Autumn is may favourite time of year. I can finally wear my comfy jumpers and sit under a woolly blanket, and do some seasonal baking. For those of you who are stuck for ideas, here are 7 of my favourite autumnal desserts.
I thought I’d start with the most well-known autumnal dessert. This is the dessert I look the most forward to and is something I make every year, without fail. It’s easy to buy a can of pumpkin puree and a box of ready-rolled pastry, and it’s even easier to buy a premade pumpkin pie from the store, but nothing is more satisfying than some homemade pastry, pumpkin pie filling made with fresh pumpkin, and whipped cream you made yourself.
The fresher the pumpkin, the better. You can get one at the store, but many farm shops have pumpkin patches where you can pick your own, so go see what they have available. Just make sure you’re buying a baking pumpkin. It’ll have much more flavour! You can also visit the likes of the Dunman Food Centre and enjoy your favorite dessert there.
I’ve always thought of apple crumble as a grown-up version of the caramel apples I used to have as a kid. By stirring the chopped-up apples in a cinnamon sugar mix, topping it with a sweet pastry crumble, and baking it until it’s golden and caramelised, you’ll have a scrumptious dessert that is perfect for sharing on those chilly autumn nights.
Rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food, and is something that most Brits will remember from their school days. This creamy rice dessert is great for eating by the fire. To make it more autumnal, try spicing it up a bit with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, all spice, and mace. This spice mix is often referred to as ‘pumpkin spice’. You can mix the individual spices together so you’ll always have a jar of your own pumpkin spice to sprinkle over your desserts (and into a few lattes) or you can buy a small pot of it at your local supermarket. For advice on how to make the perfect rice pudding, see this.
Poached Pears and Ice Cream
The pears on the tree in my back garden are always ready for picking in September, so we have plenty to eat over the next few months. Making poached pears is a great way to use them up, and I look forward to this dessert all year. If you’re not so fortunate to have a pear tree at home, then supermarket ones will do the trick. The pears will soften as they cook, and you can serve them with a rich syrup and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Blackberry and Plum Tarts
These are easy to make and are perfect if you’re looking for a last-minute autumnal dessert. This is where ready-rolled puff pastry comes in handy.
Thinly slice some plums after removing the stones, and toss them and punnet of blackberries in a few tablespoons of maple syrup. Cut the pastry into squares and put a heaped spoonful of the fruit into the middle of the squares and sprinkle over brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans. You could also brush some egg wash over the edges of the pastry so it turns golden in the oven. These are best served straight away so you can enjoy the crispiness and flakiness of the pastry.
There’s something autumnal and festive about pecan pies. Pecans are usually harvested in the fall and winter, which makes them the perfect accompaniment to autumnal desserts. While pecan pie is often made with corn syrup, there are plenty of recipes that use maple syrup instead. This kind of pie can be cooked ahead of time and put in the freezer. You can defrost it in the fridge overnight, and warm it up in the oven for 15 minutes before serving it.
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
I had to add this dessert to the list, because it is truly fantastic with a cup of hot chocolate, and since pumpkins are in season, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate them into all of my desserts. Pumpkin swirl brownies are the perfect mix of brownie and cheesecake, and the bright orange swirls make them extra appealing.
In my opinion, autumn is the best time for baked desserts, and I’m excited to start baking again after the scorching summer heat meant that I had stop for a while. When I’m baking with fruit, I try to use what’s in season, since it will be fresh and have the best flavour. Ask your local greengrocer about what fresh produce they have in, and you’ll be sure to make the most delicious desserts all autumn long.
Image Credits: Karolina Grabowska