Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie with Biscoff Crust and Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream.

Being the daughter of The Pie Man, it was quite a shame that I’d never made a pumpkin pie from scratch.  9 times out of 10, I choose convenience – pre-chopped onion, pre-diced butternut squash, pre-washed and bagged lettuce, you get the picture.  Time is typically a factor in my busy life.

But the Fruitaholic came to me the other day and asked if we could buy some pumpkins and bake a pumpkin pie together.  And who am I to turn down some quality time in the kitchen with my favorite boy?  And of course, knowing me, I couldn’t just make your typical pumpkin pie.  No siree.  I adapted a graham cracker crust recipe, substituting finely crushed Biscoff cookies and topped it all off with a homemade maple bourbon whipped cream using our fancy new blender (don’t worry, I topped a slice of pie with regular whipped cream for the Fruitaholic).  The pie was to die for.    I can’t stop eating it… It in no way resembles a neatly sliced pie anymore.  I’ve just been digging in with a spoon.

I’m pretty pumped that Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away so that I have a real excuse to make this pie again.  I strongly suggest adding it to your Thanksgiving menu.  You won’t be disappointed!

Pumpkin Pie with Biscoff Crust and Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream.

Crust Recipe adapted from All Recipes Pie Filling Recipe adapted from Carpe Season Whipped Cream Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay, via The Daily Meal


    For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 Cups Finely Crushed Biscoff Cookies
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter, melted
  • For the pie filling:
  • 1 Pie Pumpkin (also called Sugar Pumpkin)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1/8 Cup Evaporated Milk
  • For the Whipped Cream:
  • 1 Half Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. Bourbon


Preheat oven to 375.

Mix together the Biscoff cookie crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings with a metal spoon. Coat the cut edges with cooking spray and set cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Turn the oven temperature down to 325. When ready, roast the pumpkin for 40-60 minutes (it took about 45 for me), until the flesh is tender. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes then carefully remove skin using your fingers or a spoon.

Transfer the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Turn the oven temperature up to 425. Place half of the pumpkin puree into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl). Add the eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix until combined then add the evaporated milk and stir.

Pour filling into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 and bake an additional 35-45 minutes, until set. Allow to cool, then chill.

To make the whipped cream, combine the cream, maple syrup and bourbon and whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon over the top of the chilled pie just before serving.


Spiral Dinner Rolls.

I was a guest this past Thanksgiving, due to the fact that my in-laws chose to host this year.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have a break from having to entertain a house full of people, especially since last year’s festivities ended with my mom in the hospital.  This year, however, was a complete 180.  Mom is making incredible strides in her recovery.  My parents joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone was amazed at how great she is doing.  It’s a huge change from just a few short months ago, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for doing something great with the second chance she’s been given.

When you’re a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner, you have to figure out how to take a step back and graciously relinquish control over the meal.  This year, instead of making some grand dessert or tasty side, I was assigned the rolls.  That’s right, rolls – the least important fixture on the Thanksgiving table, and to add to it, my last few attempts at working with yeast have been epic failures.  And not only was I in charge of making the rolls, I was given a suggestion (and handed a recipe) as to what kind of roll to make.  No way, I decided.  If I have to make these rolls, I’m making them my way, and they’re going to be the best damn rolls you’ve ever had.

I came up with a list of a few amazing sounding rolls and handed it over to the Husby, who countered “Why don’t you just make plain rolls?”  Great, another wrench in my plans.  So off I went again, in search of the perfect, plain old boring roll recipe (if such a thing were to exist).

I was about to give up and just grab a tube of Pillsbury when I came across these spiral rolls.  They were plain but also had a fabulous flair to them.  Just my style.

And, because I’m me, I may have also shown up to Thanksgiving dinner with two additional unassigned dishes: some Whiskey Glazed Carrots and a Chocolate Hazelnut Tart.

Spiral Dinner Rolls – adapted from breadbaking.about.com

  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water, about 110 degrees F
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (or 1 pkg.) Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Milk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, room temperature
  • 3 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 Tbsp. Water

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), mix the warm water and yeast.  Set aside until the yeast gets bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.  Add the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg and butter.  Stir to combine.

Attach the dough hook to the mixer, if using.  Add the bread flour and knead for 8 minutes (10 if by hand), until the dough is firm and smooth to the touch.

Transfer dough to a medium greased bowl, and turn over so that the top gets lightly greased also.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours, until doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  Punch down the dough and knead for a few minutes to remove any bubbles.  Divide dough into 24 equally sized balls.  Using your hands, roll each ball into an 8 inch snake and shape into a tight spiral against a flat surface.  Tuck the end piece underneath the roll.  Repeat for all dough balls.

Place the spirals on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.  Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 375.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and water.  Brush each roll with the mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Pinot Noir Cranberries.

Before we got married, the (future) Husby and I took a trip to Eugene, Oregon.  It was quite the adventure getting there but we fell in love with the city.  The people were friendly and laid back, the city clean, beautiful and green.  If we ever decided to leave Chicago (we’ll never leave you, my love), this is where we would go.

While we were there, we drove up to one of the local wineries and spent the afternoon there.  It was our first time ever visiting a winery (we couldn’t have been older than 22), and really, likely one of our first times really drinking wine.  That was the day I fell in love with Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley, a love that hasn’t faltered to this very day.

So naturally, I was ecstatic to find this recipe on Closet Cooking, one of my favorite food blogs.  I’m constantly finding myself drooling over his recipes, so I knew this one would not steer me wrong.  The pinot was an incredible complement to the cranberries and the ginger was a welcome addition.  Everyone gobbled (ha ha) them up!  I didn’t even have any leftovers.

Oh well, I guess tha just gives me an excuse to open up another bottle, right?

Pinot Noir Cranberries – slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, grated*
  • 2 Cups Pinot Noir
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Crystallized Ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cranberries and fresh ginger  and stir until the cranberries begin to burst, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the wine and sugar and boil for 15-20 minutes, until reduced.  Remove from heat and stir in the crystallized ginger and Chinese five spice powder.

* If you store fresh ginger in the freezer, it will keep for months.  It will also make it incredibly easy to grate.

Bourbon Pear Pecan Stuffing.

I don’t know about you but alcohol plays a big role in our holiday celebrations.  The Husby’s family is Irish, and the Irish?  Well, they like to drink.

I was intrigued by the bourbon that was called for in the recipe so I decided to give it a try at the “Friendsgiving” dinner we hosted earlier this week.  It was by far everyone’s favorite side of the evening.  Sauteeing the pears in the touch of booze provided a sweet-smokiness to the otherwise savory dish, and the toasted pecans lent a welcome crunch.  I think it would be excellent to use homemade toasted bread cubes as the original recipe called for in lieu of the stuffing mix, but I was lazy and it still came out wonderfully.  It would certainly be an elegant dish to add to your Thanksgiving table.

Bourbon Pear Pecan Stuffing – slightly adapted from Food Network

  • 6 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Sage, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
  • 2 Bosc Pears, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Package Unseasoned Stuffing
  • 1 Cup Toasted Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, sage, and thyme and cook for 5 minutes, until soft.  Add the pears and cook an additional 3 minutes.

Pour in the bourbon and simmer 2 minutes, then add the chicken broth.  Return to a simmer another 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the eggs and parsley in a large bowl.  Add the stuffing and pecans, then the hot mixture.  Toss gently until combined.

Spoon the stuffing into a buttered 9×13 baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.