Thanksgiving Desserts- Part 1

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | November 21st, 2011 | Desserts, Recipes

After eating a large and filling dinner, who has room for dessert?  On Thanksgiving, the answers seems to be, “Everyone!”

While the answer may be unanimous, the dessert of choice varies from person to person.  If you have a Thanksgiving similar to the ones I know, there are multiple dessert options on the table.  While the classic pumpkin pie is certain to adorn many a dessert buffet, this could be the year to try pumpkin in a different format, or you could keep the pie but add a new dessert to the selection.

Today we are featuring two desserts that highlight pumpkin, a soufflé and a crème brûlée.  Come back tomorrow for two more delicious dessert recipes.


Spiced Pumpkin Soufflés

Serves 4
Chef Aaron Lindgren of Benny’s Chop House


  1. 4 Tb. butter, plus 6 Tb. of butter for ramekins
  2. ½ cup plus 3 Tb. sugar for ramekins
  3. ½ cup spiced rum
  4. ½ cup plus 2 Tb. canned, unsweetened pumpkin purée
  5. 1 Tb. cinnamon
  6. 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  7. ¼ tsp. clove
  8. ¼ cup milk
  9. ¼ tsp. allspice
  10. Pinch nutmeg
  11. ½ tsp. salt
  12. 8 eggs
  13. 6 Tb. pumpkin powder
  14. 3 Tb. flour
  15. Pinch cream of tartar
  16. 4 soufflé ramekins, 4 inches in diameter
How to prepare the soufflé molds
  1. Generously grease your soufflé ramekins with 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Refrigerate the buttered ramekins and then butter them again.
  2. Dust the insides of the ramekins with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and return them to the refrigerator. Keep the remaining butter at room temperature.
How to make the pumpkin pastry cream
  1. Separate the eggs, reserving the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, spices, salt, flour, and pumpkin powder.
  2. Gradually add milk and whisk until lumps are removed. Heat the mixture on low, stirring with a whisk, until it begins to thicken.
  3. Cook over medium heat stirring vigorously until you can see the bottom of the pan. Cool slightly and stir in the butter and rum, set aside to cool.
Make the meringue
  1. Combine all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar and 4 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  2. Simultaneously place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium high speed. Once the egg whites begin to foam up, add the cream of tartar .
  3. When the egg whites are completely foamy, shiny and begin to hold the lines of a whisk, add the sugar. The whites should become shiny and gain volume.
  4. If you see the whites beading (small lumps of egg whites forming on the side of the bowl), you have whipped them too dry; slow the machine down and add the remaining sugar.
Prepare Soufflé Mixture
  1. Add about a quarter of the meringue to the pumpkin custard to lighten it and then add the remaining meringue by placing a spatula in the center of the bowl, scrape the bottom, and bring the bottom over the top.
  2. Rotate the bowl 45 degrees and continue folding until all the egg whites are incorporated.
Fill the prepared ramekins
  1. Using a rubber or plastic spatula, fill the prepared ramekins with the mixture, avoiding leaving any air pockets under the mixture in the ramekins.
  2. Flatten the tops of the ramekins with a metal spatula, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl. Clean off any bits of mousse that might have dropped onto the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the soufflé
  1. You can now either bake your soufflés or place them in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 hours or in the freezer for up to 24 hours.
  2. Before baking frozen soufflés, allow them to sit out at room temperature for 1 hour. When you are ready to bake the soufflés, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Bake the soufflés until they are raised over the rims by about ½ their original volume, 9 to 12 minutes in a convection oven or 15 to 20 minutes in a regular oven without a fan.
Think Tasty


Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Serves 6


  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 3-1/4 cup sugar, plus 4 tsp.
  3. 8 large egg yolks
  4. 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  6. 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  7. 1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Arrange 8 (1/2-cup) ramekins or custard cups in a large metal baking pan (or use 8 individual oven-safe bowls).
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth.
  6. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Divide among the prepared custard cups.
  7. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are set in the center but not stiff, approximately 50 minutes.
  8. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  9. Dust each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. (Alternately, preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning and rotating the cups, about 1 to 2 minutes.)
  10. Place on small dessert plates on a paper doily, and serve.
Think Tasty

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