Feasting: Chefs Share Their Favorite Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Feasting is our column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Whether you’re hosting the holiday for family and friends or sitting down as a guest this year, it’s about time to finalize menus or let the host know what you’re bringing to the table. Everybody loves the stuffing, turkey and potatoes, but more than likely, you’re eating the same dishes every year – which is totally okay. But that’s why we love the dessert portion. You can get a little more creative with what you bring because people aren’t expecting tradition as much here as they do with dinner. So we asked some of our favorite restaurants and chefs to share their best Thanksgiving dessert recipes so you can handle a table of sweet teeth like a pro.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Salted Peanut Brittle

From Chef Frederick Aquino of The Standard Grill

Ingredients + Method

1 1/2 cups chocolate shortbread crumbs (sub: Oreo cookie crumbs)
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt

Combine thoroughly and press onto a spring form pan. Bake at 325 F for about 12 minutes.

Chocolate Shortbread:
6 oz butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp coffee extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream butter, sugar and cocoa powder until fluffy. Add extracts and eggs. Mix in dry ingredients. Roll out very thinly between two parchment papers and bake at 325 F for about 12-16 minutes or until dry. Process through a food processor until fine.

Chocolate Pudding:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
250 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Simmer cream and milk in a medium pot. Whisk yolks and sugar together. Temper egg mixture into cream and cook on low heat until thick while whisking constantly. It should take about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate. Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours or preferably overnight.

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar

Whip until stiff peaks. Spread evenly on top of the pudding.

Salted Peanut Brittle:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp sea salt

Cook sugar with some water until golden caramel in color. Fold in peanuts and salt. Transfer onto a tray with parchment and cool. Roughly chop and sprinkle on top of the pie.

Related: Feasting: Fall’s Best Pumpkin Recipes from Chef Joel Gamoran

apple crisp

Chocolate Pecan Tart

From Patissier Francois Payard

Yield: 10 servings

Special Equipment: 9 inch flat tart tin, mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, piping bag, sauce pot

Ingredients + Method

For the Tart:
Take some homemade or store-bought sugar dough and roll it to 1/4 inch thick. Take the tart ring and line the bottom and the sides. Trim the sides to make it even and clean and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.  Store in fridge until ready to use.

1/4 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup plus 3 tbsp corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick + 5 tbsp melted butter

Place the flour, eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on medium speed until well combined. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture.

* Filling can be made up to 2 days in advance, just be sure to whisk well to combine.

Candied Pecans:
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole pecan halves

Boil the water and sugar together to make a simple syrup. Place the pecans in a bowl and toss with the syrup. Place on a sheet pan and bake for five minute segments in an oven set at 350 F or until the pecans are candied and golden brown.

1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

Place candied pecans and the chocolate chips into the tart shell. Pour the pecan mix onto the nut mixture, about 3/4 full. Pour the pecan mix in the tart to fill and bake for about 30 min in an oven set at 350 F. The tart shell should have a golden color and the filling should be still soft in the middle. Remove the tart from the oven and set it aside to cool. Serve warm with ice cream.


Warm Apple Crisp

From Pastry Chef Deborah Racicot of Narcissa

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients + Method

Oatmeal Streusel
Apple Compote
Filo Dough
Crème fraîche-vanilla ice cream

Oatmeal Streusel:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups oatmeal
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients before slowly mixing in melted butter. Spread final mixture in baking sheet and bake at 325 F for 5 minutes, rotate sheet and bake for another 5 minutes.

Apple Compote:
3 apples, diced
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 dash of lemon juice
1 dash of salt

Cook 1/2 of the apples with sugar, lemon and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat until broken down. Add remaining apples. Make cornstarch slurry (2 parts cold water, 1 part cornstarch), add and cook until thoroughly mixed.

Filo dough method:

Heat oven to 350 F. Take two sheets of filo dough and gently fold around the bottom of a greased pan. Brush dough with melted butter. Bake filo dough for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.

Final method:

Plate apple compote and top with oatmeal streusel. Cover with baked filo sheets and top with crème fraîche-vanilla ice cream as desired.