When you think of Thanksgiving, the first dessert that probably comes to mind is a picture-perfect fall pie. But some of our best sweet Thanksgiving recipes don’t have a crust at all. These surprising desserts like squash pudding cooked in a cast-iron skillet or a pumpkin cake will prove that you don’t need pie as your final bite at the Thanksgiving feast. Top off your meal with our best Thanksgiving dessert recipes that aren’t pie.
Cast-Iron Squash Pudding
This luscious, cakelike pudding, made with milk-poached butternut squash batter and crowned with caramel-drenched delicata, rides the line perfectly between side dish and dessert, “kind of like yams with marshmallows,” says Joe Beef’s Red Morin, who serves it with caramel sauce or sweetened whipped cream. For an easy caramel sauce and squash topping (pictured right), double or triple the quantities of delicata and granulated sugar, and repeat step 4 as needed. Or if you want to amp up the savory nature of the dish, nix the caramel and offer grated cheddar at the table. Get the recipe for Cast-Iron Squash Pudding »
Wood-Roasted Apples with Burnt Cinnamon Caramel
Dried Apricot and Fig Clafoutis with Rum
Clafoutis is a French dessert that’s trickier to pronounce than to make. A simple mixture of flour, eggs, dairy, and a little sugar, it’s like a pancake, but more custardy, and it’s baked instead of griddled. It looks and tastes impressive the way classic French desserts often do, but it’s simple enough to whip up any weeknight. Rum-soaked dried apricots, figs, and raisins add their caramelized and honeyed flavors to this creamy version, perfect for cold weather when there’s no fresh fruit around. Get the recipe for Dried Apricot and Fig Clafoutis with Rum »
Use this bittersweet caramel brittle as a topping to kick up store-bought pumpkin pie—substitute dried coconut flakes and chopped macadamia nuts to pair with a Key lime pie, or dried lavender and slivered almonds for a chocolate cream pie. It also makes a great gift: a fall party favor, wrapped in cellophane and handed off as your guests make their exit. Get the recipe for Peptia-Sage Brittle »