Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving: A Whole Lotta Dessert

For the past few years, I've been in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving at my parents' house. I always make the tradition pumpkin pie--never any other type of pies, for whatever reason. Also, for these last few years, I've been making another pumpkin dessert from a recipe my mother-in-law gave me for pumpkin pie crunch. It's been a hit at Thanksgiving, so I keep bringing it.

For the pies, my uncle's partner Roger sent me this recipe, from NPR, for crust, which includes vodka! (The crust ingredients are on the upper left-hand side, and the instruction are below.) According to the recipe/article, the vodka does two things: 1. It does not react with the proteins in the flour to form gluten, and 2. Because the alcohol evaporates, you can add more liquid, which makes the dough light and flaky.

I gotta say, as much as I love making things from scratch--and the crust does turn out pretty tasty--it is sure a pain in the butt! It's a long, tedious process. Like I said, it's worth it in the end, but boy oh boy ... getting there is another thing! Luckily, I mixed the dough together (for two pies!) on Wednesday and finished everything off on Thursday.
My makeshift pie weights:

For the pie filling, I've been using a different recipe. I'm not sure how I came across this one, but it seems standard and always turns out tasty.

For both recipes, I follow everything exactly. I don't want to do anything wrong and mess the whole thing up!

The pumpkin pie crunch is really, really tasty--and really easy. Here's the recipe:
-15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
-12 oz. can evaporated milk
-3 eggs
-1.5 cup sugar
-4 teas. pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 teas. salt
-1 box yellow cake mix
-1 stick butter, melted (I just realized the recipe calls for two sticks (!) of butter, and I only used one! Whoops! I think 1.5 sticks would work best.)

Blend together all ingredients except for cake mix and butter. Pour into cake pan (I use a 9x13 pan), and sprinkle cake mix on top.
Pour butter on top. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Since I didn't use enough butter, there were parts of the "crunch" part that were still powder cake mix. Using 1.5 sticks would definitely work best. It's a really tasty dessert--the bottom tastes just like pumpkin pie, and then the buttery, crunchy top gives it a unique flavor.

Of course, serve both desserts with real whipped cream--just beat a small carton of heavy whipping cream with about 1 tbs. sugar and a dash of vanilla extract. YUM!

Before we had dessert, we, of course, and the traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, my new favorite Brussels sprouts, cranberries and salad.
As always, it was a delicious meal. And, as always, I stuffed myself silly!


  1. Your pictures really make the food look soooo good. I'm drooling right now wishing there was a monthly Thanksgiving!! I can't wait to try out the Pumpkin Pie Crunch. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading! :) Definitely give the Pumpkin Pie Crunch a try--you won't be disappointed! Let me know how it turns out.