Apple tarts

Photo: Chris Granger

A Savory Apple Pie
These gorgeous handheld mini-tarts are the perfect indulgent bites, whether you're bookending the meal with apple pie or letting the tartlets star as the only fall-fruit-themed course of the day. Jessie Lagasse Swanson and Jilly Lagasse (daughters of famed chef Emeril) share the easy recipe in their new cookbook, The Lagasse Girls' Big Flavor, Bold Taste—and No Gluten! You can make the pie crust yourself or buy it in the supermarket's refrigerated section. Either way, you fill each one with caramelized sweet onions, tart Granny Smiths and a small slice of creamy Brie.

Get the recipe: Warm Apple and Brie Tartlets
Shrimp cocktail

Photo: Creatas/Thinkstock

A Classic Finger Food with a Little Something Extra
Shrimp cocktail is an iconic party snack that's actually much more of a snap to make than people realize. The key, says chef Ben Pollinger in his new book, School of Fish, is to poach the shellfish in court bouillon, a briefly cooked white-wine-vegetable broth. The cooked shrimp cool completely in the liquid, taking on the aroma and taste of herbs and lemon while staying nice and moist.

Get the recipe: Shrimp Cocktail
Pumpkin walnut bites

Photo: Lynn Andriani

The 4-Ingredient Pumpkin Wonder
This salty-sweet finger food is ridiculously straightforward. All you need are walnut halves, goat cheese, canned pumpkin puree and dried cranberries. Just be sure to let the cheese sit out for an hour or so, so it's room temperature and easier to stir. You combine it with the pumpkin, spread a half-teaspoon of the mixture on each walnut and top with a dried cranberry.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Walnut Bites
Goat Cheese Tart with Pomegranate and Frisee

Photo: Michael Harlan Turkell

A Gourmet Predinner Pizza
Although this appetizer from Jeremy Sewall's The New England Kitchen is technically a tart, we prefer to think of it as a lightened-up pizza; you can slice it into wedges of any size, or even cut it into squares. The base layer is a creamy custard, made from tangy goat cheese, heavy cream, eggs and fresh thyme. On top of that you lay frisée lettuce, pomegranate seeds and Fuji apple slices. The pairing of the crisp greens and fruit with the warm bottom is unbeatable.

Get the recipe: Goat Cheese Tart with Pomegranate and Frisée
Parmesan and Cream Cheese Pumpkin Puffs

Photo: Averie Sunshine

Puffs They'll Be Popping Like Candy
We defy any guest to decline the offer of a hot, puffed pumpkin pastry, especially if they eye a dollop of cream cheese that may have oozed out the side. These lightly spiced nibbles from Cooking with Pumpkin by Averie Sunshine are delicious on their own, but you can also serve them with mustard, horseradish, ranch dressing or ketchup.

Get the recipe: Parmesan and Cream Cheese Pumpkin Puffs

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