I’m about to admit something that may change how you see me. I simply just don’t like pumpkin pie. I know. I know. I’m a total monster. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s because one year at Thanksgiving my grandmother forgot to add the sugar to hers and pie without sugar is borderline traumatic when you’re 8 years old. Whatever the reason, pumpkin pie just isn’t for me. That said when the holidays roll around, I do make a pumpkin pie as to not ruin any one else’s holiday expectations, but I always add a second or third option in the mix in hopes to convince my dining companions to come over to my side. If you’re like me and don’t like pumpkin pie or if you simply just want to mix up your dessert game this holiday season, here are just a few of my favorite desserts to literally bring to the table.
Southern food and comfort food are obviously synonymous and in my house, the holidays is all about comfort food. For this reason, peach cobbler has been a go to dessert for years. I personally love this version from Grandbaby Cakes which I make with fresh peaches in the summer but is just as delicious with canned peaches (or frozen fresh peaches if you had the foresight) in the holiday months.
My passion for homemade butterscotch pudding came when I discovered that butterscotch budino is basically heaven on earth. I wanted to make a similar dessert at home but something not as decadent at the same time. Enter butterscotch pudding from scratch. It’s an easy treat that brings nostalgia to the table every time. I love this recipe from Queenslee Appetit with one tiny change. I add sea salt and Marcona almonds on top for a bit of savoriness to this uber sweet treat.
CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CAKE
It probably sounds sacrilegious to serve chocolate cake at Thanksgiving but I do it and it’s devoured every single time. I go for a super homespun, multi-tier chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing like this recipe from Food & Wine. I put it on my prettiest cake platter and make it the centerpiece of the dessert table. If I’m being honest, I may or may not make the cake simply because I love how it looks amongst all the other sweets, but either way, it’s a delicious and welcome addition to the menu.
Truth be told, my family just loves bread pudding. Whether it’s perfect for Thanksgiving or not, this is and always will be a hit amongst the crowd I’m cooking for. I’m personally obsessed with this Cinnamon Crunch Bread Pudding with a Creme Anglaise sauce from Seasons and Suppers. It’s delicious for dessert and perfect for a super sweet brunch treat.
SWEET POTATO PIE
I know it sounds crazy that I like Sweet Potato Pie and not Pumpkin but they are way, way different in my humble opinion. Sweet potato is just a bit sweeter, just a bit subtler and overall smoother. I just love it. Especially this Deep South version from Divas Can Cook. I usually pair it with a homemade whipped cream (I just use a simple recipe like this on from The Food Network) and watch as guests eat every crumb.
APPLE CINNAMON SHORTCAKE
I love a good shortcake no matter the season. In the summer I opt for berries, peaches or even citrus. In the winter, apples do the trick. I use this recipe from Taste of Home as a base and depending on the crowd, I make it a little more holiday inspired by adding cranberries. It’s a super filling, comfort dessert that guests love every time.
PEAR ALMOND TART
Like many people, I waited tables in college and fell in love with the most amazing pear almond tart at one of the places I worked along the way. This tart is delicate and the marzipan makes it feel super elegant. If I’m attending a holiday dinner as a guest or having a fancy holiday brunch, this is my go to dessert for a bit more elevated option. I love this recipe from A Beautiful Plate but it does take a little extra work than the others. It’s always well worth it but leave yourself some extra time to prepare the pears and form the tart.
And in case you want to step up your baking game, here are just a few of my favorite tools for making and presenting beautiful desserts.
1 Dansk Kobenstyle Large Baker | 2 Lattice Cutter for Pies and other treats | 3 Constellation Pie Plate | 4 French Marble Rolling Pin | 5 Deco Weck Jar Set | 6 KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer | 7 Essential Baker Set
What desserts do you love this time of year? I’d love to find a few new recipes to try myself.