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Gaspar and I once again hosted a Thanksgiving feast to share the best of our culture with our friends here in Buenos Aires. This time around, planning was a breeze. Amazing what a difference language skills and a bit of experience can make. Having nailed the acrobatics involved in cooking for 15 people with one tiny stove last year, I had all the “make-ahead” recipes lined up. And after frantically scouring the city last year for Thanksgiving staples like pumpkin, turkey and pecans that don’t seem to be embraced in Argentine cuisine, I knew where to find what I needed. A quick rundown for any newcomers: small frozen turkeys (pavitos) can be found at Jumbo, pecans (nueces – yes, I know that just translates to “nuts” but I don’t make the rules) at Mercado de San Telmo or Barrio Chino, sweet potatoes (batatas) are everywhere, the best brown sugar substitute is azucar negra, and things like cranberries, marshmallows and canned pumpkin do not exist here so “import” them if you can.

I’d had big plans for featuring all the various dishes and recipes I used, but as I should have known, by the time everything was ready and guests were arriving, the last thing on my mind was taking photos. But trust me, if you’re ever looking for a super tasty mashed potato recipe that can be made ahead, this is the one. And this sweet potato casserole got non-stop rave reviews from everyone. I use evaporated milk instead of regular, double the vanilla, and triple the amount of the pecan topping. I love me some crispy pecan topping, what can I say?

At least I got some good pics of the pumpkin roll. I use the recipe from Libby’s without much modification. Pumpkin rolls can take some practice, and are rarely “perfect” but the taste is what counts, right? My advice would be: 1.)  do not overmix when adding the flour. 2.) Make sure you spread the batter as evenly as possible in the pan. 3.) Thoroughly cover your tea towel with powdered sugar (there’s no such thing as too much, really) and 4.) When spreading the cream cheese filling onto the cake, go heaviest on the end that will be the center of the roll and make sure you’re not skimping on the edges.

If you live in Buenos Aires, good news! Pumpkin rolls are now available for special order. Just contact me here.


For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

For the filling:

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (for decoration)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

For filling, beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. You can also freeze the pumpkin roll if making in advance. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Photo credit for this one goes to one of my favorite dinner guests, Marina Coser