The last thanksgiving recipe that I made was pumpkin pie. I knew I wanted it to be amazing, because even though I didn’t have the tremendous pressure of making the turkey this year (I merely assisted my friend, A, in making the turkey), pumpkin pie is the classic dessert that you just can’t mess up! And so, I consulted what’s her face… that woman on the food network who always bakes, who has a heavy southern accent and who is the queen of all things sweet and buttery….? Oh god, I forgot her name. But fortunately, I am smart, and I typed “queen of butter” into google. Google did not disappoint, and I remembered, oh yeah, PAULA DEEN!!!!! There are a million pumpkin pie recipes out there, but I knew that Paula would not let me down!!! And she didn’t. The pumpkin pie was a huge hit, especially served with freshly whipped cream. Even the gluten-free people broke their diet to have some! And keep in mind, this was after our humungous dinner, when everyone was beyond stuffed. I mean, there were about a dozen people at dinner, and everyone brought one dish… So you do the math, but it translated into a LOT of food.
I doubled the recipe, and somehow it made enough for FOUR pies, not two, as I expected. I baked the two pies, and saved the rest of the filling. I think that today, I’ll pour the filling into muffin tins and make mini pumpkin “muffins” with no crust so that my gluten-free friends can eat them guiltlessly. I like this pie so much that I’ll be adding it to my list of desserts that I make regularly in winter, along with gooey brownies and my awesome banana bread. I almost didn’t have enough ingredients for the pie! I went grocery shopping the day before thanksgiving, and not only were there only two cans of pumpkin puree left, but there were almost NO cream cheeses. Only one regular, normal, cream cheese, and the rest were the light versions. Arghhhh. I believe that if you make a dessert, you should make it properly, with all the butter and sugar in the world, and no sub-par substitutes. If you’re going to worry about your health, go eat an apple. Just don’t try and make an excuse of a dessert with your sad attempts to healthify things like butter and cream!!! And so I cringed, and bought one light cream cheese since I doubled the recipe and needed two. Good thing it didn’t mess with the taste of the recipe. Probably because all the melted butter, and egg yolks compensated.
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pre-made pie shell
- Whipped cream, for topping
The first thing you want to do is bake your pie shell according to instructions. Leave to cool when it’s done. You’ll need to beat in the ingredients in this order:
- Cream cheese
- Sugar and salt
- Eggs, half-and-half, melted butter
- Vanilla, cinnamon, ginger
As you can see, this recipe will be significantly easier to make if you have a hand-held mixer… A few years ago, I invested the $40 to buy one, and it was the best decision of my life, because beating things by hand with a whisk is not fun, especially if you’re trying to beat cream cheese.
Then, pour into the cooled pie shells and bake until the centre is set! The recipe says that it’ll take 50min at 350C, but when I made it, the turkey was cooking at the same time at 325C, and so it took more like 1hr15min to cook. Look how I had to squish the pies in at the side of the oven so that there was space for the turkey!
Serve the pie with a large dollop of freshly whipped cream. I whipped some heavy cream together with a little vanilla and sugar, and stopped when stiff peaks formed. I cannot stress how much better this is than the canned stuff. It seriously takes about 2min to throw it all together and is soooo worth it.