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Thanksgiving Desserts

November 25, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Thanksgiving  Desserts

Welcome to Radio Kitchen, I'm Al Spoler.  We have the best dinner of the year just a couple days away now, and while many of us have been thinking turkey and trimmings, you'd best think about desserts too, because the folks are expecting them.   And Chef Jerry Pelligrino of Waterfront Kitchen, there's still time to whip up something from scratch that will dazzle and amaze your guests.

                   Pumpkin Cream Pie
            (adopted from a recipe by Sandra Lee)


For Pie:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below)
3 large eggs
1 (9-inch) frozen pie crust shell, thawed,wrapping removed and placed in a glass pie dish

For Brown Sugar Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, cream, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Using electric hand mixer, add the eggs, 1 at a time incorporating completely between each addition.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake on a sheet tray until the filling is mostly set and the crust has browned, about 50 to 60 minutes. The center will still look slightly loose. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

For Whipped Cream:

In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer until beginning to thicken. Add the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and serve immediately or hold in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours before serving.


            Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


           Maple Cheese Cake with Roasted Apples


For the filling:

16 ozs. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

For the crust

6 ozs. Vanilla wafers
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

2  heirloom apples, cored and sliced in 1/8 inch thick rounds.


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or in the bowl of a Kitchenaid Mixer fitted with the creaming paddle, beat cream cheese on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup; beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar on high until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, stir about one-third the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then fold in remainder.

To make the crust, pulse cookies in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Add sugar, salt, and butter and pulse until combined.

Pack the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Pour in the filling and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the apple slices in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons maple syrup.

Roast until the apples are soft, 20 minutes. Remove from oven and heat broiler. Brush the apples with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and broil until browned in spots, about 4 minutes, rotating sheet frequently. Let cool.

To serve, arrange the apple slices, overlapping slightly, on cheesecake.


           Pear & Pumpkin Flat Pie


All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 sheet (approximately 12 x14) puff pastry thawed in the refrigerator
3 small Bartlett pears, or 2 medium pears, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 pound 2 ounces)
1 cup pumpkin pie filling
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheet of puff pastry, Cut in half, lengthwise, to make two pieces each approximately 7 x 12. Refrigerate until cold.

Stir pears, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice together in a bowl. Season with salt & pepper.
Transfer 1 rectangle of dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spread the pumpkin pie filling onto the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Place the pear mixture in top of the filling.

Brush border with beaten egg. Lay remaining dough over filling; press gently to seal. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Transfer to a room-temperature rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment.

Trim edges, and brush top with beaten egg. Cut five 5-inch vents in top. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake, rotating once, until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes. Transfer pie to a wire rack; let cool 20 minutes before serving.

                Phllyo Dough Pumpkin Pie
            (adopted from a recipe at epicurious.com)


1 1 3/4- to 2-pound sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved through core, seeded
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg plus additional for garnish
1 cup (loosely packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons canned evaporated skim milk
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 14x9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkin, cut side down, on parchment. Bake until very tender, about 1 hour. Cool.

Scoop pumpkin flesh into processor; discard skin. Combine cinnamon, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in small bowl. Add half of cinnamon mixture to pumpkin in processor. Add brown sugar, eggs, milk, cream, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt.

Process until very smooth. DO AHEAD: Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to large bowl, cover, and chill.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Lightly butter 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Place rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat. Stir 2 tablespoons sugar into remaining cinnamon mixture.

Lay 1 phyllo sheet on clean work surface and brush lightly with butter (keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying). Sprinkle 1 scant teaspoonful cinnamon mixture over phyllo.

Repeat 4 times with phyllo, butter, and cinnamon mixture. Arrange stacked phyllo in tart pan, gently pressing and allowing long sides to hang over edge of pan. Repeat layering process with 5 remaining phyllo sheets.

Arrange stacked phyllo crosswise atop first sheets so that overhanging corners point in opposite directions. Roll overhang in to form edge of crust. Pour pumpkin into pan.

Place pie on hot baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake until tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes. Grate nutmeg over and serve warm.


            Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts


1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see recipe above)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) brioche or challah bread
½ cup dried cranberries, soaked overnight in 1 cup bourbon and drained (I use the remaining bourbon for a delicious, cranberry infused Manhattan!)
¼ cup toasted walnut pieces


Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Whisk together cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Add the bread, cranberries and walnuts and mix until well combined. Let rest in the refrigerator for an hour. Mix again and transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.