10 Days of Thanksgiving: Eat Dessert First!

Puff Pastry Pear Tartlets
Photo: Food and Wine
A few days ago I wrote that pumpkin, apple and pecan pies are the most popular Thanksgiving pie flavors. They're popular but they're also predictable so I'd like to share two twists on Thanksgiving dessert: 1) Creative alternatives to the typical fanfare, and; 2) A list of the BEST traditional recipes one can find. No matter which route you go, your guests will find room for dessert!

1. Puff Pastry Pear Tartlets
“I had the honor of cooking for Julia Child’s 80th birthday party at the home of a former F&W editor in chief,” says Grace Parisi. “At the end of the evening, Child graciously asked, ‘Who made that looovely dessert?’ I managed to croak out, ‘I did.’ These tartlets are a variation on that recipe.” - Grace Parisi of Food and Wine

2. Banana-Chocolate Chip with Peanut Butter Frosting
This cake is perfect for beginners—it's moist, forgiving, and easy. Jif creamy peanut butter is our favorite for the decadent frosting. - BonAppetit

This extraordinarily rich and sweet pecan pie was the winner at the 1996 State Fair of Texas State pie competition, which Dean Fearing helped judge. "Out of 140 pies, this one was it," he says. "Her name was Bobby Lee; she never told me her last name." - Food and Wine

Banana-Chocolate Chip with Peanut Butter Frosting
Photo: Bon Appetit
This tart was inspired by a pumpkin mousse with mashed banana and orange zest that Ina's mother made for years for Thanksgiving. It's lighter and much more flavorful than that cloying old pumpkin pie, and people really do go nuts for it. - Oprah

A tried-and-true pumpkin pie recipe from the 'Butter Queen', Paula Deen herself.

"Apple pie" conjures warmth, aroma, taste, and togetherness. This one is filled with Granny Smith apples and is tucked into a buttery crust. - Martha Stewart

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