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You don’t need a medium to tell you that Thanksgiving will be a small get-together this year. So, do you still want to bother baking pies?

There’s another option if you’re only serving a few people: a frozen dessert that can echo the flavors of that Thanksgiving pie, those pecans, or that pumpkin (or both), something you’ve made well. in advance and that you can have handy.

But you will need an ice cream maker and some forethought, as several hours should be spent cooling and freezing. (The ice cream mixture should be very cold before you start churning, and the churned dessert should then be frozen.) While it is possible to freeze a sorbet in a shallow pan, stirring it every hour or so. as it solidifies keeping the texture smooth, this method is less than ideal and will give a more icy consistency, like a granita. There is simply no substitute for the texture that a machine can offer.

This pecan pie ice cream is built on a base of French vanilla, with toasted pecans, coated in maple syrup, swirled around. Making custard is a delicate operation, like making hollandaise, due to the fragile nature of eggs when heated. Perform this part of the recipe when you can give it your full attention, undisturbed and without text.

For pecans, chopping them by hand with a sharp knife, instead of using a food processor, will give more even results. While many pecan pie recipes call for black corn syrup, I make mine with maple, which I find lighter, so this is what I used for the ice cream.

Pumpkin-ginger sorbet is a lighter option that can be made suitable for vegans by replacing honey with agave syrup. While canned pumpkin is fine, try roasting small, honeyed squash for 40 minutes at 400 degrees, then scrape the inside, which becomes a smooth mash under the heat.

Honey nuts are a delicious variety of relatively new squash with a mild taste and dense flesh without the stringy character of some other types of winter squash or pumpkin. For a cup of mash, two of these are perfect. Butternut squash would be another option.

The sorbet is excellent served with pieces of candied ginger on it or with pieces of brittle pumpkin seeds. And he’s surprisingly sensitive to traces of chilled dark chocolate sauce.

Desserts can be prepared up to a week in advance. Whatever containers you use for freezer storage, place a circle of parchment paper directly on the top surface of the ice cream or sherbet to keep air out. If you approach both varieties, you can serve a scoop of each side by side. And if you bake those pies after all, these frozen desserts will be your rage.

Pecan Pie Ice Cream

Yield: 5 cups (about 8 servings)

Total time: 30 minutes, plus at least 8 hours of cooling and freezing

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

2/3 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Place the milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the sugar. Heat over medium heat until scalded (about 180 degrees) – bubbles will form around the edges. Remove from fire.

Beat eggs in a small bowl until well combined. Gradually stir several tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, then slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot, whisking all the time.

Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon, about 6 minutes. As soon as you see the first streams of steam, remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring for about 5 more minutes while the mixture cools. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 6 hours or overnight.

Place the pecans in a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Grill them, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove from fire. Pour in the maple syrup, add the butter and salt. Stir to completely coat the pecans. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

Add the cold pastry cream to your ice cream maker and beat until the mixture reaches the consistency of soft ice cream, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. Stir in the cooled nuts and syrup, stirring them so they don’t get mixed well.

Transfer ice cream to one or more containers and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. If necessary, let the ice cream soften a bit in the refrigerator or at room temperature before removing.

Pumpkin-Ginger Sorbet can be served with candied ginger pieces on top or with brittle pieces of pumpkin seeds. / Photo by Christopher Simpson / The New York Times

Pumpkin-ginger sorbet

Yield: 1 pint (6 to 8 servings)

Total time: 20 minutes, plus at least 6 hours of refrigeration and freezing

1 cup mashed pumpkin or winter squash, fresh or canned

3 cups of fresh apple cider

2 tablespoons of peeled and finely chopped ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of honey

3 tablespoons dark rum or bourbon (optional)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine the pumpkin or squash with 1 cup of the cider until well incorporated. Stir in the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and honey. Bring to a boil over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Transfer to a medium bowl, stir in the remaining 2 cups of cider, add rum or bourbon if used and vanilla. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight, until very cold.

Stir the mixture in your ice cream maker for about 45 minutes, until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Transfer to a container and freeze for at least 2 hours to firm. To serve, transfer the sorbet to the refrigerator and let it soften for about an hour before serving.

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