Thanksgiving and the question of dessert

Terrain at Styers, October 2013
With Thanksgiving just a few days away I'm having a bit of a tough time trying to contain my excitement.  For one, Thanksgiving might possibly be my favorite holiday - if not my favorite it's certainly tied with Christmas.  But secondly, it's our first Thanksgiving as newly weds! Hooray!  And I have two days off!  Double Hooray!

This year we are spending Thanksgiving day at my sister-in-laws so that they can christen their new home with a good ol'Thanksgiving feast.  Friday we'll be traveling out to central Pennsylvania to partake in another feast that Saturday.  It's looking to be a promising holiday, for sure.

As usual, I'm bring desserts to both dinners.  No complaints here!  For the past few weeks I've been tossing dessert ideas around in my head and am having, admittedly, an embarrassingly hard time deciding on what to make!  I really just can't make up my mind.  I'm determined to make a cheesecake.  I've never made a cheesecake before- most likely because I never had a proper spring form pan.  Now that I have one in my baking arsenal I think it's time to put it to good use.  Originally I wanted to make  a pumpkin cheesecake.  Then I decided on a pumpkin chai cheesecake or one subtly flavored with cardamom.  But alas, after endless pinning, I just couldn't settle on a recipe.  I continued my search for a pumpkin cheesecake only to abandon the idea because there will probably be 101 other pumpkin treats that day.  Instead, I'll be make this incredibly decadent orange cranberry cheesecake with dark chocolate crust.  Who cares if we are all stuffed and the thought of a slice of cheesecake will send us all over the edge?  A sliver won't hurt anyone and I'm sure it will be even better in the days to follow.  I was asked to bring a second one to my sister-in-laws so in addition to the cheesecake I plan on making this brown butter tart with pears instead of apples and a dash of cardamom for good measure.  I'm drooling on my keyboard as I type this.

My mom requested a pumpkin pie for her dinner so I'll be jumping on the creme brûléed pumpkin pie bandwagon of Thanksgiving 2013 with gusto.  I'll make a simple pie, hopefully with a gingersnap crust, inspired by these delicious little confections.  And with that, I think I'm ready to go!  Now, to get through the next three days of work.

In other news, have any of you watched the movie What Maisie Knew?  I saw it last week and can't stop thinking about it.  I highly recommend it if you find yourself with a good lazy day on the couch kind of day this holiday weekend.  Let me know what you think if you watch it.  Are you cooking or baking this holiday?  If so I'd love to hear what you are making!