8 Fruity Fall Desserts

Gone are the breezy days of summer-and all the sorbets, ice cream cakes and fruit salads that go with them. In its place: cooler, cozy nights with fall-minded desserts to match. Embrace the seasonal change by tucking into one of these comforting fruit-filled recipes. From a free-form tart packed with plums to chocolate apple cupcakes, each one offers a bite of autumn's best.

Mile High Pumpkin Meringue Tart Recipe

Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 10

Pumpkin pie is an irresistible fall classic; here, a new dimension is added with a few simple additions, including adding molasses to the filling and finishing off the pie with an airy meringue.
Recipe Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

Tart Shell

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp each cold unsalted butter and solid vegetable shortening, cut in bits
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp cold water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

Recipe Preparation

1. Lightly butter a 9 x 1-in. tart pan with removable bottom. In food processor, pulse flour, confectioners' sugar and salt to mix. Add butter and shortening; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour egg mixture over crumbs; pulse until dough starts to clump together. Remove dough from food processor and squeeze together into a ball. Press dough evenly over bottom and up sides of pan, slightly extending about 1/4 in. above the top edge of pan. Freeze shell 30 minutes.

2. Adjust oven rack to bottom third of the oven. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove crust from freezer; line with nonstick foil tightly against bottom, sides and top edge of crust. Place tart pan on baking sheet; bake 25 minutes. Carefully remove foil; return crust to oven 5 minutes (if crust puffs, gently press it down). Cool completely on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

3. Whisk ingredients until blended and smooth; pour into crust. Cover crust edge with foil or pie shields. Bake 50 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

4. In a small, heavy saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; stir just until sugar dissolves. Boil, without stirring, 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in large bowl of stand mixer, beat egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, slowly add hot mixture to whites in a thin, steady stream. When incorporated, increase speed to high and beat meringue until stiff yet billowy glossy peaks form.

5. Heat oven to 425°F. Remove sides of tart pan and place tart on a baking sheet. Loosen bottom of tart pan from crust with an offset spatula; leave pan bottom in place. Starting at edge of crust, spread some meringue over filling, sealing it against the inside edge of the crust and mounding meringue high in center; make decorative swirls in meringue. Bake 5 minutes or until swirls and tips are lightly browned. Let cool. If desired, slide tart off pan bottom onto serving plate.

Prep Tip: Tart can be prepared through Step 3 two days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and blot surface dry with paper towel before topping with meringue.

Photo: Con Poulos

Apple-Cranberry TartApple-Cranberry Tart

Apple-Cranberry Tart

This free-form tart offers a rustic elegance, and is far easier to make than a traditional pie: Just fill a ready-made crust with Granny Smith apples, cranberry sauce and spiced sugar, then fold in around the edges.

Plum Frangipane TartPlum Frangipane Tart

Plum Frangipane Tart

To make this simple and elegant tart, place a layer of almond paste on top of store-bought crust and then stack it full of plum wedges, followed by a sprinkling of sugar before baking.

Spiced Pumpkin SoftiesSpiced Pumpkin Softies

Spiced Pumpkin Softies

As the name implies, these cookies are ultra-soft, loaded with pumpkin purée, light brown sugar and golden raisins-all topped off with a fluffy orange-cream cheese frosting.

Black-Bottom Apple CupcakesBlack-Bottom Apple Cupcakes

Black-Bottom Apple Cupcakes

Fruit or chocolate-it's the eternal dessert debate. Why not have both? This semisweet cupcake blends chopped Granny Smith apples with cocoa powder, cream cheese, light brown sugars and apple juice.

Nectarine and Plum GaletteNectarine and Plum Galette

Nectarine and Plum Galette

This gorgeous galette is bursting with nutty sweetness, thanks to a combination of nectarine and plum wedges coated in a mix of sugar, cinnamon and almond extract.

Walnut-Tangerine Tassies RecipeWalnut-Tangerine Tassies RecipeWalnut-Tangerine Tassies Recipe

These small bites pack a mighty punch, with a cream cheese- and tangerine zest-infused crust piled high with chopped walnut and coated in brown sugar, tangerine zest and golden cane syrup.

Ginger Nectarine Buckle RecipeGinger Nectarine Buckle Recipe

Ginger Nectarine Buckle Recipe

This attractive fruit dessert features a unique spin on streusel, adding crystallized ginger to the traditional mix of butter, flour and light brown sugar (plus a sprinkling of ground ginger in the buckle batter).

Article originally appeared on WomansDay.com.

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