Unique Desserts to Try This Thanksgiving

Turkey aside, we know that the true star of Thanksgiving is the dessert! So if you’re in charge of the sweet treats this year, you’re probably thinking of pulling out all the stops! Though you could stick with the classics, might we suggest going outside the box? Here are some unique recipes we think will be a big hit at Thanksgiving this year!

Custard Cake

(image via recipetin eats)

Custardy, decadent, and not-too-sweet, the three layers in a slice of custard cake make this dish look deceptively difficult, but you’ll be pleased to discover it is one of the simplest desserts you can whip up. Here’s one of our favorite takes on this dessert from White on Rice Couple.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 4 drops white vinegar
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter or oil.
  2. Melt the butter and let cool. Warm milk to lukewarm and set aside.
  3. Whip the egg whites and vinegar until stiff peaks form. Set aside
  4. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and well incorporated. Mix in the melted butter and water in increments for about 2 minutes or until everything is well mixed.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour in batches until everything is incorporated. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract until the mixture is uniform.
  6. Fold in the egg whites in 3 batches.
  7. Pour this batter into your greased pan, and bake for 45-60 minutes. The cake should jiggle in the center when done. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil and continue cooking until done.
  8. Allow cake to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar as desired.

Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake)

(image from bake from scratch)

Kind of a cake, kind of a cookie, boterkoek (or “butter cake” in Dutch) is a dessert that’s sure to wow. It’s a comfort food and the perfect treat for Thanksgiving. The flavor, while simple, will keep you coming back for more – and more. We love this simple recipe from Baking Sense.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, whisked


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan or spring-form pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl or stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Toss in the butter and mix it with clean fingers (or with the paddle attachment of your mixer) until no large lumps remain.
  3. Set aside 1 Tbsp of the whisked egg mixture, then pour the rest into the dough and mix until just combined.
  4. Press dough into the pan; smooth until it’s even in thickness and flat.
  5. Brush the leftover whisked egg on top of the dough.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges and top of the cake are nice and golden brown.
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing into wedges and serving.


(image via pinoy food guide)

Yema is a Filipino milk-based candy that can be enjoyed in a single bite. It’s one of the most popular desserts made in the Philippines during the holiday season. Plus, you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge, making it one of the easiest desserts on this list. Check out this recipe from Pinoy Food Guide.


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Topping of your choice (chopped peanuts and granulated sugar are most popular)


  1. In a cooking pan, melt the butter on low heat.
  2. Add the condensed milk and egg yolks, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool.
  4. Slice the mixture into 1- to 2-inch pieces and roll into a ball.
  5. Roll the ball into your choice of topping and enjoy!


(image via pear tree kitchen)

Knafeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert that’s light, sweet, and a little cheesy. With the intricate texture and complex flavors, it may seem like an intimidating dish to tackle, but rest assured, once you get the right ingredients (you can usually find them at your local Middle Eastern market), you’re already 90% there! Here’s a great knafeh recipe from Pear Tree Kitchen.


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 16 oz kataifi dough, thawed (shredded phyllo dough)
  • 2¼ sticks butter
  • 8-16 oz sweet cheese (to taste)
  • Crushed pistachios (optional)
  • Knafeh powdered pastry color or yellow gel food coloring (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and a syrup has formed; remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Add the rose water and lemon juice into the syrup and set aside.
  3. Mix 2 Tbsp melted butter with the food coloring or Kunafa powder, if using.
  4. Add butter (colored or plain) into the bottom of a 9-inch tart, pie, or cake pan and swirl to coat.
  5. Remove Kataifi dough from package and slice it into one-quarter-inch pieces. Place into a large bowl.
  6. Add 2 sticks of melted butter to the Kataifi and mix until coated.
  7. Place half of the butter Kataifi mixture into baking dish and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. For an even finish, press down with the bottom of a cup.
  8. Slice sweet cheese into thin slices and cover the Kataifi. (For a thicker Knafeh, use more cheese.) Cover cheese with remaining Kataifi. Using a spatula, push the Kataifi on the edges down until firmly in place.
  9. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the Knafeh is golden brown and the edges are bubbling with butter.
  10. Remove from the oven; allow to cool.
  11. Invert Knafeh onto a large plate or pizza pan. Top with crushed pistachios, if desired, and pour half of the rosewater syrup over it. Serve with the remaining syrup on the side for dipping!

Which of these unique desserts are on your radar for the Thanksgiving season? Let us know in the comments!

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