With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it might be easy to let your turkey-day dessert turn into an afterthought. But tight time constraints are no reason to prevent you from whipping together a homemade dessert that will please everyone. Here are some simple but delicious last-minute ideas:
As elaborate as a soufflé may sound, this delicious sweet potato recipe from Martha Stewart requires only 15 minutes of preparation time.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, 3 large eggs (room temperature, separated), 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 cup maple syrup, salt, whipped cream (optional), plus extra butter and sugar for the soufflé dish
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, then butter a soufflé dish. Sprinkle the dish with sugar and set it aside. Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, then stir together until golden. Whisk in the milk and continue stirring until thickened. After removing from heat, mix in the sweet potato mash, egg yolks, nutmeg and maple syrup. Beat the egg whites together with a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until stiff peaks begin to form. Whisk a quarter of the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture, then simply fold in the rest of the egg whites with a spatula. Transfer the final mixture into the soufflé dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes on a baking sheet until puffed. Serve with whipped cream.
Food and Wine's version of the classic American apple dessert uses toasted brioche to give it a light, buttery texture.
Ingredients: 6 cups cubed brioche, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of salt, 4 pounds apples (peeled, cored and thinly sliced), 1/2 cup apple cider, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350, then toast the cubed brioche on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes. After it cools, pulse the toasted cubes in a food processor until they are coarse crumbs. Spread a third of the crumbs evenly on a buttered baking dish. Combine the sugar in a bowl with the lemon zest, orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Organize half of the sliced apples over the crumbs in the baking dish and top with half of the sugar mixture. Mix the cider with the lemon and orange juices in a different bowl, then drizzle the mixture over the apples. Layer another third of the crumbs and the remaining apples and sugar mixture. Use the remaining crumbs to cover. Shave the butter thinly with a knife and dot it over the top of the crumbs. Bake for about an hour in the center of the oven until the apples are tender. Be sure to cover the baking dish during the last 15 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Requiring only 5 ingredients, this great pear dessert from Epicurious is as simple as they come.
Ingredients: 1 large egg, 1 14- to 17-ounce box of puff pastry (defrosted according to package directions), 2 large Anjou pears (with skin on), 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Roll the puff pastry out on a floured surface and create a seam on the longer sides of the pastry. Brush the egg mixture on the seams and use a rolling pin to seal them. Line pastry on parchment paper and fold the sides over toward the center to form a half-inch border on all four sides. Use a paring knife to make small cuts along the border of the pastry. Be sure to refrigerate until ready to use. Slice the pears into quarter-inch slices and toss with sugar. Arrange on the pastry and brush the surface with the egg mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. After taking out of the oven, brush surface with maple syrup and slice into squares.
Serious Eats warns that this chocolate brickle recipe is addictive, which is probably the only thing you have to worry about since it’s a breeze to make.
Ingredients: About 16 graham crackers, 2 sticks unsalted butter (diced), 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 10 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate chips, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (sea salt)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350, then cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cover paper with graham crackers. Heat butter, sugar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it comes to boil and thickens, about 3 minutes. Pour this mixture over the graham crackers. Place the covered graham crackers in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. After removing from the oven, cover the caramel with the chocolate chips and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate chips evenly across the top of the caramel. Top with cranberries, walnuts and fleur de sel. Allow to cool before serving.
This delicious gluten-free vegan option comes from the healthy-living site One Green Planet and also offers a great energy boost for that post-turkey lethargy.
Ingredients: Crust: 1 cup pecans, 1/2 cup pitted dates, 1 cup unsweetened ground coconut, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (adjust to taste), 1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract. Filling: 1 cup pitted dates, 1 cup pecans, 1 1/2 large ripe bananas, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or to taste), 2 teaspoons ground ginger, ground coconut and cocoa nibs for topping
Directions: Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth then set aside. Use the food processor to then blend the crust ingredients together until they form a dough-like consistency. Press crust mixture into a greased pan then top with filling. Spread the filling evenly with a spatula. Top with ground coconut and cocoa nibs and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer right before serving and cut into bars. Serve immediately.
If you still want to commit to traditional (albeit time-consuming) Thanksgiving dessert staples, Williams-Sonoma offers this simple pumpkin pie recipe that will taste like you put in far more effort than you did.
Ingredients: 1 flaky pastry dough disk (at cool room temperature), 3 eggs, 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 15 ounces pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk, whipped cream for serving (optional)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round and ease it into a 9-inch pie dish, trimming the edges to make a 1-inch overhang. Pinch the overhang under the rim, then prick the bottom of the dough before freezing for 5 minutes. Bake the pastry shell for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to allow it to cool completely. Turn down the oven to 375. Prepare the pie filling by combining in a bowl whisked eggs with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt. Add the pumpkin puree and half-and-half and mix together until blended. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let the pie cool before serving (with optional whipped cream).