Classic fall desserts are classic for a reason, and when it comes to satisfying the sweet tooth during these months, some diners will not be satisfied by anything less than apple crostatas, rich slices of pumpkin pie, or anything without the sharp spike of autumn spices.

But classics can also come across as mundane, and not always exciting enough for guests to add that extra course to the check. Here’s how to make the most of innovative ingredients and presentations this time of the year.

Pumpkin Pie Mash-ups

We’re all familiar with the cronut, which took the baking world by storm several years ago and still shows no slowing down, sparking copycats across the country. Crossing two familiar desserts—even without the catchy name—will always pique diner interest. Pumpkin cheesecake, rolled into sponge, like Sweet Encore’s® Pumpkin Cheesecake Jelly Roll Cake, combine the best of two popular recipes and techniques, resulting in something unexpected and delicious.

In a Jar

Since canning has experienced such a resurgence within the hipster restaurant community lately, it’s no surprise that cute jars have started popping up on tables across the country. Dessert chefs have gotten into the game, baking everything from cupcakes to layered cakes in the jars themselves, or cutting rounds out and layering with autumnal treats like cranberries, brown sugar whipped cream, Halloween-colored icings, candy toppings, and more. The best part of jarred desserts? Their flexibility in allowing for carryout or a cute add-on for dessert tables, allowing guests to move around with their adorable sweets.

Shake It Up

Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry milkshakes might be perennial favorites, but why not offer seasonal shake combinations celebrating this time of the year? Pumpkin pie shakes with broken crusts mixed throughout; apple cider shakes with dehydrated apple garnishes; Heritage Ovens® Cherry Cobbler Shake: a chef’s imagination and fall pantry is the only limitation here.

Savory Flavors

One of the most striking ways to modernize desserts is to back off traditional flavor profiles. This time of the year, mix it up with something a little more unusual. Naturally sweet beets can be used in tartines; butternut squash makes an excellent, subtle crème brûlée. Think outside the box with innovative twists on frozen treats, using various cheeses such as goat and cheddar in ice cream bases, making excellent components to a slice of seasonal pear cake or apple pie, respectively.

Turn Down the Sweet

Not everyone loves an overly sweet dessert. One way to tone down the sugar is to incorporate the year-round readily available avocado. This favorite green fruit has a mild flesh that works great when combined with dark chocolate for cakes and brownies, but to really make an impression, highlight the avocado itself in puddings and whipped desserts. Working well as a heavy cream substitute—appeasing vegan diners along the way—let the green color shine for maximum holiday visual appeal by topping your parfait with a conical tuile witch hat for Halloween or a jolly cranberry compote when December rolls around.

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