That time of year is upon us, folks! The Holidays! I have to admit, it’s been a downer of a year in the world at large. Seems like every day another tragedy unfolds. All the more reason, I think, to be grateful for blessings, big and small, especially friends and family. So, while celebrating might seem indulgent when things are going to hell in a handbasket, it’s actually a great way to brighten people’s spirits (including your own!) by spreading love and good cheer.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a big, fancy house, or a lot of money to spend. Hospitality is about getting people together, making them feel welcome, and laughing it up over a few nibbles and sips. Don’t overcomplicate it! The Party Goddess! is here to make everything simple and fun! Sweet, right?! Speaking of which, you all know about my sugar cravings (uh, donuts?!) which is why I decided to kick off the month of November with fall dessert recipes for entertaining. Whether you just have a dessert party (I love those!) or need a final course for a sit down dinner, or want something to top off a casual cocktail hors d’oeuvres kind of thing, we hunted down some simple desserts that have pretty presentation and use seasonal fall fruits!
Before we load you up on sweets, don’t forget to download our Super Secret Party Tips guide. It’s totally FREE and offers lots of fun suggestions for bashes big and small.
DIY Caramel Apple Bar
As you all know, I love DIY bars for house parties! I do them with savories and desserts. They’re fun for guests and allow you to get clever with presentation, which, let’s face it, counts for A LOT when it comes to entertaining! With Halloween on my mind still and apples always in season, I love doing DIY caramel apple bars at get-togethers. This one uses store bought caramels that you simply melt. If you want to make homemade dipping caramel, it’s really pretty simple, so don’t worry about that. It’s handy to keep the caramel warm using a fondue pot or portable electric burner. Arrange bowls of toppings your guests can dip the apples in once coated with caramel: sprinkles, chopped nuts, marshmallows, crushed cookies (the Biscoff cookies are my FAVE with caramel apples!)
Fig Ice Cream
How many of you have an ice cream maker buried somewhere in the pantry (or worse, still in the box in the garage!) that you haven’t used in years? C’mon, raise your hands, I know you have one! Or, maybe a friend has one that’s suffering the same sad fate of being neglected! Holiday get togethers are the perfect time to haul that baby out and use it! (or borrow it from your friend who is never going to use hers!) Everyone loves ice cream and it’s another dessert recipe for entertaining that you can serve using a DIY approach with various toppings so that guests can customize a sundae. Figs are fall fruit that is often neglected (just like the ice cream maker!) but when mixed into ice cream, is transformed into a sophisticated, richly colored holiday dessert!
Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart
When it comes to dessert recipes for entertaining, I try to select recipes that don’t require a lot of prep simply because if you’re making other foods you’re going to be pressed for time. This tart breaks that rule! Crusts do take some time to make (whether they’re pie crust or tart crust) but this recipe sounded so incredibly delicious, I just had to include it! Cranberries, which are bound to show up as a side dish at your Thanksgiving festivities, are the star of the show in this dessert and not just some pop of color in the more ubiquitous apple cranberry tart found on most tables. Be unique, spend the time, make the tart!
Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake
Pears are another fall fruit that often gets overlooked by apples (they’re such attention hogs those apples!). Not only is the presentation on this pear upside down gingerbread cake beautiful, it’s an easy-to-make sheet cake that can easily be cut into squares for serving.
Black Forest Icebox Cake
This “cake” is really more like a trifle and can be a great option for a small dinner party. Granted, cherries are a summer fruit and not readily available in the fall, yet somehow grocery stores still manage to carry them since fruit is imported from all over the world now. There’s no reason you can’t use frozen cherries in the recipe. If you really want to get creative, try Italian amarena cherries, or bourbon soaked cherries in this recipe and use chocolate shavings on top (otherwise the cherry juice will run). It LOOKS warm and cozy, and that’s all that counts!
Persimmon Rum Pudding
Nobody ever knows what to do with persimmons! Frankly, when eaten fresh, I don’t think they have that much flavor. (although they are great pureed and used in sauces for seafood and shellfish!) But since we’re talking fall fruit desserts, this just might fit the bill for your next soiree. I love that the recipe has RUM in it! Serve it in fancy dessert dishes topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon for an exotic and distinctive dessert.
Key Lime Bars
What-the-whaaaa?! YES, key limes are a fall fruit, people! And besides putting them in margaritas, there is simply nothing more refreshing than using them in a dessert! For your next cocktail gathering, ditch the pie and make Key Lime Bars, which you can cut into small squares and serve on a platter. Add a couple of fresh cranberries as garnish on top next to a slice of lime if you want this dessert to look sufficiently Christmas-y or ditch the lime zest garnish altogether and just serve the bar naked to make it look more “fall” like!
Plum & Rose Sorbet
Some varieties of plums ripen in the fall and will work perfectly in this pretty sorbet that is also enhanced by a touch of rose water! I’m a big fan of sorbet after a heavy meal. Since fall recipes tend to be heartier and more rustic, a light dessert such as sorbet is a better way to end the meal than with heavy desserts like cake and pie.
Are berries in season in the fall? Nope! But crisps are brilliantly easy to make in a rectangular pan and work perfectly fine with frozen berries, which you can find any time of year. Pair it with a small glass of Port wine to end a fireside dinner party with friends!
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Okay, pumpkins are not a fruit. But they’re a vegetable and that’s close enough! You simply can’t have a list of fall dessert recipes for entertaining without putting pumpkin-something on it! Am I right?! Cookies are always good options for party sweets because you can make the dough in advance and keep it refrigerated until you’re reading to bake. Set out a plate on the buffet table along with other hors d’oeuvres and you’re done!
This really is my favorite time of year! I love entertaining! I mean, duh, right?! That’s why I became a party planner! If you’re thinking about hosting a holiday party, let’s chat! Nothing makes me happier than creating once-in-a-lifetime events for my clients. And don’t forget to check out our Super Secret Party Tips Guide! It has tons of useful ideas for fetes of every shape and size.
If you liked this week’s blog, take a look at some of our other fall features!