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Leave room for the best part of the feast: gorgeous holiday desserts brimming with fall flavors.
For any other night of the year, one dessert is more than enough, but Thanksgiving seems to demand an array of desserts as generous as the meal that preceded it. You want to be sure that there is something for every taste‚Äë"No thanks, none for me" is virtually not an option‚Äëand that the flavors and colors are right in step with the seasonal theme of the day.
This year, as I do most years, I started by choosing a pumpkin dessert. Whether in the form of a pie or cheesecake or baked into fruit-studded cookies, ending with meal with the sweet, piquant flavors of pumpkin and warm spices is as de rigueur as serving mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce with the turkey. Pumpkin pie is the obvious choice, but to mix it up I'm putting a new spin on the classic by adding persimmon to the filling and brushing the crust with a bit of apricot preserves for a triple hit of bold orange flavors; I find the slightly astringent, floral persimmon pulp goes especially well with the earthy pumpkin (and I always pick up a few extra persimmons to add to my tablescape!) and the apricot adds a hit of brightness.
Apples are perhaps the quintessential fall fruit, and big chunks green apple keep maple-sweetened fruit-and-nut cake moist and tender. Since it's made with oil rather than butter, this cake is a good choice for any vegan diners (just leave off the cream cheese icing). Don't sweat it if you have leftovers; this cake will be equally nice over the holiday weekend with a cup of tea or toasted for breakfast. And because it just isn't dessert in my book if chocolate doesn't make an appearance, I'll complete the spread with an uber-rich mascarpone pound cake generously cloaked in a lush chocolate glaze.
Happy baking, and from my kitchen to you and yours, have a sweet holiday!