Thanksgiving is not really a day for moderation. Once you’ve made it through the turkey, dressing, potatoes, sides, fresh vegetable or two, and whatever it is that makes your family meal uniquely yours, dessert awaits. But which dessert(s) will you bring to the table?

So glad you asked.

Our recipe collection has seen the addition of many holiday-worthy desserts over the years. To save you the trouble of scrolling through the more than 70 options in our archives, we’ve pulled out five of the best, and offered a few alternatives along the way. Because who has time to sift through all the Thanksgiving content you’re being bombarded with? We’ve done the sifting for you.

Fluffy Pumpkin Buttermilk Pie, above. This is not your average pumpkin pie. The gingersnap crust caramelizes and provides a crunchy texture boost, while the filling is light and fluffy thanks to whipped egg whites. We make a bit of a fuss about the variety of cinnamon you use here, but if that’s an obstacle to making this pie, you have our permission to ignore our advice; just know that a stronger-tasting cinnamon will mean a less subtly spiced pie. Also know that the crust works well with gluten-free gingersnaps.

Other pumpkin ideas: Vegan Pumpkin Pie With Coconut Cream (with molasses and pureed pecans!); Pumpkin-Caramel Tart With Toasted Hazelnut Crust (featuring a short bake time and a press-in crust); Maple and Pumpkin Custard (made in a cast-iron skillet, meaning it’s ideal for crust-phobes); Pumpkin Hazelnut Bars (easier to transport than a pie).



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post)

Albemarle Pippin Apple Cobbler. We don’t want to raise your expectations too much, but someone on our team has made this cobbler three times in the past few weeks. (Spoiler: That someone may be the author of this piece.) That’s a ringing endorsement if we’ve ever heard one! Seeking out this particular apple variety is all well and good, but if you can’t find it, please do try this with another tart apple, such as Winesap, Granny Smith, Empire, Cortland, Liberty and Jonathan.

More apples: Tiffany MacIsaac’s Double-Crust Apple Pie (classic!); Apple Gingerbread Cake (one-bowl, mix-by-hand); Turkey-Shaped Apple Tarts (fun to make with kids).



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Tiny Tim Cranberry Tarts. This only works in a mini-muffin tin, and you must be sure to use no more than three cranberries per tart. Your reward for such strict adherence to the rules is two-bite tarts with a cream cheese pastry, a crunchy topping and the sweet-tart pop of berries inside.

More cranberries: Cranberry Apple Lattice Pie (with a red-wine-and-cranberry compote); Apple Cranberry Brown Betty (a lighter take on a classic); Cranberry Tart With Hazelnut Crust (guaranteed to be the showstopper on your dessert table).



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Bourbon Pecan Pie. Featuring a higher-than-normal nut-to-filling ratio (meaning less goop, more crunch). The filling is sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar, rather than corn syrup, and gets a pleasant kick from half a cup of bourbon. This also happens to be vegan.

Pecans elsewhere: Date Pecan Pie (best served cold); Pecangipane Pear and Cranberry Tart (looks fancy, freezes well).



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Roasted Gingery Pears. This super-easy and infinitely flexible recipe from Julia Turshen can be made to accommodate nearly any diet. Gussy them up with maple-sweetened whipped cream, serve leftovers with yogurt the next day, and/or mash them up and turn them into a rustic sauce.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie. Some may say that pumpkin and sweet potato pies are basically the same thing, but some people may also be wrong. Sweet potatoes lend more flavor, and this pie — you may recall it from its video fame? — has more nutmeg than you might be used to. Go with it; it works.

More sweet potatoes: Sweet Potato Cookies With Maple Glaze (soft and caky, more savory than sweet); Brown Sugar-Sweet Potato Cake (dense and moist); Persian-Spiced Sweet Potato Pie (no precooking of sweet potatoes required).

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