Some splurge-worthy treats you can try at home this Thanksgiving

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without desserts! And this year, why not take things beyond pumpkin pie? Chef Alisha Malavenda has wipped up some splurge-worthy treats you can try at home. 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Fire Ball Whiskey Sauce

  • 1 can pure pumpkin puree (you can also use 15 oz of sweet potato or squash purée)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 C half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 C whole milk
  • ¾ C bakers or regular granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C light brown sugar
  • ¼ C either fireball whiskey or rum (this is optional but mighty tasty)
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ginger
  • ¼ t cloves
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C toasted nuts, chopped ( optional )
  • About 8 C of bread from a 1 # load ( day old is the best and you can use any bread you want)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, cream or half & half, milk, sugars, liquor, salt, spices, and vanilla, stirring to blend.

· Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or a 9" x 13" pan. You can also make individual ones in ramekins.

· Place the cubed bread (and nuts if using) ,in the dish in an even layer, and pour the liquid mixture over it. Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

· If you refrigerate, bring to room temperature for about 30 min before baking.

· Preheat your oven to 350°F.

· Bake until set and beginning to brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.

· Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream and fireball whiskey sauce

· You can make this up to 5-6 days in advance

For Fireball or regular whiskey sauce:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • ¾ C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup fireball or another whiskey

· Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the sugar, stirring until sugar melts.

· In another bowl whisk together the cream, cinnamon, and eggs. Add the cream mixture to the butter. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

· Remove from the heat and immediately add the Fireball Whiskey. Transfer to a heatproof bowl to keep the sauce warm. This reheats nicely in the microwave.

Pumpkin Pecan CheesecakeCheesecake:

  • 3 - 8oz. cream cheese; softened to room temperature
  • ½ C sugar
  • ¾ C firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ C pumpkin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • ⅛ t ground cloves
  • or you can use 2-3 t. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • Pecan Topping:
  • 1 C pecans; toasted and chopped
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ½ stick softened butter


  • 1 ½- 2 C graham cracker crumbs depending on how thick a crust you desire
  • ¼ C. sugar
  • 6-8 T. butter; melted
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

· Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter. Firmly press crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake the crust for 6 minutes and remove it from the oven.

· Beat the cream cheese until fluffy; beat in sugars, vanilla, and spices.

· Add the eggs 1 at a time; lightly beat until just combined. Lightly beat in the pumpkin and then, the flour( I like to add it through a sifter so there are no lumps). Don't over-beat!

· Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared crust. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Begin preparing pecan topping at the one-hour mark or about 10-15 min before the timer goes off.

· Prepare the topping by combining the pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cheesecake. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for the last 15 minutes.

· Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in with the door closed for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cover cheesecake and refrigerate in the pan overnight.


  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • ¾ C dark corn syrup
  • ¼ C Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 C toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 C semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 homemade or store bought pie crust

· Preheat oven to 375°F.

· In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth.

· Mix in the flour. Gradually add the corn syrup, Kahlua and vanilla.

· Mix in the eggs and then add the pecans.

· Spread the chocolate chips around the bottom of the pie crust and pour the filling on top.

· Bake for 45 minutes, until the filling is puffy and just set in the center.

· Place on a wire rack to cool.

· This pie can be prepared the day before. Store covered in the refrigerator.

· Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and additional pecans, if desired

Pumpkin Frozen Custard with Fall Spices

  • 2 Cups Heavy cream
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 1/4 Cups Raw Sugar (turbinado)
  • 1/4 t. fine sea salt
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2 Cups Homemade Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Puree
  • (Or you can use canned)
  • 1/4 Cardamom
  • 1 t Nutmeg
  • 1/4 t Cloves
  • 1/4 t Ginger

Toasted Walnuts(optional)

· Pour the cream into a large heavy pot; add milk, sugar and salt.

· Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

· Place the egg yolks in a bowl and beat them with a whisk until they turn pale yellow. Gradually add the milk mixture whisking constantly.

· Pour the mixture into a double boiler and set over low flame with water barely simmering. Cook custard until it coats the back of the spoon, remove from heat and let cool.

· Put the pumpkin puree into a bowl and add 1 cup of the custard mixture. Whisk continuous. Add the pumpkin mixture, spices and rest of custard mixture, again whisk continuous.

· Then put in the ice cream machine. At the end, if it is your fantasy you can add walnuts (and even a little whipped cream to serve).

Pumpkin Roll Cake with Mascarpone Ginger Filling

For the cake:

  • ¾ C all-purpose flour
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • For the filling:
  • 12 oz mascarpone cheese ( you can also use cream cheese as a substitute)
  • 1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup minced dried crystallized ginger ( optional)
  • Pinch kosher salt

· Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch jelly roll pan.

· Line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.

· In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine.

· Place the eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for 3 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin, then slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Do Not Over Beat! Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched. Don’t over bake or it will crack when rolled.

· While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift 1/4 – ½ cup of confectioners' sugar evenly over it.

· (This prevents the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel. Peel away the parchment paper. Gently, roll the warm cake and the towel together starting at the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

· While the cake is cooling make the filling. Beat the mascarpone, confectioners' sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy with an electric mixer ( kitchen aide use the paddle) Stir in the crystallized ginger, and salt.

· Putting it together: carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. Reroll the cake in a spiral using the towel as a guide. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve sliced.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

  • 1 ¾ C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ C baker( caster) sugar
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t ginger

Turbinado or Regular sugar for caramelizing

*ramekins or custard cups and handheld torch.

• Pre-heat the oven to 300˚ F

• In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until well blended.

• Heat 1 ¾ cup heavy whipping cream in a sauce pan, almost to a simmer ( do not boil); stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

• Slowly add hot cream while

• Strain the cream mixture through a strainer into a large measuring cup

• Whisk in 1 cup pumpkin puree and spices.

• Divide the mixture into 8 (4 oz) cups and place in a one or two large baking dish so they fit and are not touching.

• Fill the baking dish with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins paying attention not to splash any water into the custard.

• Bake at 300˚ F for 35-40 minutes. The creme brulee centers should barely wiggle when you move the pan.

• Cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

• Note: don't caramelize until ready to serve.

Making the Crisp topping:

Bring the brulees to room temp for a few minutes to caramelize the tops. Don't refrigerate after caramelizing, or the sugar will melt. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar on each custard, swirl to spread evenly. Torch the tops moving in a circular pattern until the whole surface is caramelized and sugar turns a rich amber color. When you're ready to eat it, break the sugar topping with a spoon to break it up.