Top off your feast with one of our favorite pies, cakes, crisps, tarts, and cheesecakes.

I’ve had alcohol-free Thanksgivings before. That’s no big deal; I don’t think the Pilgrims had much wine at their feast, either. I’ve skipped the cranberry sauce (no one cared) and even had Thanksgiving without turkey—more than once, in fact. Once it was a vegetarian affair, with stuffed squash in place of the bird, and once it was just my wife and I at dinner so we had Cornish game hens, to minimize waste. (Yes, leftovers are normally one of the best parts of Thanksgiving, but we were traveling and wouldn’t have been able to make one of my famous hot turkey and sweet potato sandwiches anyway.)

But Thanksgiving without pie? Now that’s unthinkable. (For one thing, what would you eat for breakfast the next morning?) Luckily, we’ve got a trove of pie recipes that we’ve collected over the years. The classics are all there, like a straight-ahead pumpkin (well, actually it’s a tart), as well as good old apple (with a little bit of quince)

Then there are variations on tried and true themes, like our pumpkin ice cream pie, and apple-cranberry mince tartlets. Recipes like these offer familiar holiday flavor profiles with a slightly modern twist. Some are a little more out-there (hello, deconstructed pie buffet), and some, candidly, aren’t pie at all. The crisps and cakes we’ve rounded up along with the pies and tarts offer much of the sweet, rich goodness you’re used to ending your Thanksgiving meal with, but also represent a little something different, just to make this year a little more memorable.


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