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Every Thanksgiving the scene is the same in almost every American household.  The ritual of the “Turkey”, the centerpiece of the day; how to cook it, how to baste it and how to stuff it.  That being said, stuffing I have come to realize is as sacred as your Nonna’s spaghetti sauce. Every family has their favorite.  Charlie and I grew up with different stuffing recipes, but over the years we have managed to adapt one that we all agree on, and our children always ask for. 

So, when I thought about Thanksgiving, I decided I would stay away from mentioning how we sometimes cover the bird in pancetta or how we make the stuffing. At the moment, I am still pondering on what pasta to serve before the turkey and the various accompaniments. There will be pasta.  Always has been and always will be! Instead, I decided to discuss something delicious to serve along with the pies, because here in our house one dessert and sometimes even two is not enough.

Oh yes, those pies, apple, pumpkin, custard!  The list goes on and on.  Can’t have too many in this household. But this Pumpkin Cake Roll is a must.  I usually have to make two.

Before I discuss the dessert recipe let me share with you what I do with any leftovers from the turkey meal.  Usually there is nothing or almost nothing left because the family comes back on the Friday after and we lay out a buffet of leftovers, from pasta to dessert.  This has become a tradition.

However, should there be a few morsels left over this is what I have done for many years, and it is still a favorite.

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a large baking dish. My family just calls this,                                             

Leftover Turkey Day Casserole!

5 cups turkey meat, shredded, 2 cups stuffing, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup slivered almonds, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, undiluted, 1 cup mayo mixed with 3 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, ½ cup shredded cheese, ½ cup grated cheese, mix in a little left-over gravy.  Place all in a greased baking dish.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 35-45 minutes. Bake til bubbly.  Set out and pass some heated gravy.  I make a potato type stuffing so if there is any left over I had that in too.  

Now on to dessert!


(A Thanksgiving Day Dessert Must)

3 Eggs – Large

1 Cup Sugar

2/3 Cup Canned Pumpkin

1 tsp Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed

¾ Cup Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 tsp Cinnamon

½ tsp Salt

¾ tsp Nutmeg

Powdered Sugar

Beat eggs at high speed for about 5 minutes while gradually adding the sugar. Stir in the pumpkin and fresh lemon juice. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and fold into the pumpkin mixture. Spread in greased and floured sheet pan, app 15” X 10” X 1”. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Turn out immediately onto a kitchen towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll towel and cake together, from the short end, and allow to cool. Carefully and slowly so it does not crack, unroll and fill. 


1 Cup Powdered Sugar

8 Oz Cream Cheese or 12 Oz Mascarpone*

1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

4 Tbs Butter – softened 

1 tsp Vanilla

Combine all ingredients except the nuts and beat until smooth. Spread the cheese mixture on the cake roll and sprinkle evenly with the chopped nuts. Re-roll and put on platter, seam side down, and sprinkle with more powdered sugar. 

Note: For a richer filling use 12 Oz Mascarpone cheese and mix with 1 ¼ Cups sifted powdered sugar, 2 Tbs heavy cream, 1 pinch of salt, ½ Cup chopped nuts and 1 ½ tsp vanilla. Combine as above and spread on cake. 




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