Easy as Pie: Desserts for Thanksgiving

Are you tasked with bringing dessert to Thanksgiving? Or maybe just hoping to volunteer? In some ways, it’s the easiest job: dessert so much easier to like than green beans. But Thanksgiving desserts can be tricky because you’re playing with traditions. Everyone already has an idea of what their favorite pumpkin pie should taste like!

So if you’re just looking to tweak the classics, here’s a trick that might help you make it memorable—in a good way.

Make it beautiful. 

There aren’t a whole lot of variables to apple pie, but you can still get it wrong. So stick to a tried-and-true recipe and instead play with appearance. I spotted the most beautiful variation on a classic apple pie on MissJordanKelley‘s Instagram feed, featuring rosettes. You can simply modify your favorite recipe to omit the top crust…

To make rosettes, you’ll need a mandoline and a muffin tin for the next step: Instead of slicing the apples with a paring knife, use a mandoline to get flat slices. Using a thin setting on the mandoline, slice each of your apples so as to leave a little bit of red peel on the edges. Gently toss the apple slices in a bowl of a little bit of lemon juice and sugar (about 2 tablespoons is all). Start by making a circle of one of your smallest slices. Hold it tight while you wrap a second slice around the outside, making sure the peel stays visible on top. Continue adding larger slices all the way around. When you are about half way to your ideal size, set it in your muffin tin and add more slices to it there. It will likely unfurl a little, but eventually you can transfer the rosettes to the pie shell. A good rule of thumb is about 2-3 rosettes per apple, and 14-18 rosettes per pie.

Once the rosettes are in place, you can brush them with melted butter and cinnamon, before sprinkling with sugar. When baking, check to make sure the tops of the rosettes aren’t getting too brown. If they are, loosely set a piece of foil over the top.

And if you’re not interested in losing that double crust, check out this beautiful version she made using pie dough leaf cuts. Just be sure to dip whatever cookie cutter or knife you use into flour to prevent pulling your dough and work on a cool, floured surface. You could also just make a few leaf cuts to adorn any pie.

If you’re still left scratching your head for a winning apple pie recipe, try Epicurious or New York Times. 

And some other fall favorites from the archives:

Honey Graham Hasselback Apples

Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Pistachio Pomegranate Cake

Pumpkin Delight (my family’s take on the dump cake)

What dessert do you look forward to at Thanksgiving? 

P.S. Hosting a Friendsgiving

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category