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Thanksgiving Desserts: Recipes

WebMD Expert Column

Pumpkin pie will most definitely be the featured dessert on Thanksgiving tables across America. But many families offer at least one additional dessert.

All three of the following desserts offer something completely different from traditional Thanksgiving pies:

Thanksgiving Food Trends

Food is most definitely in right now. This year alone, a new food-centric cable network has sprouted and a popular but shuttered food magazine found new life as an iPad application, among other developments.

So use these recipes to give your Thanksgiving menu an update; we predict you’ll get plenty of gratitude.    

Give your brussels sprouts bacon, plus other savory ideas.

Your guests expect pumpkin pie – so surprise them with one of these delicious innovations.

Give your turkey a makeover (or two) and accommodate the vegetarians at your table with ease.

  • Personal-sized lemon cranberry pudding cakes
  • Holiday shortbread
  • Gingerbread muffins


Personal-Sized Lemon Cranberry Pudding Cakes

If you can't find fresh or frozen cranberries, you can substitute 1/3 cup dried cranberries.


Canola cooking spray

3 large eggs at room temperature, separated (1 yolk discarded)

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided use

3 tablespoons whipped butter (room temperature) or less-fat margarine with 8 grams fat per tablespoon

2 tablespoons egg substitute

1/4 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup 1% low fat milk (2% or whole milk can also be used), divided use

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

3/4 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)

Light whipped cream as a garnish (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center of the oven. Coat the inside of six, 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins or custard cups with canola cooking spray. Arrange the cups in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. 

2. Add 3 egg whites to large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer (if using standing mixer, use the whisk attachment) on medium speed until the whites are foamy (30-60 seconds). Increase speed to high and beat until whites hold soft peaks (about 1 minute more). With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly sprinkle in 1/4 cup sugar (take about a minute to do this). Scrape the sides of the bowl before beating on high speed for 30 seconds longer. Spoon egg whites into medium bowl and set aside. 

3. Add butter or margarine, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons egg substitute to the mixing bowl with whisk beater (instead of the paddle) and beat on medium speed until smooth (at least 1 minute). Add 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup of the milk and beat on low speed to blend into the egg mixture. Beat in remaining milk and lemon juice and beat until smooth. 

4. Add a third of the egg whites and lemon zest into the egg yolk mixture, folding it in by hand with spoon or spatula until combined. Continue incorporating the remaining egg whites into the batter. 

5. Divide the batter among the prepared cups (the cakes won’t rise, so you can fill them to within 1/8 inch of the top). Sprinkle 1/8 cup cranberries over the top of each cup. Press them 1/4 inch down under the top surface. Pour hot water from tap into the 9 x 13-inch baking pan so the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the tops of the cakes are light golden. When you touch the top with your finger, they will feel spongy (25 to 30 minutes). 

6. With oven mitt or tongs, move the cups to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to serve chilled. Add a dollop of light whipped cream if desired.

Yield: 6 individual cakes

Per serving: 195 calories, 5 g protein, 34 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 1.8 g monounsaturated fat, 1.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 175 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 22%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids = 1 g

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