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Spiked Thanksgiving desserts

A little goes a long way

Don’t bore your dinner guests with yet another pumpkin pie. But just because you want to try something different, doesn’t mean you have to ignore tradition. This year, try one of these Thanksgiving desserts with a spiked twist on classic holiday flavors.

A little goes a long way

When you bake or simmer alcohol, you concentrate the flavors, and adding too much of an alcohol or flavored liqueur can overpower the other flavors in your dish if you're not careful. Don't skimp on the quality of your liqueurs and alcohols.

Cranberry Tiramisu

Makes 8 servings


  • 3 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/3 cup cranberry liqueur, plus 2 Tbsp divided
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 12-oz. pound cakes, cut into 3 x 1 x 1 inch pieces


  1. Combine 2 cups sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over cranberries. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Grind ¾ cup sugar in a food processor until fine and place in a shallow pan. Drain cranberries with a slotted spoon and add to sugar to coat. Place cranberries on a baking sheet for 1 hour.
  3. Combine cranberry sauce and cranberry liqueur in a small bowl. Combine mascarpone cheese with remaining cranberry liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Set both aside until needed.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat cream, remaining cup sugar and vanilla extract to form soft peaks. Gradually fold the cream mixture into the mascarpone cheese.
  5. Spread half of the pound cake evenly along the bottom of a 13x9 inch glass baking dish. Cover with half of the cranberry sauce followed by half of the mascarpone mixture. Add half of the sugared cranberries. Repeat layering again with the remaining pound cake, cranberry sauce, and mascarpone.
  6. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  7. Top with remaining cranberries before serving.

Eggnog Crème Brulee

Makes 8 servings


  • 4 cups whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbsp spiced dark rum
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine cream and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.
  3. Whisk together egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add hot cream mixture, rum, brandy and nutmeg.
  4. Evenly divide mixture into 8 small ceramic ramekins. Place ramekins in a roasting pan, and fill the pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  5. Transfer roasting pan to oven and bake until the custard sets around the edges, about 30 minutes. The middle of the custard should still jiggle when agitated.
  6. Remove ramekins from roasting pan and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating for 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Before serving, sprinkle an even coating of brown sugar across the top of each ramekin. Hold the flame of a kitchen torch 3 to 6 inches from the surface for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar begins to bubble.

Next: Spiced Apple Bread Pudding with Buttered Rum Sauce

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