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Laurie Wolf's Recipes: Fall Desserts

I love baking in the fall.

You could chalk it up to a combination of factors: the chilly weather, more time getting cozy indoors and the promise of the here-before-you-know-it holiday season. However, the attraction to cook — and especially to bake — is driven largely by the array of superb fruits and vegetables available this time of year. Pears and apples, squash and greens … and now, thanks to Portland’s own Diane Morgan and her cookbook Roots, a long list of new recipes to try!

When the oven goes on, and the house begins to smell of clove and vanilla, of brown sugar caramelizing and nuts roasting, I am ready to say goodbye to summer and embrace the comfort of yummy puddings and crisps, and the joy of being home.

Acorn Squash Pudding Cups

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 2 cups puréed acorn squash*
  • 1 14-ounce can of condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut chips or shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray small baking cups and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the squash, condensed milk, eggs, maple syrup and clove. Beat until smooth.
  3. Top each serving with the walnuts, coconut and the orange rind.
  4. Bake until set, about 25 to 30 minutes.

* To make puréed acorn squash, first bake the squash, halved with cut side down, on baking sheet till tender, for 40-50 minutes. Then peel and purée in food processor.

Ricotta Torte With Chocolate Swirl

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Serves 8-10)

  • 18 gingersnaps, crushed
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6-8 tablespoons honey, taste for sweetness
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons melted dark chocolate


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with baking spray and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the gingersnaps, brown sugar, flour, salt and butter. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan and into the corners. It need not go up the sides. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta, cream cheese, egg whites, honey, ginger, vanilla and almond extract. Beat until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the melted chocolate on the top of the mixture by heaping teaspoons. Swirl the chocolate around the filling with a spoon.
  6. Bake until set, 35-40 minutes.


Pear And Hazelnut Crisp

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Serves 8)

Pear mixture

  • 4 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, tossed with ⅓ cup orange juice and left in liquid for one hour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom


  • 1½ cups quick-cooking oatmeal
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pears, apples, cherries with soaking liquid, sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamom. Toss well to evenly distribute ingredients. Place the pear mixture into the prepared pie plate.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal, sugar, flour, butter, hazelnuts, cinnamon and salt. Mix with your fingers until the mixture is the texture of very coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over the pears.
  5. Bake until the juices are bubbling and the pears and apples are tender, 45-55 minutes.
desserts torte pudding crisp Laurie Wolf

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