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Pumpkin Pie Ho-Hum? Here are 10 Tips to Wake It Up

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Pumpkin pie with a gluten free crust from The Culinary Institute of America.For some of us, pumpkin pie choices are pretty basic:  small slice or large? Whipped cream or ice cream? And of course, now or later — after we have a short walk (or nap) after Thanksgiving dinner.

Most of us stick to tradition — but maybe it’s time to give that pie recipe a tweak or two, and make some new traditions of our own.

We have pumpkin pie recipes in our files and links to them are at the end of this article. But here, we launch a search for some ways to add new taste or topping to this holiday staple. Here are 10 tips to consider.

1. To your regular pumpkin pie recipe, add a half-teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest. The flavors of pumpkin, orange and pumpkin pie spices complement each other nicely.

2. Another easy tip: You can deepen the color and add a little richness to the pie filling by putting in a tablespoon of dark molasses.

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Squash

3. roasted a bunch of pumpkins and squashes, then tested them to see which made the “best” pumpkin pie, in terms of color and taste. The top-rated pie was made with a red kuri squash. We’re going to give that a try.

Or, how about mashed carrots? That suggestion was offered on the Tulsa World website this week. Or substitute part of the pumpkin/squash called for with mashed sweet potatoes.

4. Pumpkin pecan pie? We’ve seen plenty of recipes for that here in South Texas. But, what about a nut-streusel pie topping? This link will take you to the Brown Family’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie, which has a topping of chopped walnuts. If you still want pecan, just substitute. Chopped nuts can also be baked into the pie.

Candied ginger pieces5. Even more easy, cut the amount of powdered ginger in half in the recipe, then chop up candied ginger, a teaspoon (or two, if you love ginger), and stir into the pie.

6. Make a little extra pie crust and make cutouts to put on top. Bake them part way as you’re baking the pie, then put them on top during the last 15 minutes or so of baking. Cut your own shapes or use cookie cutters of leaves, pumpkins and so forth.

7. I add this tip for my sister, since she loves cardamom and will often add a “pinch of cardamom” to just about any kind of recipe, sweet, spicy or savory. Nothing wrong with that — and it would add an exotic touch to the pie.

8. If you don’t want to fool around with filling, think about the whipped cream on top. Add a little orange curaçao to the cream for flavor instead of vanilla extract. If you love pumpkin pie spices, add a liqueur to the whipped cream such as Goldschlager — it has tiny gold flakes in it and the flavor of cinnamon.

9. This is from SavorSA colleague John Griffin. For leftover pumpkin pie, or a pie that that looked less than presentable, make a pumpkin pie milkshake. Cut the pie up into bite-sized pieces. Whirl your homemade vanilla ice cream or eggnog ice cream in the blender, then fold in the cut-up pumpkin pie. (This is not diet food.)

10.  If you’re more interested in decking out the pie in a different look, check out this wild collection of pumpkin pie images.


Pumpkin Pie Recipes

Kentucky Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie




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