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FAQs: Thanksgiving Desserts

Created December 8, 2016
crostatas on parchment and plate
The Pillsbury Kitchens staff answer frequently asked questions about Thanksgiving desserts. MORE+ LESS-

I need suggestions for a dessert that serves a crowd–can you help? 

You’ll be ready to serve any large group with one of these three fantastic Thanksgiving desserts. All of these will be winners with your family and friends.

Pumpkin Tart with Caramel Rum-Raisin Sauce

Thanksgiving Cookie Pizza

Cranberry Mousse Mini Tarts

Can I bake cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them? 

Yes! Baking and freezing are smart do-ahead strategies that avoid last minute rushing. Just bake cupcakes, cool completely and then tightly wrap in an air-tight freezer bag or container for up to 2 months. Thaw uncovered, frost and decorate before serving. 

Help! I need ideas for make-ahead desserts so I’ll have time to enjoy my family. What do you suggest?  

Make-ahead desserts are a terrific way to give you more time for the holiday. Here are a couple of our favorites:

Frosty Pumpkin Squares

Pumpkin Praline Torte

I don’t have any time at all for preparing desserts. Do you have any suggestions for what I could purchase and spruce up to look special?

The bakery or bakery section of your grocery store can be your friend when strapped for time. Ready to eat pies or cakes can be easily dressed-up with sweetened whipped cream and dusted with ground cinnamon, baking cocoa or white powdered sugar. Drizzled caramel or chocolate ice-cream syrup is another amazingly easy way to dress up a dessert: drizzle on top of the dessert or on the serving plate – either way it will look spectacular.

Any new ideas for classic Thanksgiving desserts like pumpkin or pecan pie? 

Here are two fabulous ideas for putting a spin on the classics:

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pie

Orange Swirl Pumpkin Pie

Be ready to share these recipes!

It’s my first Thanksgiving and I’m nervous about making pie. I need recipes and tips. Help! 

Making pie for the first time can be nerve racking. Don’t fret. These tips will make it easy:


Six-Steps-to-a-Perfect Pie

Special Touches

I have 2 little ones who want to help me in the kitchen. What fun and easy treats can I make with my kids?

It’s really special when kids want to help in the kitchen. Not only is it fun for you and them, it also develops their motor skills, as well. Don’t tell the kids, but measuring ingredients for cooking and baking also translates into strong math skills. Just keep it light and fun. Start with this riddle:

When does a turkey become a dessert? Then, show them the fun Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies recipe!

I am going to use one of the refrigerated pie crusts to make a pumpkin pie. Do I need to bake it first and then do my filling? Or do I just leave it unbaked and fill it. (Last year my bottom crust was soggy.) Refrigerated pie crust is a fantastic shortcut for pie don’t even have to bake before filling it! Just pour pumpkin filling into the unbaked crust and bake. Most pie recipes will suggest that you begin baking at a higher temperature to get the crust done and then reduce temperature. Check out this recipe for Classic Pumpkin Pie with a Trio of Toppings.

If I make a two-crust apple pie from refrigerated pie crust, can I freeze the unbaked pie until I’m ready to cook it? If so, how do I go about it?

Go ahead and freeze your unbaked pie until ready to bake. It’s a great way to save on time preparing the Thanksgiving feast.

Here are helpful hints:

Assemble the pie as you normally would, except don’t cut slits in top crust.

Freeze pie in baking pan and wrap in airtight freezer bag.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 425°F, cut slits in top crust and set pie onto baking sheet.

Bake frozen pie for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375°F and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Cover edges of pie crust with strips of foil after 15 to 20 minutes of baking to keep the crust from burning.

How do I use frosting to make a glaze for my desserts? 

Purchased frosting in a tub is so versatile – frost or glaze with it, you choose. To use as a glaze, fill a resealable plastic bag with ready-to-use frosting from a tub. Snip off tiny corner of bag, and squeeze glaze over cookies or cake. If you’d like, you can also dust glazed cookies or cake with baking cocoa or powdered sugar.

You can also make a glaze with frosting by removing the lid and foil cover from the container. Microwave frosting in the container on High 20 to 30 seconds, stirring once, until pourable. Spread frosting over cake, cookies or bars for a glaze-like topping.

I want to make a sweet potato pie from a sweet potato box mix, which contains two pouches. Do I need to use both of them? Yes. Make both pouches as directed on the box then use 1 ¾ cup of the prepared sweet potatoes to replace 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree in your standard sweet potato pie recipe. The remaining sweet potatoes from the pouches can be served as a side or set aside for another use.

Don't miss our unforgettable Thanksgiving desserts – 30 recipes just right for the holiday.

More Thanksgiving questions? Ask our experts in the Community.