Ice cream pies make ideal desserts for big holiday dinners, because you can make them days in advance and just haul them out of the freezer right before serving. Plus, they’re easy to make.
As one reviewer noted, these mini cakes are easy to make, with a nice fine texture and good buttery flavor. And the vanilla bean icing is just right to offset the cranberry filling.
Recipe: Cranberry-Vanilla Mini Bundts
Let Fuyu persimmons (the flat-bottom variety) ripen until they’re deep orange and sweet, then set them off simply in a buttery crust with a big dollop of rich mascarpone cheese.
Feel free to swap in other squash in pastry chef Michelle McKenzie’s recipe: Sugar Pie comes out sweeter, and canned pumpkin is mellow-tasting, if less distinctive. Shauna Sever, an 18 Reasons instructor, suggested the spicy gingersnap layer. You’ll need a 9-in. deep-dish pie pan.
Recipe: Kabocha Squash Crème Fraîche Pie
Ice cream pies make ideal desserts for big holiday dinners, because you can make them days in advance and just haul them out of the freezer right before serving. Plus, they’re easy to make. This nutty, chocolate confection is a surefire crowd-pleaser.
For depth of flavor, Portland pastry chef Kir Jensen roasts the pecans and hazelnuts before adding them to the filling. She likes to roll her cornmeal pastry extra thick, so it’s more substantial.
Recipe: Hazelnut, Pecan, and Bourbon Pie
Imagine a slightly gooey but intensely nutty filling over a rich cookie base, and you’ll understand why these cookies get rave reviews. For easiest cutting, line the pan with buttered foil, and as soon as the baked cookies are cool, cut them into pieces with a sturdy knife (don’t wait until the next day).
Recipe: Hazelnut Shortbread Bars
This prize-winning cheesecake from a Sunset reader is one of our absolute favorites. Creamy and moist, with just the right amount of sweetness, this dessert will wow your guests.
For a fissure-free cheesecake, beat your filling just until it's blended--no more. (Too much air in the mixture will make it pouf up, and then deflate, in the oven.)
Poach pears in a syrup made with white wine, vanilla bean, and cinnamon; then serve them with dollops of creamy mascarpone cheese and a sprinkle of crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Homey and very moist, a cream torte is like a cross between a cake, a custard, and a dutch baby. To keep the batter from leaking out of the springform pan, be sure the pan bottom and rim fit together tightly; or line the pan with foil before buttering and flouring it.
Recipe: Apple Cream Torte
Studded with tart cranberries and sweet currants, laced with brandy and finished with a buttery, crisp topping, this dressed up apple pie is a Sunset favorite.
To ensure a crisp topping and add depth of flavor to the fruit, bake the streusel topping on its own and simmer the pears with marsala wine and ginger. Then layer pears and topping in a dish and bake briefly.
To create this deluxe but easy dessert, flavor whipping cream with brown sugar, pumpkin, and spices and freeze in an ice cream maker. Then fold in bourbon and crushed gingersnaps and freeze until firm.
Recipe: Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream
As the layers of chocolate graham crackers and pumpkin- and spice-flavored cream cheese chill overnight, the flavors meld and the crackers soften to create this super-easy cake. A dusting of cocoa over leaf stencils give it a fancy look, but you can omit the stencils if you’re in a hurry.
If you love the old-fashioned flavor of apple crisp but want a more company-worthy look, try hollowing out the fruit and packing the buttery brown sugar streusel inside.
Recipe: Apple-Crisp Baked Apples