges. Chill until serving time. Just before serving, sprinkle with nuts. To serve, spoon trifle into individual bowls. Makes 10 servings.


4 extra-ripe, medium bananas

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup margarine, softened

3 eggs

3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur OR 1 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted and ground

1 (1-ounce) square semisweet chocolate, melted

Quarter bananas in blender or food processor container. Cover; blend until smooth (you should have 2 cups).

Beat sugar and margarine in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and liqueur. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and almonds in a medium bowl.

Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture alternately with 1 1/2 cups blended bananas, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch bundt pan.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix together remaining blended banana with melted chocolate in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over top and down sides of cake. Makes 16 servings.


3 egg yolks

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 (6-ounce) graham cracker pie crust

1 (10-ounce) package frozen red raspberries in syrup, thawed

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Whipped topping

With mixer, beat egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Stir in lemon juice. Pour into crust.

Bake in preheated 325-degree oven 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine raspberries and cornstarch; cook, stirring until mixture clears and thickens. Spoon on top of pie. Chill at least 4 hours. Top with whipped topping. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 1 pie.


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup light corn syrup

3 eggs

3 tablespoons butter OR margarine, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Whipped cream or topping (optional)

Stir together brown sugar, cocoa and salt. Add corn syrup, eggs, butter and vanilla; stir until well blended. Stir in pecans, walnuts and almonds. Pour into unbaked pie crust. To prevent overbrowning of crust, cover edges of pie with foil.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until puffed. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Cover; store leftover pie in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.


If time is especially short during this time of year, opt for simplicity and consider some of the following fast-fixin' dessert possibilities. Anything goes.

--Pair sliced fruits such as apples or pears with assorted cheeses (like Stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola or brie) and sweet crackers or shortbread cookies.

--A favorite quick offering that can't be beat is caramel sauced apple slices. Simple arrange the slices in a glass pie plate, top with jarred caramel sauce mixed with a little ground cinnamon and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high power until apples are fork-tender, about six to seven minutes. Serve topped with whipped cream or ice cream. Delicious!

--Orange segments are also good topped with caramel sauce, simply warmed.

--Mix a little mascarpone cheese with whipped cream and powdered sugar and use to accompany assorted fresh in-season fruits.

--Ready in a flash are pear slices mixed with a little sugar and cinnamon, then sauteed in hot butter a couple of minutes until cooked through. Garnish with whipped cream or ice cream.

--Pears are wonderful-tasting when simmered in red wine with a little sugar. Serve ``as is'' with a little of the wine mixture or drizzle with your favorite hot fudge sauce, if desired.

-- Combine fresh fall fruits with a medley of dried ones in a seasonal compote with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or other spices of your choice. Heat, if desired.

--One of my easy, tried-and-true offerings layers fresh fruits (raspberries are best, but strawberries work too) in individual-size round ovenproof baking or gratin dishes with a couple of tablespoons each of sour cream and brown sugar on top. Broil six inches from the heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until most of brown sugar is melted, watching carefully. Serve immediately for a fabulous finale.

--Make fresh fruit skewers with cut-up seasonal fruits, then top with warmed hot fudge sauce or pass the sauce for dipping. Or serve cut-up fresh fruits, cake cubes and cookies with warm chocolate fondue or fudge sauce for dipping.

--Top brie cheese with apricot preserves and sprinkle with sliced almonds and heat in the oven until slightly runny. Serve with crackers for a wonderful ending. Makes a good appetizer too.

--Other good dessert offerings include assorted coffees, flavored or not, sparked with a variety of liqueurs or chocolates and whipped cream.

Keep these ideas handy to get you through autumn and the holidays in style.


10 photos, box


(1 -- 4 -- cover -- color) Clockwise from top left: Pumpkin Pie, Petite Pumpkin Patch, Easy Cinnamon Apple Pie and Almond Fudge Banana Cake.

(5 -- 7 -- color) When it comes to desserts for the fall table, there are numerous possibilities, including a sweet potato pie, left, Pumpkin Trifle, center, and Chocolate Harvest Nut Pie.

(8 -- color) For something that's a twist on the cheesecake theme, opt for individual-size Cranberry-Orange Ribbon Cheesecakes.

(9 -- color) no caption (Rasberry Topped Lemon Pie)

(10 -- color) Turn a scoop of your favorite ice cream into festive gobblers using cookies, decorated with prepared icings in tubes from the supermarket. Prepare the cookies in advance and assemble quickly just before serving.

Box: When Time is Short (see text)
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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Nov 8, 2000
Next Article:NEW & NOTEWORTHY.

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