15 Indulgent Desserts to Make for Labor Day
Poached Plum Tart
Nina Planck believes in eating "real" food in its purest, least-processed state, including unpasteurized whole milk with a thick layer of cream on top. She makes this elegant, juicy custard tart with fresh butter, eggs, milk and--when they're available locally--sweet, firm Green Gage plums.
Farmer's Cheesecake with Strawberries
For this elegant, no-bake cheesecake, Nicolaus Balla ferments his own farmer's cheese (a kind of cottage cheese). Ricotta mixed with cream cheese makes a delicious substitute for the filling, which is incredibly light, delicately sweet and wonderful inside the crumbly graham cracker crust.
Skillet Graham Cake with Peaches and Blueberries
Chicago chef Stephanie Izard's skillet cake, baked on the grill, gets amazing flavor from graham crackers mixed into the batter and in the crumbly streusel topping. It can also be baked in a 300° oven for the same amount of time.
Great-Grandmother Pearl's Angel Food Cake with Peaches
"My great-grandmother won so many blue ribbons with this cake," Katie Lee says. "I love to serve it with peaches, because the cake sops up the juices so nicely." It's tough to imagine beating the 16 egg whites by hand, as Pearl used to do...until the day this recipe won her a KitchenAid stand mixer.
Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
Instead of apple pie, Shawn McClain ends his Thanksgivings with this stunning tarte Tatin. Because the recipe calls for store-bought puff pastry (McClain is a huge fan of Dufour's), it's quite easy to prepare.
Strawberry Meringue Roulade with Raspberry Sauce
Rachel Allen's fantastic meringue is rolled around strawberries and sweet, spiked whipped cream.
Quadruple Chocolate Brownies
By swirling chunks of white, milk and bittersweet chocolate into a batter made with unsweetened chocolate, then melting and drizzling more all over the top, Recchiuti says this sweet has "all the chocolates I like in one brownie."
Harvest Cake with Grapes and Sangiovese Syrup
Sheamus Feeley loves to bake this moist cake at harvest time using Long Meadow's own Sangiovese grapes and grape juice, but any seedless red table grapes and unsweetened grape juice will work.
Chocolate-Glazed Boston Cream Whoopie Pies
Vanilla pastry cream gets sandwiched between decadent, gluten-free cake cookies before being glazed with even more chocolate.
Chocolate Chip Espresso Meringues
These large, crisp and chewy meringues are made with just enough espresso and bittersweet chocolate to keep them from being overly sweet.
Grilled Summer Pavlovas
Instead of turning on the oven and heating up your kitchen, Justin Chapple’s hack allows you to make pavlovas on the grill. Once they’re done, top them with macerated seasonal berries.
Skillet Brownies on the Grill
These brownies take on a deliciously smoky flavor on the grill from “baking” in a skillet set over hot coals. After you’re done grilling dinner, prepare to make brownies on the grill by adding a few more lumps of charcoal to maintain a grill temperature of around 350°F. Pull the skillet brownies when they’re still a bit moist, but not wet, in the middle for an fudgy texture in the center and smoky brownie “bark” around the edges.
Black-and-Blue Pie with Brown Sugar Crumb
For juicy—but never runny—berry pie, Rucker crushes a single large handful of the berry filling to help create the perfect saucy consistency. Huckleberries and blackberries create the namesake black-and-blue filling, but a mix of any brambleberries and blueberries will do. A crumb topping adds texture and helps absorb some of the pie’s juice, allowing it to slice cleanly.
Peaches and Cream Ice Cream Cake
In a riff on traditional ice cream cake, Laura Rege spreads the tender cake layers with ice cream, then uses even more ice cream (instead of actual frosting) to frost the cake.
Bourbon Custard with Berry Dust Meringues
A silky and creamy custard topped with shards of candy-like meringue and sweet-tart fresh berries, this dessert is rich but not too heavy. The bourbon in the custard cuts through the dairy and adds mellow caramel and vanilla notes.