Fruity Fall Desserts

When autumn comes blustering in, have the cake pan ready

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.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Pear Tarte Tatin

This tart is traditionally made with apples, but firm-fleshed pears make a delicate and delicious alternative. Get the recipe for Pear Tarte Tatin »

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Mascarpone

Enjoy pumpkin spiced cake as an indulgent breakfast or teatime treat.

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.

Pear and Ginger Pie with Streusel Topping

Fresh ginger gives the filling of this pear pie a warming kick of spice, balanced by the buttery crumble of sweet streusel.

Persimmon Pudding

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.

Roasted Dates with Sherry and Spices

Sweet dates are roasted in a cinnamon-spiced sherry syrup.

Caramel-Apple Pie

A cinnamon-spiced sauce of butter and melted caramel candies poured over apples makes a wonderfully sweet, gooey pie filling.

Apple Pie Ice Cream Pie

Apple Pie Ice Cream Pie

Spice Applesauce Cake

Applesauce adds moisture and sweet apple flavor in a lovely cinnamon-spiced, autumnal cake.

Apple-Rosemary Lattice Pie

A rosemary-laced cornmeal crust adds a fragrant, savory dimension to classic apple pie. Get the recipe for Apple-Rosemary Lattice Pie »

Plum Tart

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.

Plum Pie

Grape jelly intensifies the flavor of ripe plums in this sweet-tart summer pie from Drummond Ranch pie contestant Tracy Harris.

Torta di Sant’Antonio (Sant’Antonio Apple Tart)

Cooks in the Italian Alpine village of Oulx flavor this tart with red wine and cinnamon to honor the town’s patron saint, Sant’Antonio. Get the recipe for Torta di Sant’Antonio (Sant’Antonio Apple Tart) »

Spiced Persimmon Frozen Yogurt

Classic frozen yogurt gets a boost from floral persimmon and toasted spices.

Cranberry Chiffon Pie

Fresh or frozen cranberries make the base for this tart custard pie.

Nanny’s Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake

With a streusel topping and pie-like dough, this Rosh Hashanah apple dessert is half cake, half pie. Get the recipe for Nanny’s Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake »

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.

Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes

If you find yourself with a surplus of fresh cranberries, these elegant cakes are the perfect solution. They can be cooked in individual miniature pans, or in a single skillet for convenience. Get the recipe for Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes »

Shortbread and Prune Jam Layer Cake (Vínarterta)

This special-occasion cake features layers of cardamom-scented shortbread baked until golden and lightly crisp, sandwiching homemade prune filling under a thin coffee glaze.

Pumpkin, Pecan, and Gingersnap Ice Cream

Layered with gingersnap cookies and pecans, this refreshing ice cream has all the spicy sweet flavors of pumpkin pie.

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 »

Port Wine Poached Pears

Poaching Bosc pears in port wine turns them a beautiful, vibrant red. Get the recipe for Port Wine Poached Pears »

Plum Strudel

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.

Apple Crumble with Hot Custard

We enjoyed this warm and comforting dessert while visiting a sheep farm in new Zealand. Get the recipe for Apple Crumble with Hot Custard »