3 Healthy (And Delicious!) Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Desserts

Truth: Thanksgiving can be stressful—if you let the multicourse holiday feast rule you. We’re convinced the day will be better if you actually have time to enjoy your guests and your showstopping meal, including dessert.

This year, we’re cooking up dessert at least one day ahead of the big day. No reason to wait to make these healthy-but-no-one-will-ever-know-it, rich desserts that’ll deliver sweet success.

Pumpkin Tiramisu with Gingersnap Crunch

Serves 16


4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup maple sugar

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups chilled dairy-free coconut or almond creamer

4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature

One 7-ounce package ladyfinger cookies

1 1/2 cups freshly brewed espresso, at room temperature

Gingersnaps, coarsely crushed, for sprinkling


In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat in the pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin spice and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the creamer until it holds soft peaks; gradually beat in the mascarpone and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped mascarpone cream until just combined.

Submerge each ladyfinger into the cooled espresso and line the bottom of a 9-inch square glass baking pan. Spread half of pumpkin filling on top; sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and pumpkin filling. Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the tiramisu up to 2 days ahead of time; store in the refrigerator. To serve, sprinkle gingersnap crumbs over it.

Per serving: Calories 120.1; Fat 6.5 g (Saturated 2.9 g); Cholesterol 99.1 mg; Sodium 74.2 mg; Carbohydrate 13.8 g; Fiber 0.4 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 2.65 g

Maple Pot de Creme with Candied Pecans

Serves 8


3 cups dairy-free coconut or almond creamer

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

8 large egg yolks

1/4 cup granulated maple sugar

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole pecans


In a medium saucepan, whisk together the creamer, 2/3 cup of the maple syrup, egg yolks, maple sugar, vanilla bean and salt over medium heat until smooth. Cook, stirring, until the custard is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes; strain through a sieve, evenly dividing the custard among 8 small serving bowls. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss together the pecans and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Bake until bubbly and caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the pot de creme up to 3 days ahead of time; store in the refrigerator. To serve, top with the candied pecans.

Per serving: Calories 274.3; Fat 20.2 g (Saturated 2.4 g); Cholesterol 184 mg; Sodium 135.2 mg; Carbohydrate 24.8 g; Fiber 1.3 g; Sugars 18.6 g; Protein 3.9 g

Chocolate-Bottom Apple Tart

Serves 8


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 stick unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted

2 tablespoons ice water

1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted

4 medium apples — peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Maple sugar, for sprinkling


Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, salt and cinnamon. Gradually incorporate the softened butter pieces and blend until dough forms coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the ice water until the dough holds together, adding more water if necessary. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a circle. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick and transfer to a 9-inch round tart pan, pressing the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and cutting off any excess overhanging dough. Spread the melted chocolate over the dough to coat the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the apples on the chocolate in a ring, starting from the outside in and finishing in the center. Crimp the edges and brush the melted butter over the dough edge and apples; sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the tart up to 1 day ahead of time; store at room temperature. To serve warm, if desired, reheat in a 325 degree F oven until just warmed through, about 15 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 345.5; Fat 18 g (Saturated 10 g); Cholesterol 38.9 mg; Sodium 113.2 mg; Carbohydrate 45.2 g; Fiber 3.8 g; Sugars 17.4 g; Protein 2.3 g

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