By Sherrie Norris
Isn’t it amazing how we become such creatures of habit? I mean, how many of us really do eat pumpkin pie in the summer? I’m sure it’s just as good in July as it is in November. Do we enjoy pickled eggs and potato salad at any other time of year as much as we do at Easter? What about red velvet cakes, fudge and peppermint candy — does it really taste the same in August as it does at Christmas? How many of us plan a picnic for New Year’s Eve — even if it just means spreading a blanket in the living room floor by the fireplace? You get my drift, because we do have those long-standing traditions that are not easily broken.
So, now, as we do every November, we’ve got to get those pumpkin pies rolling! Enjoy the season and make every moment count — regardless of what you do, when or how.
Low-Carb Pumpkin Pie
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (or regular milk, but watch carbs)
1/3 cup cream
1 cup sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
1 tsp. dark molasses (optional)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 scant tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. salt
Pecan pie crust (see below)
Preheat oven to 425. Dump all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and whirl to blend. Pour into the crust. Put pie in the oven and immediately turn oven down to 375. In 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 300. (This cooks the crust, so it isn’t soggy, but then allows the custard to bake more slowly.) Bake until almost set in the middle, about 30-40 minutes more. If it starts to crack a bit around the edges, it’s probably done. Cool and serve with whipped topping.
Pecan Pie Crust
1 cup pecan pieces (frozen)
2 Tbs. melted butter
2 Tbs. “sweetening power” from artificial sweetener of choice
Take pecans out of the freezer and measure them into a food processor. You can use a blender, but be careful not to blend them down too finely. Add butter and sweetener, mix well; quickly dump it into a pie pan, pushing with your fingers to cover the bottom and sides. It should be the right consistency to mold the crust to the pie pan evenly.
Traditional Pumpkin Pie
1 prepared pie crust or make the following:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 to 3 Tbsp. cold water
1 large egg
1 large egg white
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. each ground allspice, nutmeg and cloves
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
Whipped cream, optional
For pie crust: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Using a fork, stir in oil and butter until dough is crumbly. Gradually add enough water until dough holds together. Roll out between sheets of plastic wrap into an 11-in. circle. Freeze for 10 minutes.
Remove top sheet of plastic; invert crust into a 9-in. pie plate. Remove remaining plastic. Trim and flute edges. Chill.
If desired, roll dough scraps to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a small leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, beat egg, egg white, sugars, salt and spices until smooth. Beat in pumpkin. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Garnish with leaf cutouts. If desired, top with whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers.
Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Butter Pie
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (9-12 oz.) pumpkin butter
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups whipped topping, thawed, and more for serving
Prepared graham cracker crust
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on medium speed of mixer until smooth and well blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into prepared graham cracker crust and spread to smooth. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
1 box yellow cake mix
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 large can (3 cups) solid pack pumpkin
1 cup sugar, divided
½ cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Reserve 1 cup of the dry cake mix. In small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg. In large bowl, stir together remaining cake mix, melted butter and beaten egg. Press into prepared pan. In larger bowl, lightly beat remaining 3 eggs. Stir in pumpkin, ½ cup of the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk and cinnamon. Pour over cake mixture in pan. To the 1 cup cake mix, add remaining ½ cup sugar, walnuts and softened butter; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Bake 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or cool.
Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 lg. graham cracker pie crust
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 (16-oz.) can of pumpkin
1½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
Bake crust for 5 minutes in a 350-degree oven; set aside.
Mix together in a large bowl the cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger; mix until blended. Pour pumpkin mixture over pie crust.
Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350. Let cool; refrigerate overnight. To serve, plop a dollop of whipped cream on top of each slice and sprinkle with a little cinnamon.