By Ashley Kappel
November 14, 2011

It happens to everyone. You call your holiday hostess and ask the age-old question, "What can I bring?" When the response is clear ("Sweet potato casserole!" "Dinner rolls!" "Wine!"), it's a cinch. Then you need only find a favorite recipe and get to work. However, when you hear the vague response, "How about a dessert?", that's when you need to get your recipe juices flowing.

Thanksgiving desserts can be tricky. Like a second-stringer trying to follow a Heisman winner during the big game, the dessert has to follow what is quite possibly the year's most delicious meal without fading into the background. In short, it must be memorable and delicious, with just enough sugar to snap even the weariest of holiday eaters out of their food comas.

Enter the cheesecake. Its not-too-sweet flavor palate makes it a refreshing finish to any holiday meal and it can be tailored to fit any occasion or event. For the holidays, we suggest serving a White Chocolate Cheesecak with Cranberry Currant Compote. The compote, which comes together in fifteen minutes using only four ingredients, makes this dessert a showstopper at the dessert buffet. The crimson glow of the berries against the pure white chocolate cheesecake is enough to make me stop and lick my screen right now. In lieu of that, I may just have to head out to the grocery store.

Before I fall prey to this indulgent Thanksgiving dessert, let me remind you of the three Holiday Dessert Laws, unwritten up until this point:

1) It must be beautiful. We didn't say "fancy"; homespun with a little greenery is just as beautiful as a tiered layer cake.

2) It must be delicious. Your goal, upon first bite, is silent rapture, then an appreciative "Mmmmm..."

3) It must be better than your Mother-in-Law's. This part may now be written, but it should still go unsaid. At least until you can take a count of whose dessert has more leftovers the next day. Wait, there's no cheesecake left? That's what we thought!

Whatever you choose to eat this Thanksgiving season, eat well and share it with those you love. Happy feasting!

For more feasting ideas, join our virtual Thanksgiving table and enjoy some menu items from our blogging friends:

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads: Thanksgiving Cocktails

The Kitchn: Goat Cheese Panna Cotta Topped With Canned Cranberry Jelly Cut-Outs

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Braided Biscuits

Epicurious: Chestnut and Sherry Soup

Yahoo! Shine: Spicy Caramelized Onion Jam With Goat Cheese

YumSugar: Kale and Chard Salad with Pomegranates and Hazelnuts

Whole Foods Market: Mixed Green Salad With Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese and Homemade Croutons


FN Dish: Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey

Eatocracy: Country Ham With Pickled Peaches

BlogHer Food: Root Vegetable Pot Pie With Cheddar Biscuit Crust


Cooking Light: Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple Stuffing

Bon Appetit: Maxine Rapoport's Turkey Stuffing

EatingWell: Green Bean Casserole

Serious Eats: Ultra-Crispy Roasted Potatoes David Chang's Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Asian Vinaigrette

Food Republic: Cavatappi With Fontina and Fall Vegetables

Healthy Eats: Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots

Saveur: Green Beans and Tomatoes

Diner's Journal: Fiery Sweet Potatoes

Real Simple: Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots With Rosemary and Pecans

The Daily Meal: Bacon Brussels Sprouts

AP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger-Pear Cranberry Sauce

Food52: Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Food & Wine: Michael Symon's Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin

All You: Sweet Potato Bake


The Blender/ Williams-Sonoma: Deep-Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie

Southern Living: Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake

Cooking Channel: Apple Bread Pudding

Fox News: Ginger Molasses Sugar Cookies

Gourmet Live: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta

Melissa Clark: Sweet Potato Ginger Custard Pie White Chocolate Cheesecake With Cranberry Currant Compote