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5 essential desserts to wow your Thanksgiving guests

By Penelope Wall, November 13, 2009 - 11:23am

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Here’s why I love desserts so much: when they’re really good, they have the power to move people. Everyone remembers a really great dessert. A truly memorable meal begs for a fantastic dessert to make it complete—to give you an excuse to linger at the table just a little longer. Whether you’re hosting the whole shebang this Thanksgiving or just bringing a dish to share, these special Thanksgiving desserts will make a lasting impression (and it doesn’t hurt that they’re healthy too!)

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
This gooey cake is insanely delicious and makes for a very pretty presentation. The basic recipe uses one of the tastiest fruits of the fall harvest—cranberries—but can be made with apples, pears, peaches or plums too.

Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake
You don't have to have pumpkin pie to still enjoy pumpkin and spice in a Thanksgiving dessert. This tender, moist cake uses pureed pumpkin to replace much of the fat and is delicately seasoned with classic Thanksgiving flavors.

Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust
A sublime silky chocolate custard fills this simple hazelnut shortbread crust. Serve garnished with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts for a special touch.

Maple-Pumpkin Custards with Crystallized Ginger
A Thanksgiving meal wouldn't be complete without pumpkin, and here in Vermont we wouldn’t dream of excluding our beloved maple syrup. I love that these elegant custards feature the best of both worlds in one little dish.

Caramel Cream Cheese Custard (Flan de Queso)
My Puerto Rican grandmother made the best flan in the world. It may not be a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but for Thanksgiving a few years ago my sister and I made my grandmother’s famous flan. My grandmother was touched. And I’m sure if I had looked hard enough I would’ve seen a tear in my grandfather’s eye.

What's your vote: is it really Thanksgiving if there's no pumpkin pie? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Penelope Wall, Food Blog

Penelope Wall
Penelope is Senior Digital Editor for EatingWell.

Penelope asks: What's your vote: is it really Thanksgiving if there's no pumpkin pie?

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