3 next-level desserts for advanced Thanksgiving bakers

I spend most of my day thinking, writing and researching about food. Thanksgiving Day is like my Super Bowl. I plan the menu weeks in advance, make endless game plans, pin up the recipes on the wall the day before, and create a timeline that will ultimately lead to success. Maybe that's not you.

What I bet is you is getting tired of the same desserts every damn year. Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, maybe a cheesecake. Zzzzzzz. This year, step out a little bit.

If assembling and baking those renditions of holiday favorites is something you can do in your sleep, you're ready for something new. Ditch the Libby's pumpkin and Carnation evaporated milk. These three reimagined recipes will set your dessert table on fire with their extreme awesomeness. Now, go preheat your oven. You can make these babies in advance. Like tonight.
click to enlarge 3 next-level desserts for advanced Thanksgiving bakers
Image courtesy Lilluna.com

1. Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Look. At. Those. Layers. You want those layers. I want those layers. Everyone wants those layers. What you're basically doing here is making a cheesecake (with vanilla-wafer crust, of course), and also making the filling for a pecan pie. This recipe requires a bit of cooking/candy-making instead of dumping everything in a mixing bowl and going to town, so it's perfect for someone ready for a little kitchen adventure.

2. Cranberry Curd Tart
click to enlarge 3 next-level desserts for advanced Thanksgiving bakers
Evan Sung for the New York Times

Gorgeous. Stunning. Vibrant. Radiant. I mean, look at that color. It's practically fuchsia. You've decked your halls out with bright lights and bright ornaments, why not your dessert table. It deserves a little pop of color. No one really likes cranberry sauce anyway. Use those little pearls of pungency in a new way this year with a creamy tart set within a toasted hazelnut crust.

3. Pumpkin S'Mores Tart
click to enlarge 3 next-level desserts for advanced Thanksgiving bakers
Image courtesy How Sweet It Is

Usually I'm kind of a stickler for the proper filling-to-topping ratio, but in this case, the topping is meringue. So pile it on, people. The tart starts with traditional pumpkin-pie filling, and then it's topped with dark chocolate ganache and literally as much stiff-peaked meringue as you can pile on. This is also an opportunity to break out that culinary creme-brulee torch. I suggest making the tart part in advance, then whipping up the meringue before dessert and toasting it with the torch in front of everyone so they can see what a bad-ass cook you really are.


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