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suggestions for Thanksgiving dessert

Hi all. I am, as usual, hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner this year. We will have the usual - roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, pumpkin muffins... I can't be too creative with the menu or people will squawk.

For dessert I plan to serve a vegan chocolate pudding cake and fresh fruit. I am looking for one more dessert. It should not be chocolate, because of the pudding cake. Also, it obviously must be pareve.. Bonus points if it can be made ahead since I will be going crazy on Thanksgiving day.

What do you suggest?

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  1. Pumpkin pie? This is a fantastic recipe http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/11.... I use mimicreme as a sub for the cream and soy milk instead of the whole milk. comes out great.

    3 Replies
    1. re: asher13

      Pecan Pie works great and can be prepared well in advance.

        1. re: bagelman01

          ...or any other fruit pie, cobbler, crisp, buckle, slump, or grunt.

    2. A couple of years ago I made a parve pumpkin cheesecake that people raved about. Easy, non-chocolate, and must be made ahead. Here's the recipe in case you're interested:

      NOTE: the amounts given made two cheesecakes. You may need to scale down based on the size springform you have; I'd cut it in half for one cake.

      Pumpkin Cheesecake
      (a combination of recipes: from Mother Wonderful’s Cheesecakes and Paula Deen’s recipe)

      4 oz. lightly salted butter (I use Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine)
      2 cups very finely ground graham cracker crumbs (cinnamon graham crackers are nice for this flavor)
      1/4 c. sugar (or brown sugar)
      Melt butter over very low heat. Combine butter with crumbs in food processor until well-blended. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of an ungreased springform pan.


      2 pounds cream cheese
      1 1/2 c. sugar
      1 (15 oz.) can pureed pumpkin
      pinch of salt
      4 large eggs
      1 1/2 t. cinnamon
      1/4 t. allspice
      1/4 t. ginger
      1/4 t. mace
      1/8 t. nutmeg
      1 t. vanilla (or Lorann’s pumpkin oil, if available)

      In mixer combine cream cheese and sugar and beat for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the pumpkin and salt, and blend thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, keeping the mixer on the lowest speed, in order to prevent too much air from destroying the proper consistency of the batter; mix just until each egg has been incorporated into the batter. Add the spices and extract. Pour filling into the crust and bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand on a counter for 10 minutes while you prepare topping (this is a very essential step). If ingredients are not at room temperature, add five minutes to baking time.

      2 c. sour cream
      1/4 c. sugar
      1 t. vanilla (or Lorann’s pumpkin oil, if available)
      Combine sour cream, sugar, and pumpkin oil with a rubber spatula in a plastic bowl. Spread evenly over top of baked filling and return to the 350 oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in refrigerator to cool immediately. This prevents cracks from forming in the cake.


      1 Reply
      1. re: queenscook

        I love the "mom's apple cake" on smitten kitchen. I'm planning on making the "Apple Sharlotka" myself this year. There are also other cakes on this site that can easily made parve - like the strawberry cake (with soy milk) if you like.

      2. How about water ice or something similar? Yummy, parve and very differant yet still familiar. Or buy a box or two of the fruit shells that are filled with sorbet. We used to buy them at Costco or the "kosher" Acme in Narberth (way less at Costco!)
        Vey pretty not heavy and yummy!

        1. I love making eclairs with vanilla earl grey cream and a chocolate ganache with toasted nuts on top - it can be done in different steps (cream made earlier and stored in the fridge) so it just needs to be assembled before serving.

          1. Thanks for the replies so far. I guess I should have said that last year I made a mock apple pie. It went over well, but I was looking for something different. Also, I try to avoid fake creme, fake sour creme etc. Soy milk or coconut milk is OK.

            In terms of real pies, I have not had a lot of success with pie crusts. I don't like using hydrogenated shortening and can't use butter for a meat meal. Have experimented some with coconut oil and had mixed results. If anyone can recommend a great pareve crust recipe, I'd appreciate it. Fillings are easy.

            1. One of my favorite Autumn desserts is Laurie Colwin's Nantucket Cranberry Pie, which is actually more of a cake and doesn't require a crust. I think fresh cranberries fit in so well with the Thanksgiving theme. This is very easy to make and has a delightful sweet/tart flavor.
              The recipe has been reproduced all over the internet. Here is a copy of the original:
              The Pioneer woman blog changes it a little and uses pecans instead of walnuts:

              6 Replies
              1. re: serenarobin

                That recipe rocks. I haven't thought about it in years. Thanks for bringing it up, serenarobin. I have a super-abundance of cranberries in the freezer and may need to make that cake for weekend snacking.

                1. re: rockycat

                  A little tip a friend taught me, before you put the cranberries in the pan, put in a spoonful or 2 of the batter and mush it around a tiny bit. this is very imprecise and should take no longer than 5 seconds. Somehow the the pie ends up with more body.
                  I've also made this in the summer with blueberries, substituting lemon or orange) extract and a little grated rind for the almond extract. So delicious.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    I just stocked up on cranberries and am planning to make it this week as well. It's so quick to put together that it's great for those short winter Fridays (or cold late Thursday nights) when prep time is at a premium.

                  2. re: serenarobin

                    I made two batches of this recipe, mixed crushed pineapple in with the cranberries on one and did the other one straight

                    1. re: shoelace

                      I never thought of trying it with pineapple- great idea! I made a"plain" cranberry Nantucket pie for shabbat dessert last week. Delicious, and tasted even better the next day.

                      1. re: serenarobin

                        i love tart, but thought some of the company might not appreciate the tartness, and canned crushed pineapple was cheap, so i figured id try it

                        delicious and totally addictive

                  3. you can also try making cookie plates - mix gingerbread men with pumpkin cookies, chocolate chip cranberry biscotti and oatmeal raisin cookies -

                    1. Last night's Iron Chef Thanksgiving Leftovers episode had a very inspiring looking pumpkin souffle. Liked that idea a lot.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cappucino

                        have you found a recipe online? im not seeing anything, but a pumpkin souffle sounds intriguing

                      2. Cant go wrong with apple pie, which should be made ahead anyway

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: koshergastronome

                          can also do handheld apple or pear or peach pies or turnovers.

                        2. We kosher vegans love to play with food, especially on holidays. Here's a link to VegNews with a whole lot of suggestions for desserts and other dishes. Note all the parts that sound dairy, are actually vegan, hence parve.

                          1. Thanks again. I'm going to audition the Nantucket cranberry pie this Shabbas. It looks really interesting. If that doesn't come out well, I'll probably go with lemon bars. I've got a great recipe for those and it's a good complement to the chocolate pudding cake.

                            As I mentioned earlier, I know pie is the obvious answer, but I don't have a good recipe for a pareve pie crust. Probably won't try it out for Thanksgiving, but if anyone can recommend a specific pie crust recipe, I'd love to have it to check out later. And remember, I really hate to use hydrogenated stuff like crisco.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: jerirl

                              Although I usually make most things from scratch, I don't bother when I know that what I make will simply not be as good as what is commercially available. Therefore, I usually don't make standard pie crust, because the frozen Oronoque ones are better than anything I could come up with myself. I also sometimes use frozen whole wheat crusts, and I know I couldn't make ones as good.

                              By the way, there's a difference between partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated, with the partially hydrogenated stuff being the worse stuff. Crisco is not partially hydrogenated anymore (though I don't know if it is or isn't fully hydrogenated), and doesn't have transfats, at least not enough to list on the label. That said, I still use Earth Balance for baked goods.

                              1. re: queenscook

                                Queenscook say it aint so! I'm not awesome at making pie dough, but I have yet to find a store bought one that's even close to my mediocrity (although I've never tried the Oronoque one)...however if you want to try your hand at a super easy one (trust me) check out this one from Dabid Leibovitz - http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/05/...
                                I've made it a few times, and it's really good, and easy

                                For this years apple pie, I'm going to try Kenji Lopez's pie technique - http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07...
                                looks like it makes a little more idiot proof, which is always good for me

                                1. re: koshergastronome

                                  Thanks for the link. i have the original Cooks Illustrated with the vodka recipe, but my favorite and the most full-proof vegan recipe I've found doesn't require vodka. it's from
                                  100 Best Vegan Baking recipes and calls for 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar,
                                  l cup cold margarine (I use 2 earth balance sticks) chopped into chunks an 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water. I too swear by a food processor and chilling the dough before rolling out and putting into pie pan. I've never tried using spatula to incorporate water, but I will now.
                                  I've been making pie crusts for about 55 years and this is the best recipe I've found. I also learned that if you are going to use the crust as a shell to be filled, freezing it in the pie pan and then putting it in the oven eliminates the shrinkage problem much better than beans or pie marbles. I'd advise Queenscook to give it a try. Much less expensive than buying and very quick and easy. Most of the time is just "chilling" (cook and crust).

                              2. re: jerirl

                                For pareve pie crusts, I tend to make the Wesson Oil crust, which is, among other things, trans-fat free. I replace the milk with soy or almond milk, and add a tablespoon of sugar to the crust for sweet pies: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                1. re: jerirl

                                  Do you mind sharing your lemon bar recipe? Last time I made them (I think it was a recipe from the newspaper) they came out kind of sour/ bitter. I'd like to find a good pareve recipe.

                                  1. re: serenarobin

                                    I can post a vegan lemon bar recipe if you're interested. Uses tofu for filling. I happen to love sour, so i can't vouch for it being to your taste if you don't.

                                    1. re: lburrell

                                      Sure I'd love a vegan lemon bar recipe. My "fail" was more bitter than sour- may have had too much pith when zesting my lemons.

                                      1. re: serenarobin

                                        Pith is probably the problem. i would avoid ever using a regular grater for zesting. i use either an oxo zester or microplane to avoid this, although i don't mind a little bitterness with sour tastes. Here are the basics on the vegan lemon bars from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This is a must have for any vegan kitchen and very useful for anyone wanting good parve recipes and ideas. You could alway back out the egg substitutes with eggs, if you want:
                                        Use a lightly greased and flour sprinkled 8x8 pan (I ususally use glass): cream l/2 cup earth balance (room temp) with 1/4 cup confectioners sugar; add 1 cup flour. Press into pan. Bake for about 20 minutes in pre-heated 350 oven. It will start to get very light brown. Remove and cool on a rack. Filling: 1/2 cup silken tofu (firm or soft) I use the one that comes in the paper shrink packages, not packed in water, but the directions don't specify. Blend in food processor or blender until smooth. Then mix in 1 cup granulated sugar, zest from 2 lemons (don't forget to zest before you extract the juice!!) and 1/3 cup lemon juice. (This should take only 2 good sized lemons, but it may take more.) Add in 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour and blend until smooth. Put into the crust and bake in the 350 oven for 20 minutes. Let cool. Some people sprinkle on confectioners sugar, but I usually skip this. Just cut into squares. The recipe says best the day they are made, but I often use them for Shabbat lunch. They will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Enjoy!!

                                        1. re: lburrell

                                          Thank you so much! It sounds great- I will give it a try.

                                          1. re: lburrell

                                            lburrell, I finally got around to making your vegan lemon bar recipe for shabbat dessert. It was a big hit! Just the right amount of lemon flavor, and a nice change from brownies and other chocolate desserts. Thanks again!

                                  2. What about bread pudding? I made a parve pumpkin version with crumb topping

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                      last year I made this pecan, bourbon, and butterscotch bread pudding (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...
                                      )and it was awesome

                                      1. re: koshergastronome

                                        Well, with one serving at just short of 1000 calories and 64 grams of fat, I imagine it would be "awesome" . . . and not something I'd ever be eating, least of all on Thanksgiving, with all the other food that day.

                                        1. re: queenscook

                                          I hear ya...I've never said it was healthy
                                          So queenscook, where in queens do you hail from? Im from kgh (72nd crescent, if you're familiar with the region) originally

                                          1. re: koshergastronome

                                            I have friends who live on that block; I'm not far from there (though I won't be much more specific, so as to preserve my anonymity!!

                                            1. re: queenscook

                                              Good idea to preserve your anonymity. Otherwise some of would be flocking to your place to eat. You give such good advice and seem so knowledgeable. A real Foodie and a Kosher Foodie expert at that!!

                                              1. re: lburrell

                                                Oh man . . . I can't take all this love! I'm touched!

                                          2. re: koshergastronome

                                            4.5c heavy cream...wow
                                            Looks good, but not making it to my table!