Shereen Pavlides shares her incredibly easy to master holiday baking ideas, interview

Shereen Pavlides shares some holiday baking tips and dessert recipes, photo credit Sue McDaid, provided by The Incredible Egg
Shereen Pavlides shares some holiday baking tips and dessert recipes, photo credit Sue McDaid, provided by The Incredible Egg /

As the celebrations begin to fill the calendar, home cooks are looking for holiday baking ideas that will excite their guests. With a little help from The Incredible Egg, Shereen Pavlides has some simple, easy to master baking techniques that will have everyone rising to the occasion.

Although many savory cooks can experiment with a sprinkling of seasoning here and a dash of ingredients there ,baking is more scientific. Whether it is mistaking a teaspoon for a tablespoon or swapping baking soda or baking powder, the details are vital to ensuring that the final product is executed properly.

Recently, Shereen Pavlides, aka Cooking with Shereen, partnered with The Incredible Egg to share some holiday baking ideas. While some people might be leaning towards buying versus baking this year, the reality is that people should not be afraid to step into the kitchen and get that stand mixer whirling.

Shereen Pavlides for The Incredible Egg
Shereen Pavlides shares some holiday baking tips and dessert recipes, photo credit Sue McDaid, provided by The Incredible Egg /

During a chat with FoodSided, Shereen shared some of her advice ahead of the holiday season. From proper oven temperature to a great recipe that will even impress the most finicky guest, it seems like the aromas from the kitchen will have everyone’s stomachs growling.

Cristine Struble/FoodSided: During the holidays, novice bakers often are willing to turn on that oven. What are some simple tips for the novice baker to focus on to become more successful?

Shereen Pavlides: “Purchase an in-internal thermometer, which can be found anywhere for like $5. A lot of our ovens need to be calibrated, mine does as well. It is really important because that can totally throw off your recipes.” With that knowledge bakers can tweak that recipe and become more successful with their recipes.

CS: Eggs are a staple in many baking recipes. Are all eggs created equal or do you need to be thoughtful with the size or other factors?

SP: Being careful with recipes includes understanding egg size. “As a recipe developer for over 15 years, standard across the board from what I’ve seen, it’s large eggs used in a recipe.” Choosing the wrong size will make a difference. “It’s funny, I always yell at my husband, ‘Stop buying these jumbo eggs!’ because for my recipes, it will totally alter the recipe.”

“Also, sometimes you need to remove the chill from the eggs depending on what it is you’re making. Let’s say you’re making a cheesecake. Well, now you have a softened cream cheese, and you add the cold, straight out of the refrigerator egg, it will congeal and tighten up that cream cheese, creating little bits and then your cream cheese isn’t silky smooth. So, there are little variables that if you pay attention to the recipe, will make a difference in your success when you’re baking.”

CS: Some people feel obligated to bring a dessert to holiday gatherings. Are there some easy to master desserts that make the novice baker appear like an expert?

SP: With baking, remember, “less is more.” Whether it is a cheesecake, pie, or something else, it is finding the better way of making that recipe. A few tweaks can show how baking is really easy.

More importantly, “even if there are a few little flaws to whatever baked good that you’re bringing, it still warms people’s hearts. There’s something about sweets that you can really win people over. It’s easy to travel with, they hold, you can prepare ahead.”

CS: What’s your favorite holiday dessert? Do you try new recipes every year or have a traditional option that you make year after year?

SP:” Every year I make two desserts. One dessert is mandatory; it’s been in the family forever, our pecan pie. The funny thing was when I was a teenager, I thought that the pecan pie is not pretty, it’s brown. My family would only make it Thanksgiving and Christmas and made a big fuss over it, but I would never even touch it. Then one day, I was like, ‘Let me just taste this.’ I ate the whole pie.”

“Now I get it. It’s okay that it’s brown, but I make it a little fancy because I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh, it’s a brown pie, it’s not that pretty. I’m not going to eat it.’”

“The other dessert is my Salted Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake.” Shereen Pavlides graciously shared that recipe.

Salted Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Salted Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake. photo by Shereen Pavlides, provided by the Incredible Egg /

Salted Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake



  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3, 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup freshly roasted puréed pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup caramel syrup
  • Coarse sea salt for topping


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • In a large bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter until well combined.
  • Lightly spray a 9-inch non-stick springform pan with cooking spray and add the graham cracker mixture, pressing evenly and firmly with a drinking glass onto the bottom and ½ inch up the sides. Bake until the crust is lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool.
  • Decrease the oven temperature to 225°F and open the door to help drop the internal temperature for a few minutes. Check the temperature read with an oven thermometer; once 225°F is reached, close the door. This is a very important step to ensure the oven is at the proper temperature, so the cheesecake doesn’t crack!
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese, the drained pumpkin purée, sugar, sour cream, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves until smooth.
  • Add the eggs one at a time into the mixer and beat until blended.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust and bake until set with a slight wiggle in the center, approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and open the door to vent, leaving the cheesecake inside for 15 minutes. This step prepares the cheesecake for room temperature, so it doesn’t crack!
  • Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to fully cool at room temperature, for about 2 hours.
  • Cover the springform pan with a clean kitchen towel but be sure it is not touching the cake. Tightly tuck the towel under the pan and refrigerate until completely set, 6 hours to overnight. The towel will collect any condensation that forms from the cake. Don’t add plastic wrap to cover, it will drip the water droplets onto the cake, making it soggy.
  • When ready to serve, remove the springform pan sides, top the cake with the chopped toasted pecans and slice into ten wedges.
  • Place the caramel in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until pliable and slightly warm but not hot, 10 to 15 seconds. Drizzle some caramel over the pecans and lightly sprinkle with sea salt before serving.

With a few holiday baking ideas from Shereen Pavlides, the dessert course will be full of delicious bites. Isn’t that the most incredible thought for the season?

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