For the Great Pumpkin-Hater
Since October, there hasn't been a safe rock to hide under. Pumpkin messaging haunts us everywhere. Even "pumpkin spice" will never make jack o' lantern innards okay. They're fundamentally nasty. Yet, every year in every home, at least one pumpkin pie shows up on the Thanksgiving dessert table. Is the Pumpkin Mafia threatening people if they don't bring one? Overcome evil with good by making one of these superior autumn desserts.
Pick Pecan over Pumpkin
Pecan pie isn't a shocking pumpkin pie alternative. It's an airtight one. Everyone's expecting it, desperately longing for it. That sweet goo with a toasty crunch... Mmmm!
Surpass expectations. Your gluten intolerant aunt won't get the short end of the stick this year if you bake a gluten-free pecan pie. Your hardcore vegan cousin who gobbled his Tofurkey earlier will thank you profusely for a chocolate vegan pecan pie. And he should thank you. It is Thanksgiving Day.
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup
Cheesecake. With no trace of pumpkin. That would be good enough, right? Most cheesecake recipes include tons of super fatty cream cheese. This Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup calls for a little reduced fat cream cheese with mostly Greek yogurt, which is excellent for digestion. That'll thrill your mother-in-law! Pomegranate is a spectacular fall fruit that you don't often see at Thanksgiving. It's healthy too. Maybe even in this context.
All Kinds of Apple Pies
Apple pie in some form is bound to be on the guests' anticipation radar as well. It's popular (whereas pumpkin pie is a bully.) It's an "all -American" tradition. These apple pie recipes provide information on using different apple varieties and tips on baking the perfect crust. Go out on a limb of the apple tree by baking apple pie with walnuts and raisins as a twist on the standard fare.
Real Hot Chocolate to Impress
Serve guests hot water mixed with "cocoa flavored" powder and fake marshmallows from packets? Never! Amaze and enthrall them with rich homemade hot chocolate. Imagine savoring it with loved ones around a fireplace or singing carols after dinner to usher in the winter holiday season. Top it off with real whipped cream. It will make the evening so memorable. So memorable, in fact, that you'll forget pumpkin pie ever existed.
Carrot Cake for Vitamin A
So what if pumpkin pie is a source of vitamin A? Guilt doesn't have to gnaw at you for refusing to choke it down. Gnaw on this: carrot cake. It's full of vitamin A too! Unlike the carrot itself, however, it's moist and melty-in-your-mouth, especially with creamy frosting. Furthermore, it's vegan. Nothing could be less guilt-inducing. Plus, there's a version that's got lots of delectable coconut flavor. We've got healthy and heavenly going on here. Take that, pumpkin pie!
Slow-Cooked Chocolate or Fruit
Thanksgiving Day is nothing if comforting aromas don't permeate the house. That's where these slow-cooker desserts come in. They cook in the crock pot, so there's no competition with turkey, potatoes, and (sorry) pumpkin pie for coveted oven space. Gradually, the promising scent of molten chocolate or spicy fruits infuses the joyous atmosphere and mingles with the savory fragrances of dinner.
Caramel Pudding, Salted
Caramel pudding might be the same general color as pumpkin, but it's edible. Delectable, even. Unlike the squashy, grainy texture of pumpkin pie, it's super slick and smooth. Take it up a notch by topping it with coarse ground salt. Your guests will appreciate it as a wonderful autumn flavor that's better than pumpkin spice.
Deflect negative pumpkin vibes with tasty hilarity. Channel your energy into creating a whimsical Thanksgiving cake that looks almost exactly like the turkey you just ate. Or even make a cake that looks like a pumpkin pie, but doesn't taste like one. You'll be thinking, "Psych!" as your guests dig in. Don't want to go in a comical direction? Craft a beautiful fall-themed cake for a classy occasion.
Ginger Shortbread Cookies
Not everyone wants a humongous slice of pie, pumpkin or otherwise, right after gorging themselves on all kinds of starches and meats. But it's Thanksgiving, so that niggling sense of entitlement may kick in. They'll want something sweet to top it all off, but can they handle it? Ginger shortbread cookies were invented for just such an occasion, for just such people. The small cookies are rich and buttery with a zing of seasonally apropos ginger.
Cranberry Orange Almond Loaf
While everyone's watching football, you can pass around the Cranberry Orange Almond Loaf, making corny jokes about how appropriate it is for people who are loafing. After rolling their eyes a few times, they'll immediately forgive you with the first delicious bite. It's so Thanksgivingy, it isn't fair! Like many of these desserts, it tackles pumpkin pie and makes a touchdown every time.