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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Say “Bye Bye” to Plain Pumpkin Pie

Say “Bye Bye” to Plain Pumpkin Pie

Sure, pumpkin pie is a classic, must-have item at any Thanksgiving table. But why not mix things up this year with these exciting variations on this classic fall dessert. Each can be made with homemade pumpkin purée (recipe below) or, if you’re in a hurry, canned pumpkin.

How to make pumpkin purée:
Preheat your oven to 375° F. Cut up one small sugar pumpkin and remove the seeds (set these aside for roasting). Place the pumpkin pieces in a large baking pan, and cover with foil or a lid. Bake for one hour, or until very tender. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. Scrape pumpkin into a food processor; purée until smooth.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:
Wrap the exterior of a greased 9″ springform pan in a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and pecans. Stir in butter. Press into the bottom and about an inch up the sides of prepared pan. Bake at 325° F for 9-11 minutes, or until set. Cool on a wire rack. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed until combined. Place pumpkin purée in a small bowl and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining sugar. Remove 3/4 cup pumpkin filling and set aside. Pour remaining pumpkin filling into the crust; top with cream cheese mixture. Drop reserved pumpkin filling by spoonfuls over top and cut through filling with a knife to swirl. Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1″ of hot water to larger pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove the springform pan from the water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with whipped topping and gingersnap cookie wedges, if desired.

Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Ingredients:
9 ounces graham crackers
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Heat oven to 325° F. In a food processor, combine graham crackers, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg; process until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl; mix in butter with a wooden spoon. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of a 10″ pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until set. Set crust aside to cool. In a small bowl, place apple juice and 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle gelatin powder over liquid; set aside to soften, about 10 minutes. Beat eggs in an electric mixer at medium-low speed until fluffy. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes until the sugar water turns into a firm ball. With the mixer at high speed, drizzle sugar mixture into eggs. Beat about 5 minutes, until mixture turns pale yellow. Place bowl with softened gelatin over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Turn mixer to low and add gelatin to egg mixture. Add pumpkin purée, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, ginger, salt, and sour cream and combine. Pour filling into pie crust and refrigerate until set, at least four hours.

Maple Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1 1/4 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 9″ unbaked pie shell

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt. Stir in maple syrup, half-and-half, and flour. Mix in eggs one at a time. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour, or until center is set.

2 comments

1 Jaime McLeod { 11.18.10 at 3:40 pm }

Hi Liz,
Thanks for your question. No, the sugar mixture will not cook the eggs. Raw eggs are a part of many traditional dishes, as well as many everyday products that we eat, such as mayonnaise. Eating any recipe containing raw eggs or undercooked eggs (this would include sunny side up eggs, eggs “over easy,” eggs Benedict, souffles, and many types of ice cream or custard) does carry a very minimal risk of exposure to salmonella. This risk is more pronounced for some people than for others, including the elderly, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. There are steps you can take to reduce this risk, such as refrigerating eggs at or below 40°, and throwing away any egg if you accidentally drop part of the shell into the yolk or white (salmonella bacteria are most likely to live on the exterior of the shell). Of course, you should determine your own comfort level when it comes to consuming recipes containing raw eggs. If you prefer never to eat them, one option is to heat the eggs in another liquid from the recipe (in this case, the heavy cream is probably the best candidate). You’ll need at least three tablespoons of liquid per egg to keep from getting scrambled eggs. Stir the mixture constantly over low heat , until it reaches 160° F, then combine it with the other ingredients in the recipe. This could change the outcome of the recipe, though. Another option is to use an egg substitute. Two tablespoons of corn starch per egg is often recommended, but there are many other options. Just do an online search. Again, this is likely to change the outcome of the recipe to some degree. Hope that helps!

2 Liz { 11.18.10 at 2:49 pm }

These recipes sound delicious, however for the Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie recipe i notice that the eggs are used raw. Does the heated sugar mixture actually cook the eggs? If not, is it safe to use raw eggs?

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