Sweet treats cap meal

RAMEKIN DESSERTS: Easy to make, portion out and serve after the turkey

November 17, 2010 

After the leftovers are put into the fridge and the turkey coma begins its gripping hold, dessert presentation isn’t necessarily top of mind. We’ve all pulled the pies out of the fridge, sliced each one sloppily, plated them, messily, then slogged them to the table. If the family is lucky, they may get a dollop of whipped cream on top, but that’s only if you have the energy to get out the stand mixer.

A solution to turkey day fatigue: ramekin desserts. Make your desserts in advance by prepping them in individually portioned ramekins, those white porcelain or clear glass dishes that store and clean up easily.

Local chefs offer you five recipes for making ramekin desserts. Just make the desserts a day or two in advance and store in the fridge until service. Some desserts require minimal warming before serving, others can go from fridge to table.

Chef Matt Stickle of the Hotel Murano’s Bite restaurant, offers a pumpkin crme brlée, cranberry bread pudding and an apple crisp for a trio of ramekin desserts. Cindy Pantley, pastry chef of Toscanos Café and Wine Bar in Puyallup, offers an orange-pomegranate cheesecake that can be made in individual ramekins, or even muffin tins, and pulled out of the fridge just before serving. And private chef Linda Strong, owner of Shelton’s Cedar Bay Culinary, suggests making an easy pumpkin parfait a few days ahead of Thanksgiving that will keep in the fridge with no hassles. Just add crumbled cookies and it’s ready to enjoy.

Recipes begin below.

Cranberry Bread Pudding

12 loaf brioche

1 cup half and half

1 cup heavy cream

Pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean (split)

3 eggs

12 cup sugar

14 cup orange juice

12 cup dried cranberries

Powdered sugar

Cut brioche in small cubes. Toast to light golden brown, about 10 minutes, in a 350-degree oven.

In a sauce pan, heat half and half cream, salt, vanilla bean and bring to simmer, then take off heat. In a bowl, mix eggs, sugar then slowly add warm cream mixture. Remove vanilla bean. In sauce pan, heat orange juice and cranberries for approximately 5 minutes to plump the dried cranberries. Gently toss bread cubes in cream mixture and coat thoroughly. Toss in cranberries and sauce. Place bread cubes in ramekins and pour remaining custard over. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and fill with water until ramekins are submerged about an inch. Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees until set and golden brown. Serve warm or chilled with dusting of powdered sugar and fresh mint leaf.

Source: Matt Stickle, Hotel Murano

Pumpkin Crme Brlée

2 cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean (split)

2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste if you prefer a sweeter brulee)

10 egg yolks (beaten)

14 teaspoon cinnamon

14 teaspoon allspice

Pinch of ground ginger

1 cup pumpkin puree

Sugar in the Raw (as needed for service)

In a sauce pan, combine cream, vanilla, bring to a boil. Combine yolks and sugar. Slowly add 1/3 of the cream to the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Temper the eggs carefully by bringing the temperature up slowly so the eggs do not scramble. Add rest of cream mixture to remaining egg mixture and add spices and pumpkin. Fill eight buttered ramekins 3/4 full and place inside a roasting pan filled with water so the ramekins are submerged about one inch. Bake at 325 degrees until just barely set, about 35-40 minutes. Chill overnight. At service, sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw and caramelize under broiler for 3-4 minutes, or flame the tops with a torch. Garnish with fresh cranberries tossed in sugar or make candied pumpkin seeds.

Source: Matt Stickle, Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway, Tacoma; 253-591-4151; www.hotelmuranotacoma.com

Apple Blackberry Crisp

1 cup flour

14 cup brown sugar

14 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

12 cup chilled butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 pounds of your favorite apples

1 pint fresh blackberries

12 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

For the topping: Combine flour, sugar, salt in bowl. Add chilled, cubed butter and mix into crumbles.

For the fruit: Peel/core/dice apples and toss with lemon juice, blackberries, sugar, flour. Place fruit in buttered ramekins. Mound up because fruit will cook down. Then place crumble topping on top. Place in 350-degree oven and bake until bubbling and topping is golden brown. Garnish with small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Source: Matt Stickle, Hotel Murano

Orange Pomegranate Cheesecake Bites

Yield: 24 cheesecake bites

Four (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

12 cup finely chopped dried cranberries

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 -12 teaspoons grated orange peel

12 cup Fruit Innovations Pomegranate Syrup

14 cup flour

For the crust:

2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookie wafers

14 cup melted butter

Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Pat the cookie crumbs evenly into greased muffin tins or 4-ounce ramekins lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar and sour cream until smooth. Add dried cranberries, both extracts, orange peel, Pomegranate syrup and flour. Mix well.

Pour into the prepared pans with the cookie crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Centers should be soft. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Gently remove parchment paper and set onto small plate, drizzle with pomegranate syrup and whipped topping, if desired.

Source: Cindy Pantley, Toscanos Café and Wine Bar, 437 29th St. N.E., Suite A, Puyallup; 253-864-8600; toscanospuyallup.com

Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

15-ounce can pureed pumpkin

3 cups heavy cream

34 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

12 teaspoon ground nutmeg

14 teaspoon ground clove

1 tablespoon vanilla

Cookies, your choice; chocolate wafers, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers; roughly crushed

Combine the pumpkin with 1 cup of the cream, the sugar and spices in a saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved; pour into a flat dish to cool to room temperature.

Whip the remaining 2 cups cream and vanilla to firm peaks then fold into the cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, layer the pumpkin mousse with the crushed cookies of your choice into wine glasses. You can top the parfaits with a little more whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Source: Linda Strong, Cedar Bay Culinary, Shelton

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