Fall Desserts That Aren't Pumpkin or Apple

Because variety is the spice of life.

October 01, 2020
By: Katherine Lok
Maple Buttermilk Tart

Maple Buttermilk Tart

Photo by: Matt Armedariz ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armedariz, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Fall flavors are back in season, and while pumpkin and apple may be everyone's favorites when it comes to desserts, that doesn't mean they should get all the glory. Whether you're itching for something different or not a fan of either flavor (or perhaps allergic), there are plenty of other seasonal flavors that deserve to be the stars of your festive spreads this year. Featuring naturally sweet ingredients like maple and sweet potato and warm spices like cinnamon and ginger, these delicious fall desserts don't have one bit of pumpkin or apple.


Maple syrup often gets lost in the mix when treated as a substitute for sugar in a recipe, but this Maple Buttermilk Tart truly shines by using the more concentrated flavor of maple sugar. A cornmeal crust and buttermilk filling give this tangy tart a wonderful contrast in textures.

This Maple-Walnut Cheesecake packs double the flavor by using both maple extract and maple syrup, though it doesn't overpower the cheesecake; instead it provides the perfect complement to the walnut and graham cracker crust.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Whole Pecan Pie

Photo by: Matt Armedariz ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armedariz, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.


There's something so comforting about a warm slice of pie, and Food Network Kitchen's Pecan Pie hits all the right notes with plenty of nutty toasted pecans, hints of bourbon and vanilla, and a simple crust that can be worked by hand or in a food processor.

Sweet Potato

Trisha Yearwood's Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern classic that allows for some store-bought shortcuts like canned sweet potatoes and the pie shell, though you can opt to go the extra mile and make everything from scratch. Either way, it's worth making!

Kardea Brown's Mini Sweet Potato Pies are the perfect solution to not sharing dessert. Her addition of pineapple in the filling and as part of a Pecan Pineapple Topping gives these mini pies an extra-sweet and unique twist.

Warm Spices

Ina Garten's Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting is not your average carrot cake. The addition of crystallized ginger in the frosting adds plenty of heat and pairs well with the cooling mascarpone and cream cheeses, while the ground cinnamon in the cake adds warmth throughout.

Trisha Yearwood's Spice Cake with Lemon Sauce is a great make-ahead dessert that's perfect for any holiday spread. The addition of sour cream keeps the cake nice and tender, and the combination of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg will have your kitchen smelling like fall.


Molly Yeh's Cranberry Stuffed Cupcakes with Cranberry Cream Cheese Frosting are filled with cranberry flavor throughout and include some unexpected ingredients, like corn kernels, coconut oil and rosemary sprigs for decoration.

For a more rustic presentation that also packs the tartness of cranberries, try Food Network Kitchen's Cranberry-Pear Crisp that calls for both fresh and dried cranberries. The assembly of the cranberry and pear filling and the oat and pecan topping takes no time at all, and all the cooking is done in the oven.

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