Tag Archive for 'Thanksgiving'

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

This is a really lovely dessert I have made several times during the past few weeks. It is a breeze to make and tastes delicious. The hint of spices, beautiful creamy texture and mild pumpkin flavor make it the perfect dessert for a holiday meal or a dinner party. My favorite part is that I can make this a day or two ahead and not worry about it again until everyone has finished their main course. I just take it out of the fridge, fire up my blow torch and within minutes it’s ready.

I like to serve it in 1/2 cup ramekins, which is just the right amount of dessert after a big meal. The first recipe I followed used larger cups and less eggs, therefore increasing the cooking time in the water bath to more than an hour. Although I only had my 1/2 cup ramekins, I didn’t expect there would be a great difference in cooking time. Oh, how wrong I was. I thought I had plenty of time to pick my kids up from school before returning to a perfect dessert. So upon opening the oven door about an hour later, my beautiful crème brûlées had turned into a wrinkly and solid and completely uneatable version of what they should have been. Lesson learned –  check the size of your ramekins and adjust accordingly. And after about 30 minutes of cooking time, check your custards and give them a little shake. They are ready when they still have a slight wiggle in the center.

Another near mishap occurred when we made this crème brûlée in one of my “cooking get-togethers”. We accidentally used 2 instead of 1 cups of pumpkin puree, with the same amount of sugar, eggs and cream. It still turned out wonderful, just a bit more pumpkiny and took a few minutes longer to set. The recipe below asks for only one cup of pumpkin puree for 2 cups of cream, but if you like a stronger pumpkin flavor, go ahead and use more. Continue reading ‘Pumpkin Crème Brûlée’

Orange Cranberry Sauce

In case you have been wondering if I will ever post anything to accompany your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, here it is. My much loved orange cranberry sauce which I have been making twice a year for a decade now. I am so particular about it’s ingredients (especially the oranges), that when we lived in Thailand, I would bring organic oranges back from our holidays, because I wanted organic zest in my cranberry sauce. I would then zest the oranges and freeze it until I needed it for my holiday cooking. Thankfully, organic citrus fruit is readily available here in Australia, besides I wouldn’t want to face the frighteningly thorough people from quarantine, when they discover fresh fruit in my luggage. Oh yes, every place has it’s special quirks.

As for the cranberries, if I am outside of the US, I use frozen ones, with just as much success as fresh ones.

Got to hurry and stop reminiscing. I have just 2 hours left, before unplucking my children out of their beds and embarking on a 24 hours plane ride to Los Angeles. We’ll stop there for a few days before heading to our final holiday destination in Western Massachusetts. I think we’re all packed, the dog had his last walk before his holiday in the “Paw House” kennel, the fridge is cleaned out, the state of the house is acceptable, the ipods fully loaded and the bottle of Benadryl at the top of my suitcase.

So here we go. I’ll do some old fashioned German cookie baking once the tree is up in Massachusetts and hopefully get around to post a few pictures taken with my new camera and lenses (finally).

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and enjoy the sugary and buttery delights before it’s time for New Year’s resolutions!


1 lbs. (450g) fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cups sugar

6 oranges, segmented, piths and membranes removed; juice reserved

Zest of one orange (preferably organic, or unwaxed)


Pour sugar and reserved orange juice into medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.

Add cranberries and cook just until berries start to pop, about 15 minutes. If you use frozen berries, give them a bit of a squeeze with a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in orange zest and segments.

Cool and refrigerate overnight.