Thanksgiving Desserts

If you’re like me, by the time November hits you’re already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving desserts. The holiday meal, of course, has plenty to offer, but what stands out more to your guests than the grand finale? Whether you are looking for simple or classic fall flavors, or want to try something a little different this year, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite Thanksgiving Desserts. Of course, if you want to keep it simple, you can always make a classic apple pie. Or better yet, if your guest list is big enough make the apple pie and one or two of these recipes.

Purple Sweet Potato Pie with a mound of an Italian meringue inspired by Esther Williams (anyone younger than me will have to google her).
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This is a combination of my pumpkin spice bundt cake — another Midwestern classic — and a caramelly apple crisp. It’s perfect straight from the oven with a scoop of ice cream as dessert, then served warm the next morning for breakfast.
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A twist on basic pumpkin cake, this pumpkin spice cake is covered in beautifully torched balsamic cinnamon meringue with bittersweet ganache between the layers. This cake is made of several recipes from my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes.
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The perfumed sweetness of the pears in this cake meets the warmth of candied ginger and cardamom to create a sophisticated combination that tastes as comforting as Grandma's house feels.
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Aran Goyoaga's new book Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple includes this amazing recipe for meringue cake with roasted apples. I made it as written, except I did mine with pears. Aran has graciously allowed me to share her recipe with you.
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Fanny Lam's original recipe was pure and simple, which is a lovely thing in a day of over complicated recipes, but I decided to add a bit of coffee flavor to the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, to recreate the flavor of my childhood memory.
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This Parsnip Cranberry Cake is the sophisticated cousin to Carrot Cake. It is just as satisfying and comforting as the carrot version, but it is all its own flavor and delicious. It is perfect with the tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting and tart candied cranberry garnish.
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This pie from Shauna Sever's book, Midwest Made, is all about the deep chocolate flavor. Be sure to use a high quality, bitter chocolate (70-75% cacao) or the pie can get very sweet, FAST! In her book the pie is topped with a homemade Cool Whip, which is 100% in keeping with the traditional pie. I left the cream unstabilized and unsweetened, because I like the contrast of the sweet filling to the clean, rich cream on top, you choose which way to go.
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I know pumpkin can be a divisive flavor, even inside families. Grandma may love it. Uncle Bob may hate it. But pumpkin is sure to end up on most Thanksgiving tables. I love these bars as a pumpkin compromise because they are a great way to ease into the Thanksgiving essential, and give a loving gesture to those who adore pumpkin.
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A beautiful tart is a sophisticated dish to add to any table. The pears, almond cream and toasted almonds in this recipe are perfect compliments to one another visually and in flavor. I love serving this dish for the holidays because it is elegant, but simple to make. The tart dough is from SWEET by Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi.
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To make the pie extra special, roast your own pumpkin. I promise it is it worth it, and not nearly as hard as it sounds. Canned is fine too, and no matter how you get your pumpkin flavor, the resulting combination of flavors in this pie is a must for your dessert table.
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