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30 Desserts for When Nothing’s in Season

From the ultimate chocolate brownies to fool-proof pie, give some of these virtually produce-free recipes a try.

Necessity is the mother of invention and all that. Even in the depths of winter, when fruit trees are barren and you’re sick of looking at squash-based pies, dinner parties go on and sweet-tooth cravings rage. (Or maybe you planned poorly and are scrambling through your pantry to find something that can be turned into dessert without the addition of fresh produce.)

Either way, dessert must be made, and we’re here to tell you that it’s going to be OK: We’ll get you through this. Forget about what’s in season—because not much is right now—with these perennially achievable sweet things.


Trail Mix Trifle Recipe

Trail Mix Trifle Recipe

You might not be able to get nice summer berries, but you can always count on candy for convenience. The mix of M&M's, chips, and chocolate cake in this trifle will make even the bleakest winter days a little sweeter.

Perfect Chocolate Babka Recipe

This chocolate babka veers a little away from the classic with plenty of Nutella in addition to the typical chocolate chips. Good thing those ingredients don't go out of season, because once you make this chocolate babka, you won't want to stop.

Giant Cookie Bowl Recipe

Giant Cookie Bowl Recipe

You’ve heard of cookie shot glasses, but how about a giant cookie bowl? Expand your dough-based dishware game for this Willy Wonka-esque dessert, because chocolate chip cookies are always in season.

Easy Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse is a classic for a reason: it's good on its own or used as a layer in cakes and a filling in pies, and it makes people happy all year round. An added bonus: You probably already have most of these ingredients at home.

Chongos Zamoranos Recipe

Like a caramel pudding, this popular Mexican dessert relies on sugar, milk, egg yolks, and a little rennet to help it come together—all ingredients you can find all year round.

Matcha Glazed Doughnuts Recipe

When fruits are failing you, tea can provide your sweets with a reliably interesting and complex flavor profile straight out of your kitchen cabinet. With these fluffy doughnuts with sweet matcha glaze, you’re basically having breakfast for dessert—and we salute you for it.


Fudgy Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies Recipe

It’s a good idea to always have some chocolate on hand anyway—because why not?—but in the dregs of winter, chocolate is your dessert savior. Keep this recipe for fudgy, perfectly dense brownies in your back pocket for the weeks when the grocery store is looking less than inspiring.

Almond Rice Pudding Recipe

This Danish-inspired rice pudding leans on a little bit of citrus zest, but lemons and oranges are so omnipresent at your average supermarket that who cares whether they're "in season" or not (just like the dried spices used here). Hey, we’re making the rules.

Easy Tiramisu Recipe

Coffee and chocolate defy the seasons. With creamy mascarpone and a generous glug of booze, this quick and easy tiramisu will definitely keep you feeling warm and cozy. You can watch a step-by-step guide from Fabián Von Hauske of Contra and Wildair over on VICE Video.

Naked Cinnamon Spice Cake Recipe

There’s a reason why so many wintery desserts are heavy on the spices—they keep well. This layer cake is heavy on all that pumpkin-spice stuff, and you don’t even have to stress about perfect icing, since the whole point is to get a peek of the cinnamon-brown layers through the frosting.

Toasted Coconut Cake Recipe

Chef Eric Werner from the Tulum, Mexico hot-spot Hartwood offers up a timeless cake recipe that pulls all of its flavor from the pantry, not the produce section. A mixture of oversized dried coconut flakes and finely shredded dried coconut, plus sticky-sweet cream of coconut (and a bit of rum), makes for a perfect sweet end to a meal.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Recipe

What is more blessedly seasonless than a good PB&J? The West Coast ice cream makers at Salt & Straw up the ante a bit with a chocolate peanut butter fudge, but you can still go with your favorite store-bought jam. No fresh berries are harmed in the making of this ice cream.

Burnt Honey Rosemary Ice Cream Recipe

Brooklyn-based ice cream wizard Sam Mason cooks the honey in this ice cream recipe until it’s basically smoking, and you’re going to wonder if any of your other cooking mistakes might be able to be turned into something so delicious. Bonus: he also showed us a thoroughly browned butter and sage ice cream, too.

Lemon Thyme Granita Recipe

This herbaceous, lemony granita is easy to whip together, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker to make it. You can serve it without the strawberries, too, if you're not feeling the out-of-season-flavorless-rock thing.

Baklava Milkshake Recipe

We put Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi and Action Bronson in a kitchen together, and this unholy delight came out of it. Tosi’s signature Cereal Milk ice cream blended with Action’s signature baklava (and some smoky bacon fat, because fuck it) creates a true work of art.

Pistachio Peda Recipe

These nutty pedas combine three ingredients—cardamom, saffron, and pistachios—that create such a perfect trinity of flavors that you’ll never have a chance to miss fresh fruit. Dip these in milky chai for dessert (or breakfast, we’re not judging).


Chess Pie Recipe

The etymology of the term “chess pie” is dubious at best, but all you need to know is that it’s delicious and super simple to make. The custard filling in our recipe here calls for Meyer lemons, but easier-to-find traditional lemons work just fine, too.

Spanish-Style Churros Recipe

"Churros are pleasure," says chef José Chesa, owner of 180 Xurros and Xocolata in Portland, Oregon. Sugar-coated fried dough is a perennial pleasure, indeed.

Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

There’s not really a dessert that’s more Southern than pecan pie, unless, of course, you throw some bourbon in there to take it to the next level. With this much chocolate, nuts, and booze, you’ll eschew fruit pies even when you’re in peak peach or cherry season.

Jaggery Ice Cream Recipe

Jaggery is an unrefined sugar that’s popular in many parts of the world, but most so in Southeast Asia. California chef Russell Moore shared this ice cream recipe that subs jaggery in for regular granulated sugar, and it makes a perfect blank canvas for any toppings of your choice.

Grasshopper Milkshake Recipe

Both dessert and digestif, this grasshopper milkshake is simple, boozy, and refreshing every season of the year.

Sussex Pond Pudding Recipe

When you break through the golden brown pie crust surrounding a whole lemon, a gush of citrusy syrup bursts out, pooling into a little "pond." Consider this pastry pudding Britain's version of a molten lava cake.


Monkey Bread Recipe

We’re pretty sure the idea behind monkey bread is that it’s an ideal dessert or snack for "sharing," but who says you have to plan to serve this to other people. Treat. Yo. Self.

Chocolate Pudding Pie Recipe

Do you have an irrational fear of making (or, more specifically, failing at) pie crusts? With a fool-proof, pressed shortbread crust, this chocolate pudding is for you.

Bananas Foster Recipe

Do bananas even have a season? Maybe they used to, but can you think of a single time in your life when you’ve entered a grocery store and not seen perfectly ripe bananas? Right. So this bananas foster recipe, complete with flaming rum step, is here for you 365.

Chocolate Cookie and Peanut Butter Ice Box Cake Recipe

The beauty of the icebox cake is that you can just leave the leftovers in the icebox. Bam. You have a chocolatey, peanut-buttery fix waiting for you in the freezer whenever you get an itch.

Roasted Banana Dulce de Leche Ice Pops Recipe

We stand by that bananas-for-all-seasons assertion. Plus, these homemade paletas have just a touch of dark rum hidden in there, and we’re big advocates of putting booze in your ice cream.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe

There’s hardly a combination of flavors more guaranteed to be lethally delicious than dark chocolate and espresso. If that's the way to your heart, then make this rich, fudgy sheet cake.

Whiskey and Lucky Charms Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

We’d call this a "grown-up" ice cream sandwich, because there’s booze in it, but that claim doesn’t totally hold up since the crew from Coolhaus went ahead and threw Lucky Charms marshmallows in, too. Whatever, you’re an adult—you can eat all the sugary cereal you want! TAKE THAT, MOM!!!

Vinegar Pie Recipe

This is it. We’ve reached the pinnacle of the "dessert when nothing’s in season" category. Back in the day, when lemons weren’t so easy to get your hands on in places like the American frontier, resourceful people used vinegar to add that little bit of tartness to their baked goods. So trust us, this vinegar pie is a tried and true way of getting through the winter and into the bounty of spring.

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