Thanksgiving desserts from traditional to nouveau

| Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 8:48 p.m.

Maple Pumpkin Pie With Cinnamon-Maple Whipped Cream

A classic Thanksgiving dinner is only complete with the classic finish — an aromatic pumpkin pie rich with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and topped with pillowy soft mounds of whipped cream.

To sweeten the pie and the cream, we turned to maple syrup, which complements the other ingredients with a rich, but still subtle sweetness.

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

For the pie:

9-inch prepared deep-dish pie crust in a pan

1 can (15-ounces) pumpkin puree

1 cup grade-B maple syrup

1 cup heavy cream

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger

12 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch salt

For the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

14 cup sugar

To prepare the pie: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pie crust on a baking sheet.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, heavy cream, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

Pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is just barely set.

Set on a rack to cool completely.

To prepare the whipped cream: When ready to serve, make the whipped cream.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, cinnamon and sugar until the cream forms soft peaks. Serve alongside the pie.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 530 calories, 35 grams fat (16 grams saturated), 170 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 220 milligrams sodium

— Associated Press

Ginger Flan With Caramelized Oats and Calvados Cranberries

A dessert this great is worth the wait. A rich, creamy custard with caramelized sugar is topped with sugared, rolled oats and dried cranberries that take a long bath in apple brandy.

Although the recipe comes together easily, the first step begins the day before. Just dump the dried cranberries in a bowl with the Calvados, then go on with your life.

By the time the cranberries are ready the next day, you've got just an hour of work left. Just be sure to let the flans cool completely before trying to unmold; they slip out of the ramekins more easily when cool.

Start to finish: 24 hours (1 hour active)

For the Calvados cranberries:

1 cup dried cranberries

12 cup Calvados (apple brandy)

For the caramelized oats:

34 cup extra-thick rolled oats

12 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the custard:

1 cup heavy cream


14 cup sliced, fresh ginger

1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12-ounces) evaporated milk

Pinch of salt

2 whole large eggs

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons cornstarch

23 cup sugar

To prepare the Calvados cranberries: In a small bowl, combine the cranberries and Calvados. Cover and let soak overnight.

To prepare the caramelized oats: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium-size skillet over the medium-high heat, toast the oats, stirring often, until fragrant, for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the salt, then stir until the sugar melts and turns golden brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter. Spoon onto the prepared baking sheet and set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with a kitchen towel. Have ready eight 4-ounce ramekins that will fit in the pan.

To prepare the custard: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and ginger. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat off and cover. Let the cream mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a near boil.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, salt, whole eggs, egg yolks and cornstarch.

When the cream has finished steeping, strain it into the egg mixture, discard the ginger. Stir together the eggs and cream.

In another small pan over medium, heat the sugar until it melts and turns golden brown. Pour a small amount of the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin, swirling to coat the bottom.

Divide the custard mixture between the ramekins, then place the filled ramekins into the towel-lined pan.

Place the pan in the oven and carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle around the ramekins to come halfway up the sides, being careful not to get any water in the custards. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the custards are just set. Remove the ramekins from the pan of water and let sit at room temperature until the ramekins are cool enough to handle. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the ramekins. Place a dessert plate over the top of a ramekin and invert. Lift the ramekin off the plate, allowing the custard to slide out.

Spoon some of the soaked cranberries onto the plate around the custard, then top with the caramelized oats.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 560 calories, 23 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 195 milligrams cholesterol, 11 grams protein, 73 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 150 milligrams sodium

— Associated Press

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