Everyone knows that the star of Thanksgiving feasts is the Turkey, but if my family is anything like yours, our desserts give the turkey a run for its money. Today we have two desserts so delectable, your family will vote you the MVP of Thanksgiving when you bring these to the table.

Our first recipe was sent in by KU’s very own Chef McGuinness, from the Melbourne campus.

Butternut Squash Tart



1 1/4 cups ground gingersnap cookies

1 Tb. All Purpose flour

1 Tb. Brown sugar

3 Tb. Butter, melted

Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Combine all the ingredients and mix until the crumbs are moistened and have a sandy texture.  Press the mix into a 10 inch tart pan. Bake at 350˚ until lightly colored and set. Cool and reserve.

Whisky Marshmallow:

1 ½ Tb. Whiskey

2 ½ Tb. Water

4 sheets softened Gelatin leaves

Warm the water and Whiskey and then add the softened Gelatin to dissolve. Place the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whip attachment. Slowly whip until frothy and foaming. Slowly stream in the cooked syrup mixture and beat until the mixture cools and gets fluffy, about 8-10 minutes.

Cooked Syrup:

¾ cup sugar

½ cup corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 ½ Tb. Whiskey

Place all of the above in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil. Allow to cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240˚F).

Butternut Bavarois:

1 large butternut squash, roasted

2 sheets of gelatin

3 oz. sugar

1 vanilla bean

7 ounces heavy whipping cream

Soften the gelatin in water. Scoop the flesh from the squash and puree. Measure 11 oz. and add the sugar and softened gelatin to the warm squash to dissolve the gelatin. Allow the mix to cool to room temperature.

Split and scrape the vanilla bean adding the seeds to the cream. Whip the cream to soft peak and fold it into the Squash puree.


Pour the Bavarois mix into the cooled pie shell and then place in the fridge while you prepare the Marshmallow mix. Spoon or pipe the Marshmallow mix on top. Place the tart in the fridge for 3 hours to set before serving. Place any leftover Marshmallow mix in a pan dusted (heavily) with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar. Keep covered at room temperature.

Torch or broil the top of the tart to color it. Dip a knife into warm water, dry it and cut through the tart. Repeat the process for each slice.

Our next recipe comes from Zuleyka Llinas, a KU student in the Baking and Pastry program, and a Culinary grad.

Bread Pudding


5 cups challah, cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You will need an 8 x 2 inch loaf pan.


2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree (no spices added)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, cream, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt. Add the bread cubes and pecans and toss to coat, making sure all the bread cubes are coated with the custard.

Transfer the bread pudding to your pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center just comes out clean. Remove the bread pudding from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Thanks so much Chef McGuinness and Zuleyka Llinas! These look and sound absolutely, mouthwateringly good. For such a fancy sounding desserts, they surprisingly require very few ingredients; most of which you can find at home in your pantry! That’s the type of simplicity I need when making ample amounts of food for a special occasion. I can’t wait to try them!

 So, now that you have your main course dish and your desserts covered, what about the food that is left over at the end of the day? Stay tuned for tomorrows post, Food for Thanks: Leftovers Special. You’re going to want to see this!

 As always, feel free to email me with your comments, questions, concerns, and suggestions!

Your fellow KU student,