Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Marshmallows on top
Erin McDowell’s Pumpkin Pie from The Book On Pie with Homemade Toasted Marshmallows!

Are you like me and feel that every season is starting to creep into the last? What I mean is that every holiday season, official or unofficial, seems to be starting earlier and earlier. We’ve all seen those Christmas decorations showing up before Halloween, right? I don’t think this is a bad thing, especially when it comes to seasonal dessert flavors. A good example is pumpkin desserts. It’s a distinct flavor and one that is so distinctly tied to fall that its seasonality will always be at least somewhat baked in, but who doesn’t want to let pumpkin creep into more of their life? With that in mind, whether it’s early September or late February, here are some of my favorite pumpkin desserts to enjoy.

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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.

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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

There seem to be two schools of thought about Thanksgiving desserts. Those who must have pumpkin pie and those who avoid anything pumpkin, other than the spice mix. I am squarely in the pumpkin camp and so is my whole family, but if you or someone you love is not, these Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to ease into using the Thanksgiving essential and give a loving gesture to those who adore pumpkin.

The base of these bars comes from Michelle Lopez’s new book Weeknight Baking, which is made up of great recipes that are quick and easy enough to fit into everyone’s busy schedule, even at the holidays. I added the swirl of pumpkin, which is also super easy and fast, but makes them just right for this week. Michelle has lots of great ideas for jazzing up the cheesecake bars and once you see my technique for swirling, you can add your own flair. You can easily make these in time for the big Turkey Day and I suggest making a double batch, so you have leftovers to snack on and stick into school lunches. 

Watch me make these cheesecake bars on my Instagram.

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Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bundt Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bundt Cake | ZoeBakes by Zoë François

I made this Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake with my friend Andrew Zimmern. You can watch us working pumpkin magic in the kitchen together in the video below.

I recently made a pumpkin pie and roasted several pumpkins and squash, so I have lots of great gourd puree on hand and this is one of my all-time favorite cakes, so I wanted to share it with you.

The chocolate pumpkin bundt cake I made with Andrew has a rather thin line of chocolate streusel and I went for a bolder chocolate layer when I put the recipe in my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes. That is reflected in the recipe and directions below. You can roast your own pumpkin or use canned, either is terrific for this easy and tasty cake.

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Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie

buttermilk pumpkin streusel pie | ZoeBakes photos by Zoë François

I discovered Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski and this Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie, on Instagram, where I find so much great inspiration. One of the first things I discovered about Lisa and her bakers is that they dance in the kitchen. These are my people! This pie cemented my admiration. It is all the things I love in a pumpkin pie and more. The pumpkin filling is not too sweet, because of the tang of buttermilk and it is combined with a crunchy streusel made with pepitas and buckwheat. It is a combination of traditional and uniquely Sister Pie. If you have the good fortune of being in Detroit, you should visit their shop, but until then, get the book, it’s a gem.

Lisa generously shared the recipe with us below.*

Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust.

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