Five Yummy Pumpkin Alternatives To Pie

Dessert is one part of the Thanksgiving meal that can easily be made ahead of time. If you've ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner, you know that you're always looking for things you can mark off your list before Thursday!

And, while pumpkin pie is the traditional choice, there are plenty of other types of desserts with that same scrumptious, delicious pumpkin flavor.

On The Early Show Tuesday, Gale Gand, Executive Pastry Chef and owner of the award-winning Tru restaurant in Chicago, showcased five other pumpkin treats:

  • Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Baked Pumpkin Ricotta Custard with Cranberry Compote
  • Orange Pumpkin Bread Pudding with White Pepper Cream
  • North Grand High School Pumpkin Cookies
  • Pumpkin Maple Trifle

    Many of the desserts are individual-sized portions, making serving the final course much easier on the hostess!

    Gand is a member of the Macy's Culinary Council, a group of 16 respected chefs who do various culinary events for Macy's throughout the year. This year, the council members are helping spearhead a program called Macy's Million Meals. Working with the hunger-relief organization Feeding America, Macy's has pledged to serve one million meals to the hungry. Culinary Council members are helping serve many of these meals, and providing recipes for the various soup kitchens.


    Pumpkin Cupcakes

    Makes 18 cupcakes

    For the cupcakes
    3 large eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon mild light molasses
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2-3/4 cups flour
    2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt

    In a bowl, whisk the eggs well, then stir in the sugar and the oil. Then add the pumpkin, molasses and the buttermilk and stir well. In a separate bowl stir the dry ingredients together, then add them to the wet ingredients and stir just till blended. Spoon into paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool then top with cream cheese frosting.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

    Whip the cream cheese in a mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.

    Baked Pumpkin Ricotta Custard with Cranberry Compote

    For the custard

    Makes 6 servings, 6 ounces each, or 12 demi tasse cups

    12 ounces cream cheese, room temp
    3/4 cup fresh ricotta
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    4 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream

    In a mixer with a whisk attachment cream the cream cheese till light, smooth and fluffy. Add the ricotta and continue mixing. Add the eggs and egg white gradually along with the vanilla extract and mix well. Lastly, mix in the sugar and the cream. Pour the batter into oven proof baking dishes and place them in a water bath. Bake at 250 degrees in a still oven for 45 minutes till set but still has no color. Chill till ready to serve. You may coat the top with coarse sugar and caramelize it under the broiler or with a blow torch for a crunchy bruléed topping. Serve topped with spoonfuls of Cranberry Compote.

    Cranberry Compote
    1 bag (12 ounce) fresh cranberries
    2 cups water
    2 cups sugar

    Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a full boil. The skins of the cranberries should all burst. Take off the heat and chill.

    For more recipes, go to Page 2.