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Thanksgiving Desserts Kids Can Help Bake

Thanksgiving Desserts Kids Can Help Bake

Pie, crumble, and tart recipes from "Kids in the Kitchen" that are perfect for children to help bake.

We love when our kids help us out in the kitchen, and what better time to get them involved than preparing the Thanksgiving feast? While having them underfoot on the big day might not be the best option, try baking Thanksgiving dessert with them the day before, when you’re not stressed about getting the turkey in the oven on time and preparing a dozen side dishes. What we love about these recipes from Kids in the Kitchen by Amanda Grant is they are geared toward different age groups and help each specific age group develop important cooking skills, which are noted within each recipe. Happy cooking!

Mini Fruit Pies (ages 3-5)

Ready-made puff pastry dough is just right for these mini fruit pies. When you are rolling pastry, it is much easier to roll one small piece at a time instead of rolling one large piece, which is why I have broken the pastry into four pieces. These pastries taste delicious and are good for packed lunches, at snack time, or for desserts. If you choose to use big dried fruits like mango or apricots, you will need to use scissors to cut them into small pieces first.

mini fruit pies

To make 16 mini pies you need:


  • Small piece of butter, about the size of 2 pieces of chocolate, melted (ask an adult or older child to do this), plus a little extra
  • 20 tablespoons (11/3 cups) dried fruits
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 12½ oz. puff pastry dough
  • A little flour for sprinkling
  • A little demerara sugar for sprinkling 

scissors, parchment paper, baking tray, mixing bowl, spoon, rolling pin, 2 pennies, round cutter about 2¼ inches across, table knife, pastry brush

mixing, rolling pastry, cutting circles, brushing, using oven


  1. Turn the oven on to 350°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper big enough to cover the baking tray. Put the melted butter, dried fruits, and spice in a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon.
  2. Break the pastry in half, then break each piece in half to make 4 pieces. Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. Flatten one piece of dough with a rolling pin until it is about the same thickness as 2 stacked pennies.
  3. Take the cutter and, starting at the edge of the dough, push it down to cut out circles. Keep going until you have used up all of that dough. Roll out another piece of dough and cut out circles. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Using a teaspoon, spoon a little fruit mixture onto the middle of each circle. Bring the edges of the circle up together to seal the mixture inside. There should be no gaps in the pastry!
  4. Turn the parcels over and flatten slightly with your hand. Using a table knife, carefully cut two or three short slits in the top of each pastry—this will let the steam escape when the pastries are baking.
  5. Put them on the baking tray. Dip a pastry brush in a little melted butter and brush over all the pies. Sprinkle with sugar. Ask an adult to help you put the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. They should look golden!


What’s-in-Season Fruit Crumble (ages 5-7)

One of the first things my mom taught me to make was a crumble. It’s a great way to learn how to rub butter into flour. Once you know how to do this you can have a go at making pastry. You can sprinkle this crumble mix on top of so many different fruits. Try to choose fruit that is in season—if you are not sure what that is, ask the person working in the produce section of the supermarket or go to a local famer’s market. Berries are easy to use as you don’t need to chop them first.

what's in season fruit crumble      

For 4-6 people you need:

Fruit filling:

  • Seasonal fruit e.g. 15 plums or about 1 lb. 4 oz. fresh or frozen berries or about 12 peaches or nectarines
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 level tablespoon plain / all-purpose flour

Crumble topping:

  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons plain / all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 handfuls oats (or muesli if you prefer)
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice / apple pie spice or ground cinnamon

cutting board, small paring knife, spoon, 2 small or 1 large ovenproof dish

rubbing butter into flour, cutting with knife, mixing with spoon, sprinkling topping


  1. Turn the oven on to 350°F. To make the fruit filling, use the bridge-cutting technique to cut the plums in half: on a chopping board, make a “bridge” with a thumb and finger of one hand and hold the plum. Hold a small paring knife in your other hand and put the blade under the bridge, then cut downwards firmly. Move the plums around as you cut to avoid cutting through the stone. Take out the stones.
  2. Put the plums into two small or one large ovenproof dish. Pour the orange juice over the plums, add the sugar and flour, and mix with a spoon or your hands.
  3. To make the crumble topping, put the flour into a bowl, add the butter and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. This can take a few minutes. Add the oats, sugar, and spice and mix with your fingers again.
  4. Spoon the mixture over the top of the plums. Ask an adult to help you put the dishes into the oven using oven mitts. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crumble topping is crisp, the plums are soft, and the fruit juices are bubbling up around the edges.

Toffee Apple Tarts (ages 7-11)

These tarts are so enjoyable to make that the boys who came over to my house to make them for this book asked to make some more in between taking the photos. Once you know how to make pastry dough, you can make so many different pies, cheese straws, small tarts, big tarts, and lots more.

toffee apple tarts

To make 24 little tarts you need:

Sweet pastry / pie crust dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1¾ cups plain / all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water


  • 6-8 eating apples
  • 12 toffee sweets / candies

table knife, mixing bowl, clingfilm / plastic wrap, parchment paper, two 12-hole cupcake tins / pans, rolling pin, round cutter about 3 inches across, cutting board, oven mitts

cutting, rubbing butter into flour, lining tart tins / pans, sharing fillings, bashing with rolling pins, using oven


  1. Use a table knife to cut the butter into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl with the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. This can take a few minutes.
  2. Add the sugar, egg yolk, and water and stir the mixture together with the table knife until it comes together and you can form a ball with your hands. Wrap the pastry in a piece of clingfilm / plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes this will make it easier to roll out.
  3. Turn the oven on to 350°F. Using a scrap of parchment paper, rub a little butter inside the holes in the cupcake tins / pans. Break the pastry into four pieces. Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface, then roll out one piece at a time. Dip the cutter in flour, then cut out 24 circles. Gently press the circles into the holes of the pans.
  4. Use the table knife and a cutting board to cut the apples in small pieces, avoiding the core in the middle. Divide the pieces between the pastry cases / dough crusts.
  5. Put the toffees on a solid work surface and gently bash with the rolling pin to break into pieces. Scatter the pieces evenly over the apples. Using oven mitts, put the pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the toffee has melted and the apples are cooked.


Kids in the Kitchen cookbook Excerpted from Kids in the Kitchen ($19.95) by Amanda Grant, with photography by Susan Bell, with permission of Ryland Peters & Small.


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Amanda Grant


Amanda Grant is the author of Kids in the Kitchen, Grow It, Cook It with Kids, and Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids.

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