The Thanksgiving Dessert Ina Garten Recommends To Give You A Break From The Oven

From the outside, Thanksgiving can seem magical. There's the alchemy of aromas flowing out of the kitchen as turkey roasts, pots bubble on the stove, and pies bake. There's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch in the morning, followed by a day of all-American football. Then comes the kinship, camaraderie, and general joviality of the feast itself.

But from the kitchen, it can be a slog at best, and a stressful nightmare at worst. Every square inch of the counter is being used to prep dishes; all the stovetop burners are alight, pumping heat into the space; someone is wondering if they can slide a casserole in with the turkey, but there is no space; every once in a while a relaxed person from the living room ambles in to politely, but insincerely, ask if they can offer assistance. Such is the reality of turning out a massive meal — one that calls for a proper catering kitchen — in a kitchen with limited resources.

For those reasons, recipes that require little prep and minimal cooking, or can be made in advance will always find a receptive audience with seasoned Thanksgiving cooks. And, just in time for the holiday, the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten has rolled out a dessert that is sure to relieve some of the pressure.

An outstanding dessert, overnight

Love it or hate it, pumpkin pie is the unofficial dessert of Thanksgiving. But that doesn't mean it has to be gelatinous pumpkin custard baked in an uninspired crust and topped with artificial whipped topping. If you're Team Pumpkin Pie, but need a break from the monotony, you have to think outside the crust.

That's exactly what Ina Garten did with her Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits. The Barefoot Contessa website explains that Garten starts with a pumpkin mousse that is tinged with spices and other ingredients evocative of the holidays: cinnamon, nutmeg, dark rum, and orange zest. The mousse is layered in parfait glasses — or any tall, translucent glass — with crumbles of ginger snap cookies for crunch and sweetened whipped cream for added lusciousness. Garten advises chilling the parfaits for at least 4 hours, but overnight is just fine — and can make Thanksgiving Day run that much smoother.

But she doesn't stop there. In case a make-ahead dessert isn't enough to lower your stress level, the Barefoot Contessa has you covered. Garten's Thanksgiving make-ahead meal plan includes turkey and gravy, a slew of sides, and another pumpkin dessert.

And if even that is too heavy a lift for you, then check out our lineup of the top places to order a Thanksgiving meal from in 2022, because there is nothing wrong with having someone else do the cooking for you.