Sweet treats: Make pumpkin pie brûlée, apple clafouti

Looking to end your Thanksgiving dinner with something other than pie? Here, chef Michael Chiarello shares two delicious desserts: pumpkin pie brûlée and apple clafouti.

Pumpkin pie brûlée
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Makes 6 servings


  • For rustic dough:

    • 9 ounces cake flour (about 3 cups)
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • Pinch gray salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into large pieces
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla
    • 2 tablespoon cold water
    • (Optional: Premade pie dough)
  • For filling:

    • 8 oz Mascarpone or natural cream cheese, softened
    • 2 cups canned pumpkin, or roasted in the shell and pureed butternut squash
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon gray salt
    • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Baking Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the dough: 2. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients and mix for 5 seconds to blend. 3. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until the butter is about the size of peas. 4. Add the cold water and blend until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.5. Remove pie dough from the refrigerator. With the plastic wrap still on, pound with rolling pin a few times to flatten to 1 ½ inch . 6. Remove from the plastic wrap and roll out on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. 7. Cut dough to the size of your brulee ramekins (I use 4" ceramic ramekins). 8. Butter each ramekin and place dough circle in the bottom. 9. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm again. 10. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. 11. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. 12. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color. For the filling: 1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. 2. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. 3. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Add the whole eggs, yolks, half-and-half and melted butter and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated. 4. Pour the filling over the warm prepared pie crust 1-inch thick (you can go deeper if you like and simply increase the baking time) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center is set. 5. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. 6. When cool, just before serving, make the brulee topping. Sprinkle the sugar over the filling in each ramekin.  (Be sure to completely cover the filling with a thin layer of sugar)7. Using a mini-torch, torch the top until sugar is caramelized. The ramekins can also be browned under a broiler. If using a broiler, stick the ramekins inside a pan and under the broiler until light brown. 8. Serve immediately.

Apple clafouti
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Makes 6 servings


  • For batter:

    • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

    • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • Pinch of salt

    • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

    • 1 cup milk
  • For apples: 

    • 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apple (1/2-inch dice; about 1 large apple)

    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

    • 1 teaspoon grappa, Calvados, or other fruit brandy
    • Confectioners
    • 1/3 cup crème fraîche


Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400.Make the batter: Sift the flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and milk until well blended. Add about one-third of the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk to form a paste, then gradually incorporate the remaining egg mixture. Whisk until well blended.Cook the apples: With the tip of a knife, scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod into an ovenproof 10-inch cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet. Add the pod and the butter and cook over moderately high heat until the butter turns nut brown. Add the apple and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes to soften them. Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard. Sprinkle the apples with the granulated sugar, reduce the heat to moderately low, and cook until the apples are about three-fourths done and the sugar has melted and is coating the apples in a light syrup. Add the grappa or other brandy, swirl the pan briefly, then spread the fruit evenly in the pan.Remove the pan from the heat. Working quickly, pour the batter through a sieve evenly over the fruit. Bake until the edges of the clafouti are puffed and browned and the center is set, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.Put some confectioners' sugar in a sieve and generously dust the surface of the clafouti. Serve warm directly from the pan with a dollop of crème fraîche.


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