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Thanksgiving Recipes: Desserts

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Don’t forget to save room for dessert! It’s the part of the meal most of us look forward too with great anticipation. Pies, cakes and candies fill the table. We have added some delightful recipes to make the end a little sweeter.

Maple Pumpkin Pie | Originally published in It’s O.K. to Buy a Crust — Really, By Suzanne Hamlin, November 19, 1997

Total bake time: 1 hour | Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 1-pound can unsweetened pumpkin puree or 1 lb roasted fresh pumpkin pureed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Cognac or brandy
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 9-inch metal pie tin lined with pastry


  • Pre-heat oven to 425°
  • In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin and maple syrup. Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and Cognac or brandy, mixing well. In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs and stir in the cream. Mix the egg and cream mixture with the pumpkin.
  • Prick the pie crust all over the bottom with the tines of a fork. Pour the filling into the crust, put the pie tin on a flat baking sheet and bake on the lower level of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350° and continue to bake for 30 to 40 more minutes, until filling has set. Remove to a rack, and cool to warm or room temperature. Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche, vanilla, caramel or rum raisin ice cream.

For those that want to make their own crust…

Flaky Crust


  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup leaf lard, frozen then cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 Tbsp. (or more) ice water
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add lard and butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Mix 6 Tbsp. ice water and vinegar in small bowl; pour over flour mixture. Stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten each into a disk. Wrap each in plastic and chill 30 minutes.

You can make this dough up to 2 days in advance and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.


Cranberry Apple PieThe Washington Post, Food Section, 1996

This pie combines the flavors of two very traditional Thanksgiving pies and makes the most of fruit harvested this time of year.

Prep time: 20 minutes | Baking time: 35 minutes


  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pound of cooking apples, such as Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, McIntosh, or Winesap, pared, cored, and cubed
  • Pastry for 9″ double crust pie


  • In medium saucepan, combine cranberries and apple juice
  • Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 3 minutes of until skins on cranberries begin to pop
  • Stir cornstarch into sugar, then stir into cranberries; cook about 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and thickens
  • Remove from heat and stir in apples
  • Heat oven to 375°
  • Line a 9″ pie dish with half the pastry, trimming to about 1″ beyond edge of pie dish
  • Spoon filling into pie crust

Decorating the pie:

  • Roll remaining pastry into 1″ circle
  • For lattice top, cut top pastry into 11 strips; lay 5 strips evenly spaced across pie; lay remaining 6 strips so that they overlap bottom strips at an angle to form a diamond pattern
  • Lightly press strips into edge of pie crust; trim strips even with edge of pie dish
  • Fold lower crust over strips, then flute edges
  • Brush pastry with water and sprinkle lightly with additional sugar
  • Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown
  • Serve warm, with ice cream of lightly whipped cream if desired!


Pear Sorbet with Ginger Spice Crumble | Adapted from Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park

Serves 4


  • 6 cups pears, peeled, cored, sliced-keep in water with lemon juice while cutting
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. citric acid
  • 3 Tbsp. creme fraiche
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


Cook pears, sugar and citric acid in saucepan over high heat until pears are soft. Don’t let them burn. Place in a blender and blend until smooth: strain into another pot. Add the creme fraiche, juice and salt and chill for 1 hour until cold. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturers direction. Place in airtight container and freeze.

Ginger Spice Crumble


  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


Heat oven to 325°. Pulse all ingredients in a processor until dough comes together into pebble-sized clumps. Scatter in a single layer on baking sheet line with parchment paper or non-stick baking pad. Bake until dry and golden 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Serve on top of Pear Sorbet.


Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Flan | Recipe by Debra Moser, Central Farm Markets


  • 1.5 – 2 lbs pounds un-peeled whole red skinned sweet potatoes
  • 2-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. grated orange peel


Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until they are fork tender, about 35 minutes. Drain well and cool for 20 minutes. Peel the potatoes in a medium bowl, and mash until smooth. Set aside. Pre-heat oven to 325°.  Stir 2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves completely. Bring to a boil without stirring until syrup turns deep caramel color, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pot with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, for about 10 minutes.

Working quickly, divide caramel among 12 3/4-cup custard cups or souffle dishes, tilting cups to cover bottom with caramel. Cool.

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large bowl to blend well. Combine cream and orange peel in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.  In a stream, whisk cream into potato-egg mixture. Strain mixture into a bowl and discard the remaining solids. Divide mixture among prepared custard cups custard cups.

Place the cups in 2 large baking pans. Add enough hot water to baking pans to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake flans until sides are set but center still moves slightly when cups are shaken. Remove cups from water and cool to room temperature.

This recipe can be made 3 days ahead – keep refrigerated and covered. Bring to room temperature before serving. Run small sharp knife around edges to loosen. Turn flans out onto plates and serve.

If you prefer you can make this in a large batch in a pretty baking dish and served buffet style.

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