Pear and quince are a match made in heaven; both are sweet, flavorful, and perfectly complimented by vanilla. Helen Rosner
When the air turns crisp and the holidays edge ever closer, then it’s time to put away the bathing suits and pull out the pie plates.
While some might say the turn of the fall season is to say goodbye to sweet ripe fruit, we say: ARE YOU KIDDING!? Sure, it’ll be another year before we get a prime strawberry or peach, but with fall comes pears, and apples, and persimmons, and quince, and figs, and the list goes on. Here, these luscious autumn fruits are coaxed into beautiful pies, tarts, cakes, and crumbles—even ice cream (ice cream doesn’t end with summer either!).
So get baking—after all, Thanksgiving is right around the corner; and you have plenty pumpkin desserts to try out before the big day.
Hungarian Plum Cake (Szilvás Pite)
Yogurt adds a slight tartness to this cake from home cook Mária Keresztes Kovács. While any stone-fruit may be substituted, plums—especially Italian plums—are in season well into autumn.
Fig Ice Cream
Ripe black mission figs, sweet brown sugar, and just a hint of cinnamon combine beautifully in this swirled ice cream, as lovely to look at as it is to eat.
Eva Powell, a former elementary-school librarian in Mitchell, Indiana, has won the town’s pudding contest five times with her recipe for persimmon pudding with a crispy, cake-like crust.
Lebanese Date Shortbread (Ma’amoul)
These Lebanese shortbread cookies feature a buttery pastry scented with rose and orange blossom waters wrapped around a cinnamon and nutmeg–spiced date filling.
Nelson Pear Pie
A pie filled with fresh pears, drizzled with cream, and sprinkled with sugar and flour makes an incredibly simple, elegant dessert.
Debesmanna (Cranberry Mousse)
Farina undergoes an unexpected transformation from hot cereal to airy pudding in this tart-sweet Latvian dessert, which is typically served with milk poured on top.
A cinnamon-spiced sauce of butter and melted caramel candies poured over apples makes a wonderfully sweet, gooey pie filling.
Spice Applesauce Cake
Applesauce adds moisture and sweet apple flavor in a lovely cinnamon-spiced, autumnal cake.
The recipe for this quick and easy tart comes from the fifth edition of Joy of Cooking (Bobbs-Merrill, 1963), and features crushed amaretti cookies, walnuts, and brandy-soaked raisins.
Caramel Apples with Nuts
What could be better than gooey, delicious caramel-coated apples? Gooey, delicious caramel-coated apples with nuts.
Grape jelly intensifies the flavor of ripe plums in this sweet-tart summer pie from Drummond Ranch pie contestant Tracy Harris.
Concord Grape Pie
This recipe comes from the so-called Grape Pie Queen of Naples, New York, Irene Bouchard. She started baking these sweet pies in the early ’70’s.
Classic Apple Pie
Simple and delicious, this recipe brings out the sweet flavor of the apples. Three days before the feast, start prepping by making the pie dough for both pies, the cranberry sauce, and the mashed potatoes. Bring your bird home at least two days before Thanksgiving so you have ample time to presalt, a simple step that keeps the turkey juicy and intensifies its natural flavors.
Get the recipe for Classic Apple Pie »
This satisfying pastry layers plum preserves and walnuts for a gooey, crumbly cake.
Vanilla-Scented Quince and Pear Pie
This sweet, tart fruit pie is a beautiful showcase for the flavors of fall and winter. It’s great on a holiday table, and is at its best when served alongside a plate of cheese: the rich quince flavor balances beautifully with a wedge of funky, crumbly blue beside it on the plate.