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Holiday favorites: Desserts

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie. (Julia Ewan/The Washington Post)

Nothing seems sweeter than a slice of pie with friends at the end of the Big Meal. Note to guests: I recommend you take a breather between courses so you will be able to appreciate the dessert efforts of the cook(s).

Although everyone oohs and aahs over the turkey, it is likely that dessert took more time and care to make: pie crusts and fillings, oven times and cooling times. Planning ahead is key. Pie crusts for fillings such as sweet potato, pumpkin and pecan can (and, in some cases, should) be made a few days in advance, then baked the day before. This Cream Cheese Pie Crust will work for just about any filling. Nut pies can be covered and stored at room temperature.

Thanksgiving is one feast where a sampling of desserts is appreciated. If you have time, make more than one, or ask guests to supplement. Here are some favorites from our archives; I tend to think of flavors instead of dessert type (i.e., pie, cake, custard).

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie. This is my family's favorite. Whenever I spend Thanksgiving away from home, this is what I miss. The apple butter gives the filling a balanced, complex flavor.

Candied-Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie. (Allison Dinner)

Candied-Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie. This covers several taste sensation if you can only offer one.

Pumpkin Caramel Pudding. If you want to have pumpkin on the dessert buffet, but don't want to make a pie.

Pumpkin Pecan Pudding Cake. If you want to make a cake with the same seasonal flavors.


Caramel-Apple Pie. This is a meltingly delicious rendition of a classic.
Maida's Big Apple Pie. The queen of American baking gives her version to impress a crowd.

Caramel-Apple Pie. (Allison Dinner)

Cranberry Apple Crisp. If you want the apple flavors, but don't want to make a pie crust.

Alternative endings

If you want some flavors that match the cold weather, but want to play with tradition a little these might fit the bill:

Eggnog Bread Pudding Bites With Quick Maple-Blueberry Sauce. These are a great addition to the usual pies.

Pear and Almond Frangipane. I love the flavors of pear and almond. A very sophisticated way to end the meal.

Cranberry Cheese Tart With Sour Cream Glaze. (Renee Comet)

Cranberry Cheese Tart With Sour Cream Glaze. The texture of the cream cheese gives balance to the tart berries.

-- Leigh Lambert

By Leigh Lambert  |  November 17, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Thanksgiving  | Tags: Leigh Lambert, Thanksgiving, dessert, holiday favorites  
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This Cranberry Pecan Upside-down Pumpkin cake is incredible:

Posted by: emunsey | November 18, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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