Classic and Not-So Classic Thanksgiving Day Desserts

I am in total denial that it is mid November, and that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.  Where has the time gone?  And how exactly am I supposed to share all my favorite Thanksgiving day desserts with so little time remaining?  The only solution I could come up with was to cram this blog post full of my favorites.  So that's what I did.

Today I'm sharing four recipes. Pumpkin pie and buttermilk pie are classic desserts that are expected on our dessert buffet every year; pumpkin tiramisu and apple-buttermilk pie offer a fresh perspective on these classic flavors.

I love being outside when there's a slight chill in the air, so this weekend I decided to take my food photography outdoors.  I don't know if it was the fresh air or the pretty foliage, but I was feeling especially creative and decided to throw together an impromptu video.  I count on these simple, spur-of-the-moment creative impulses.  I've learned something about myself through this blog.  I often get these big ideas, and every time I try to execute some elaborate plan, something will go haywire and I'm left feeling creatively frustrated.  I'm slowly learning the beauty of simple, so here's a simple little video that is my celebration of fall, apple-buttermilk pie, and my best bud.

(email subscribers may need to click over to view)

Now, a little more about these desserts.

One thing that makes the pumpkin tiramisu so delicious is the mixture of maple syrup and coffee that gets drizzled over the ladyfingers.  And boy, is it ever easy to throw together!  With all the work and complexity that goes into the rest of Thanksgiving, it feels a little like cheating.

My pumpkin pie recipe is very no-frills, but delicious all the same. I did dress it up a little with some pie crust "cookies" that I cut from the leftover dough.  What can I say, I like a lot of crust with my pie!

Choose your slice!

Okay, so I realize that not everyone has buttermilk pie on their "classic desserts" list.  It's a common dessert in the south, and this particular recipe is Granny Baird's.  It is Mr. Baird's favorite dessert ever, and since Granny Baird is no longer with us, his sister Megan makes it at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For those who have never sampled buttermilk pie, it has a sweet, smooth custard filling that is ever-so-slightly tangy.

My personal favorite is the apple-buttermilk pie.  I'm not one to make declarative statements, but after tasting it, Mr. Baird and I both declared that we would be perfectly okay with never eating regular apple pie again.  The buttermilk custard makes the apples so tender... and did I mention that it has a streusel topping?  It does. I live for streusel.

Almost forgot! I have a whole other roundup of fall goodies on the Cooking Channel's blog.  Check it out here.

Classic Pumpkin Pie
Yield: one  8-9 inch pie, 8 servings                                                                        [click for printable version]

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or use 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
2 eggs
15 oz. pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 unbaked pie shell
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon and pie spice in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a separate large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  3. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow pie to cool completely.  Serve.  Refrigerate uneaten portion.

Pumpkin Tiramisu
Adapted from BHG
6-8 servings                                                                                                         [click for printable version]

4-5 oz package ladyfingers (crispy, not soft)
1/2 cup maple syrup (maple flavored syrup is okay to use)
2 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee

3/4 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar

  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap.  Set aside.
  2. Combine maple syrup and coffee in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Line the bottom of the prepared pan with lady fingers and drizzle half the syrup over them.
  3. In a small bowl combine pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  In a separate small mixing bowl combine the heavy cream and granulated sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the pumpkin mixture. Pour half of mixture over the lady fingers.  Create another layer with ladyfingers and drizzle the remaining syrup over.  Top with remaining filling

8 oz. mascarpone cheese or cream cheese softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
  1. In a small bowl combine mascarpone or cream cheese and granulated sugar.  Beat with a hand mixer on low speed.  Gradually beat in heavy cream until just thickened.  Spoon onto layered dessert.
  2. Cover and chill for 8 hours.  Use the plastic wrap to lift the dessert from the pan. 
  3. Top with freshly grated nutmeg when ready to serve.

Granny Baird's Buttermilk Pie
Recipe courtesy Megan Baird                                                                               [click for printable version]
8 servings

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
8 inch pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy.  Mix in flour and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time. Beat until well incorporated. Add buttermilk and vanilla, mix well to combine
  3. Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  

Apple & Buttermilk Pie
Adapted from The Best of Cooking Light
10 servings                                                                                                           [click for printable version]

Note: This recipe requires a deep-dish pie pan.

Ready made 9" deep dish pie crust.  (Or homemade, if you prefer)

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp cold butter cut into small cubes

5 cups (about 2lbs.) sliced and peeled apples, a firm variety like Granny Smith
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Roll dough into a 14-inch circle and fit into a 9 inch deep dish pie pan coated with cooking spray.  Fold edges under and flute.  Place pie in refrigerator until ready for use.
  3. To prepare streusel, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  A mini-chopper is handy for this if you have one.  Store in refrigerator until ready for use.
  4. For filling, heat a large nonstick skillet (I used my cast iron pan) coated with cooking spray over medium heat.  Add sliced apples, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until apples begin to soften. Stir occasionally.  Spoon apple mixture into prepared crust.
  5. Combine remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, salt and eggs, stirring with a whisk.  Stir in buttermilk and vanilla.  Pour over the apple mixture.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees (do not remove pie from oven); sprinkle streusel over pie.  Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.  Let stand 1 hour before serving.

link Classic and Not-So Classic Thanksgiving Day Desserts By Published: Classic and Not-So Classic Thanksgiving Day Desserts Recipe


  1. I've made pumpkin tiramisu a couple of years, it's a nice change from the norm and especially great for a house full of coffee lovers :] Gorgeous photos, as always.

  2. i'll take a hefty piece of everything please and thank you :) and maybe double of the tiramisu!

  3. What great pies and desserts! I would not know what to choose as everything looks amazing and extremely tempting. The Tiramisù is very original...

    Lovely pictures!



  4. I want to try them all! Loved the video :)

  5. pumpkin tiramisu? only you would make this fabulous. i will use that one, over and over. love the video!
    what software did you use to edit?

  6. Whoa these look all look amazing! That pumpkin tiramisu has totally stolen my heart. HO-LY whoa. And everything's so beautiful!

  7. Thanks! :)

    Dawn, I use Adobe Premiere Elements. It's not terribly intuitive at first, but I love it now that I know what I'm doing.

  8. They all look amazing but I am particularly in love with the Pumpkin Tiramisu. Streusel addiction? Guilty as well. The video is so sweet. Love it.

  9. Oh my gosh, wonderfullness overload here! They all look delightful!

  10. That Apple Buttermilk Pie has been added to my list. I cannot wait to taste it!!

  11. everything is so pretty and fall-timey! I love it and that video is so sweet!

  12. These all look delicious, but the pumpking tiramisu is what I feel most drawn to! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Pumpkin tiramisu?? Genius! I have got to make this happen in my life.

  14. Beautiful! All of your photos are so lovely! I especially think that apple and buttermilk pie looks to die for!! :) Thanks for the drool!

  15. I LOVE LOVE tiramisu! I just made an easy one at home using vanilla jello pudding that was interesting... a little richer than I'm used to with tiramisu, but yummy! I will have to try this variation with pumpkin :) Thank you for all of your inspiring creations.

  16. What an extensive and delicious post. So much work but your efforts are amazing and your photographs are great.

  17. the pictures are all gorgeous & i loved the video! even though my dad's side is from the south, i've never heard of buttermilk pie. i'm curious to try it out! thanks for sharing all these great recipes... they all look seriously delicious.

  18. I think I'm in love with the buttermilk pie recipe. I love custards. I also love that your family does more than pumpkin pie.

    I was very surprised when I married my husband that his family didn't have the huge assortment that we always had growing up.

    The staples were of course pumpkin, pecan, cherry, apple, peach, chocolate of some variety, and banana cream pie. There were also always wild cards thrown in there like blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, coconut cream, vanilla cream, Dutch apple, and cheese cake. All topped with sweetened whipped cream.

    It was grand.

  19. Your photography is absolutely stunning. I, too, live for streusel! Also, I've never tried buttermilk pie but I really, really want to...

  20. you have the most fabulous photos... recipes... ideas... everything!

  21. That is the most gorgeous pumpkin pie I have ever seen! YUM!


  22. Very interesting and useful post!!Thank you!! Ciao Flavia

  23. Choose? Oh no! I'll have one of each please ;)

  24. These desserts all look delicious! And I love the video:)

  25. I was aiming for something different this year and the tiramisu might just work for me :) I always make pumpkin pie, but I prefer the recipe that calls for sweet condensed milk. Perhaps I just like it sweet. I'm also debating making a pumpkin gingerbread trifle to shake things up a bit . I've already made your recipe for Japanese cheesecake and it was delicious. Thank you for sharing such lovely recipes and pics!

  26. I would take a slice of each, please! Can't choose a favorite! Never heard of Buttermilk Pie, but definitely going to give it a go! THANK YOU!!

  27. All these recipes look so delicious! Your pumpkin pie is gorgeous. Are the decorations pie crust cutouts?

  28. That was the cutest movie ever. And your pug, my goodness your pug! I just want to pick him up and take him home with me so he can lick cream off my fingers :)

    The buttermilk pie looks the bestest out of all the four. I think I'll be trying that in the near furture :)

  29. I will take one of each, please and thank you, especially the apple-buttermilk pie. That is a new one for me!

    My mom made a pumpkin tiramisu two years ago and we all cried out with delight. Yours looks divine.

  30. I was just thinking about making a buttermilk pie for Thanksgiving for the first time but my husband was a little hesitant. He LOVES apples so he will definitely go for an apple-buttermilk pie. What a great find! I'm excited to try it out. It looks great.

  31. that tiramisu looks incredible, and I'll do just about anything for a good buttermilk pie. my friend and I made a maple buttermilk pie a few weeks ago - so, so good.

  32. Love all of it! I may have to make that apple buttermilk pie, it's calling me :) Your videos are so much fun to watch, especially the honey chocolate cake one, FABULOUS! wow...you are so talented & your pieces are so inspirational. I'll have to share your blog site on my Noodleonthat FB page. I need to practice crimping my pie edges. What kind of ready made pie crust do you use? Thanks for sharing Heather, it helps a beginner baker wanna be like me :)

  33. Such beautiful deliciousness! I love your pumpkin pie all dressed up, Heatehr:) I really think that Biscuit is STAR material!

  34. First, the video is brilliant! It captured the essence of the season and the music, images, your sweet pug and the pie somehow rose to the perfect crucendo within the entire piece. The ending - from a distance, with that one smile: perfection. I just would loved to have been eating your pie watching it! Never even heard of buttermilk pie - but LOVE the idea... and glad you wrote about the topping on the apple buttermilk pie as it was evident in the video that when you set it down baked after taking it away unbaked - that something had been added that wasn't shown. I am truly a fan. Love your artsy side! The little cookie garnishes you made are adorable, too - recipe?

  35. Crazy awesome--I'd planned to make the same two dessert twists for my pre-Thanksgiving fall dinner this Saturday! I put my pumpkin tiramisu in the freezer on Sunday and am going to try the buttermilk custard applie pie this Friday. I'd snagged a recipe online, but maybe I'll try yours, instead. Thank you for posting it!

  36. I am so freaking in love with Biscuit. Sooooo cute and so well behaved :) All of these desserts sound lovely. Awesome group of four!

  37. Is the Buttermilk Pie another name for a Custard pie? If not, what are the differences?
    Thanks. :)

  38. Hi Sarah,
    In my experience, most custard pies are made with scalded whole milk. Buttermilk pie is a type of custard pie, just more rich and tangy than other custard pies made with whole milk.

  39. I pretty much love every single thing about this post! Bravo :)

  40. Loved your video...Biscuit is so adorable. I've been meaning to do a video. Thanks for the inspiration. Like the tiramisu recipe. All look yummy!


  41. Heather, this post is gorgeous. Definitely makes me long for Fall and Thanksgiving, which we are missing from Israel! The video is wonderful too.

  42. Well, I'm not sure which is better looking... all the desserts or Biscuit the pug! (I have a puggle named Moses, my BFF too). So wondering if the Buttermilk pie is like a Chess pie? I had that last year and LOVED it, so think this year I will try Granny Baird's pie instead. Or maybe the apple one!
    Beth Christine

  43. What a sweetie pie video! I'm going to try the apple buttermilk pie next week, looks scrumptious:)

  44. Your Apple Buttermilk Pie is the best pie I've ever had. Granted that I have never had a buttermilk pie ever (deprived Canadian), but man I sure am impressed. Count this as my go to pie for dinner parties!

  45. It's really funny to read about Granny Baird, because that's MY Granny's name :) Are we related? Hehehe- these pies look delicious!

  46. I love all these ideas, wish I had found this before Thanksgiving. Would have tried that cute crust treatment to spice up my pumpkin pie. Love the idea of the tiramisu too. Biscuit is too cute.

  47. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy! Must make at least one of these, if not all of them. All of your recipes I've tried so far have been great. I love your creativity.


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