Best Ever Thanksgiving Desserts
Pear Almond Crostata
This flaky crostata recipe relies on fruit for its sweetness instead of a lot of added sugar, so be sure to use only ripe pears. If they're rock-hard, put them in a paper bag with an apple or banana on the kitchen counter for a few days.
One bite of this light and airy cranberry-lime cheesecake recipe and it will become your go-to recipe for dessert. Part-skim ricotta cheese adds a delicate texture and stands in for some of the higher-fat cream cheese. Be sure to use a large, wide piece of heavy-duty foil to wrap the pan--the foil helps prevent water from seeping into the cake as it bakes.
Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar
Here's a healthy--and adorable--twist on deep-dish apple pie. This mini apple pie recipe will give you just a bit of something sweet and the melted wedge of Cheddar on top is a nod to the New England tradition of serving cheese with apple pie.
Chocolate-Sweet Potato Parfait
This healthy chocolate mousse recipe gets its body from sweet potato rather than eggs. Both the mousse and the meringue cookies can be made ahead of time, so all you have to do is assemble the parfaits when you're ready for dessert.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap-Walnut Crust
We pulled out a few of our favorite EatingWell tricks to achieve plenty of creaminess in our pumpkin cheesecake without all the saturated fat of a typical recipe: nutrient-packed canned pumpkin and pureed nonfat cottage cheese replace some of the cream cheese. A touch of pumpkin pie spice warms up the flavor. For the crust, shop the natural-foods section for gingersnaps without any hydrogenated oil. Simple toasted walnuts are an elegant garnish. Or try making candied walnuts. Just be careful not to eat all of them before they make it to the cake!
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Maple Sauce
This is a healthier version of the gooey-rich sticky toffee pudding recipe served in the winter at Joanne Chang's Asian restaurant Myers+Chang in Boston. Lightly sweetened with maple syrup, the cake is chock-full of rich, naturally sweet dates. Adapted from Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, 2015).
Double Nut & Date Tassies
The two-bite pecan tarts satisfy the sweet tooth with far less guilt than pecan pie.
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. We've combined the two in these elegant custards, featuring the best part of a pumpkin pie and saving calories for a luscious finish of real whipped cream. If you can find it, use Grade B dark amber syrup to get the best maple flavor.
Eggnog Pie with Cranberry Sauce
This healthy custard pie recipe combines the flavors of gingerbread and eggnog into a festive holiday dessert. An easy cranberry sauce balances the sweetness of the pie with a touch of tartness. To lighten the load of holiday baking, each element can be prepared up to 5 days ahead.
Fried Apple Pie Rolls
In this healthy take on apple pie, wonton wrappers stand in for pie crust, saving you calories and the headache of rolling out dough. We like to use Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape and provide tart balance to the sweet filling. Try dipping these handheld crispy treats in whipped cream.
Spiced Pumpkin Pie
This boldly spiced classic pumpkin pie recipe can be made with canned pumpkin puree, a roasted pie pumpkin or roasted squash. Make your own healthy pastry dough or look for a store-bought frozen pie crust without any partially hydrogenated oils.
Chocolate-Almond Galette with Caramel Hazelnuts
This thin, beautiful chocolate-almond galette recipe with caramelized hazelnuts makes a spectacular dessert for any meal. Serve this rustic chocolate tart topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream or yogurt.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
This rustic cake is a delicious alternative to pie and uses one of the tastiest fruits of the fall harvest--cranberries. The basic recipe is very versatile and can be made with apples, pears, peaches, plums or any full-flavored, slightly acidic fruit. Just arrange the fruit in the skillet before you pour the batter over it. The cake is best served warm; if you can, put it in the oven just before you sit down to dinner. Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate cream pie isn't just a diner special--it's the perfect dessert for any celebration. We love the added flair of chocolate curls on top, but a pretty dollop of whipped cream on each piece would look just as elegant.
Maple-Ginger Apple Pie
In this healthy apple pie recipe, a touch of maple syrup spiked with lemon zest, cinnamon and ground ginger coats the apples while they bake. Serve this amazing homemade pie with lightly sweetened whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Caramelized Pear Custard Pie
This custard pie recipe elevates the simple pear to something heavenly. The pears are lightly caramelized, baked into vanilla custard, then topped with a cinnamon caramel sauce just before serving.
Pear, Apple & Cranberry Tarte Tatin
This ultimate fall and winter tart showcases the best fruits of the season: pears, apples and cranberries. Unlike other tarts, the tarte tatin is made upside down in a skillet. You start by cooking the fruit, then top it with the dough, carefully tuck in the edges and let it cook. When it's ready you invert the whole tart onto a plate. It comes out looking beautiful and is actually much easier than you might imagine.
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.
Cranberry Meringue Pie
If you're a fan of lemon meringue pie, you'll love this festive cranberry meringue pie recipe. For the fluffiest meringue, set your eggs out at room temperature for about 15 minutes or submerge (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm water for 5 minutes before beating--egg whites at room temperature will gain more volume than cold whites.
Caramel Cream Cheese Custard (Flan de Queso)
Every panaderia (bakery) in Puerto Rico has many flavors of flan, from vanilla to guava. Reduced-fat cream cheese gives this version a rich, comforting texture.
Nut & Honey Biscotti
This crunchy Italian cookie recipe isn't traditionally very sweet, so just a touch of honey adds flavor along with mild sweetness. Dipping them in chocolate makes them extra special.
Maple Pecan Tart with Dried Cherries
This pecan tart gets added tang from dried cherries. Instead of corn syrup, which is found in most pecan pie recipes, we've opted for maple syrup. If you can find it, choose dark amber or grade B, because it has the richest maple flavor. The crust, made with heart-healthy pecans and canola oil, couldn't be easier to whip together. Just blend it in the food processor and pat it into your tart pan.