Arsip Tag: pumpkin

pumpkin swirl brownies – smitten kitchen

When I first saw this recipe on the homepage of last month, my first thought was “ooh, how perfectly fall!” but then a second later, “wait, this can’t be right.” I mean, chocolate and pumpkin together? I have to admit, it sounds off to me.

everything starts with buttermelting chocolate with butter

In my overly-analytical head, pumpkin goes with nutmeg and cinnamon and ground ginger and pecans and bourbon and cream cheese and gingersnaps; chocolate, however, goes with a whole different slew of things, like scraped vanilla beans and walnuts or mint or peanut butter or cream cheese and maybe occasionally some chipotle powder. They’re different, you see, different, different, different.

making brownie batteradding the pumpkin layer

And then? Then I said “my god, Deb, you’re such a square!” and I made them anyway. Because seriously, can one possibly have too many recipes for brownies? There’s no way. I worry too much about these things. Every single person who tried them, loved them and in a way, they’re the quintessential fall indulgence.

Well, everyone but me. Oh, I like them. I think they’re incredibly tasty. It’s just that every time I try a bite of one, I find myself wishing they were either all pumpkin bars or all brownie bars. Oh, and I’d like either version to have a cream cheese swirl. So, in the end I would say that if this combination sounds good to you, it will taste good to you. And me, I’ll get working on that pumpkin bar… as soon as I get back.

pumpkin swirl brownies

One year ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Deb and Alex went to Paris and all I got were these lousy brownies! Yes, it’s true. Alex and I have flown the coop this week and are (hopefully) wandering around ancient cobblestone streets in a wine and butter-induced haze. Comment responses will be slow–if at all–this week, but I have fortunately been cooking up enough of a storm that you should never be left without your smitten kitchen fix! We’ll be back before you know it.

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (the original recipe calls for the larger amount; I think it could be dialed down a bit)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it. Butter the lining as well. (Deb note: I used an 8-inch square, because it was what I had. It works, too, but the brownies are crazy thick and take much longer to bake, just to give you a heads-up.)

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

4. Pour half of batter (about two cups) into a separate bowl and stir chocolate mixture into it. If you find that it is a little thick (as mine was) add a little more batter (a few tablespoons or so) until it is more pourable. This is important because mine was quite thick, and the pumpkin half was quite thin, so I had trouble swirling the two together.

5. In other bowl, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.

6. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan–I didn’t, and ended up with a chocolate base, not that it is such a bad thing. Sprinkle with nuts, if using.

7. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

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silky smooth pumpkin pie – smitten kitchen

Is pumpkin pie as we know it broken? This is what I was asking myself at 10 p.m. last night as I had words I will only express in asterisks going through my head as I was in my twentieth minute of trying to push a pumpkin pie filling through a very fine mesh strainer.

my first canned yams, evervegetable, dairycooking the fillingadding the dairy

The source of the recipe, as some of you may have guessed by now, was the November 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, wherein seeking to make a more complex and less grainy pie, those clever people up in Vermont came to a few conclusions. Swapping out some pumpkin puree with canned yams resulted in a better pumpkin flavor, as did concentrating the flavor by cooking the filling on the stove top before filling the crust. They also found that a mix of a higher and lower baking temperature kept the pie’s custard from curdling (making the filling a bit coarse). And then they found that passing the filling through a fine mesh strainer resulted in a less grainy filling.

straining the filling

Which pretty much brings us up to 10 p.m. Now, I should have known better than to start a recipe that late (after the gym, after dinner and after a long work day) and I have no doubt whatsoever that this was in part what wore down my patience. Also? I hate passing things through strainers. I must have the “finest” strainer known to man, because I swear, a cup of flour can take five minutes to sift in that thing. It is enough to make you strain your own sanity and question that of the bow-tied man. (In the end, I switched to a medium-mesh strainer and might have saved myself a few gray hairs. I can only hope.)

smoother, silkier pumpkin pie

But when I tried the pie today, all of my frustration and asterisked words dissipated. This is some good pie. It is silky and not so heavy, it is smooth and a bit velvety, it is softly spiced and very pumpkin-y and I don’t mean to tattle or anything, but Alex has already had two slices. Of pie that did not involve chocolate.

I rest my case.

slice of pumpkin pie

A new pumpkin pie! Since this was published, there’s been a new recipe on the site for a Classic Pumpkin Pie, with a less-classic-but-deserves-to-become-one Pecan Praline Sauce.

One year ago: Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Two years ago: Chocolate Stout Cake

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, November & December 2008

A half-recipe of your favorite pie crust, chilled (Updated: My choice these days is my All-Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough)

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (I used 2 cups of half and half instead of one cup each of cream and milk)
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (regular canned yams can be substituted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground because I’m not a huge fan of fresh ginger)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to make 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang all around pie plate.

Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove plate and baking sheet from oven.

Make the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (The pie finishes cooking with resident heat; to ensure the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.)

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pumpkin cupcakes – smitten kitchen

Oh, people. I know you’re pumpkin-ed out and it is not even Thanksgiving yet. But if there could be room in your gullet for one more pumpkin love — perhaps even as a last minute, the-heck-with-pie, Hail Mary pass of a Thanksgiving meal dessert — I think that these wee cakes are a worthy cause.

paper linerspumpkin cake batterpumpkin cupcake battermaple cream cheese frosting

So many pumpkin cakes and loaves and muffins are heavy, playing off the dense qualities of pureed squash, and the deep, warm spices we like to eat them with. But these cupcakes — originally envisioned as a two-layer cake I believe my sister is frosting right! now! — are light. They still taste of pumpkin but not aggressively so. And the maple cream cheese frosting, my word, is so heaven sent, you can see I got a little carried away prettying it up.

piping a rose

The original recipe is from our friend David Leite, of the Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie fame. But you know it is a true testament to his baking prowess to be able to make desserts that go from total decadence to this, a nicely balanced treat.

pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

How to make roses: I worked at a bakery in high school where I picked up some party tricks — ha! Okay, maybe not party tricks but I hadn’t tried to make a rose in a dozen years and was thrilled that I still somewhat remembered. But before you ask, let me assure you that my technique is anything but worth teaching. Instead, check out this video or this one if you want to try it at home. I promise; it’s not as hard as it looks.

pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

One year ago: Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
Two years ago: Fettuccine with Porcini

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from David Leite

Yield: 17 to 18 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

Make the frosting: In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Frost the tops of each cupcake, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate cupcakes for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

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baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings – smitten kitchen

Sunday night, I emailed off 497 pages containing 80,392 words to my editor (846 photos had been sent over before the weekend), went to bed at 2 a.m., woke up at 6 a.m. and a few hours later came home to a completely empty apartment and two entire hours to myself — two hours to nap or just stare slack-jawed at the ceiling fan and think about nothing for a while — and decided instead that I’d had enough of this pumpkin-free November I’d been having and went back into the kitchen to make pudding. That’s normal right? That’s what normal people do, right? Wait, don’t tell me.

baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings

So, a manuscript has officially been delivered, a whole 6 hours in advance of its deadline. I am the eternal college student, apparently, though if you’d asked me 18 months ago when I was going to finish my book I could have probably told you right then “Five minutes before it is due.” I’m classy like that. I would hardly say that the cookbook process is finished — we’re still ironing out some kinks, there’s copyediting (I can’t be the only one who pities the copyeditor who must deal with the madness I pass off as grammar, right?), some reshoots, they’ve been kind enough to offer me design input though they’ll probably regret it when they see what bad taste I have… I won’t bore you with the details. But for the most part? I’m back! Whee! And there’s no place else I’d rather be.

baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings
baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings

And yet, this recipe is a cop-out. I’m sorry. I’ve been wanting to tell you about pumpkin pudding for years but I always punk out because at its base, it’s such a generic recipe. But at my base, you see, I am obsessed with fall and Thanksgiving — the toasty ochre leaves, the cranberries, the mulled cider, the stuffing and the pumpkin, oh, the pumpkin. The fourth Thursday of November is way too long for anyone to have to wait for pumpkin pie, but it always feels like opening Christmas presents in October if I make it sooner. Enter pumpkin pudding which is more or less pumpkin pie filling, a little creamier, a little less sweet and butter crust free. This, by the way, gives you permission to delight your inner two year-old and eat it for lunch. I’ve played around with it over the years, trying to make it feel more like the standalone dessert it should be and this — this pudding with a sweetened sour cream topping baked on at the end — is my favorite approach namely because, forget whipped cream, sour cream is the peanut butter to pumpkin’s jelly. It just is.

baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings

You should serve this with a gingersnap, and drunk — I mean, utterly plastered — on the freedom from cooking according to an agenda, to chapter outlines, to retests, to Really? I didn’t write down how many biscuits this made and I have to make them all over again? I went ahead and made gingersnaps too. I swear, I was just rubbing it into week-ago me. Do you want the recipe? I can share it next time. I sort of figure by now that most people who love gingersnaps have a favorite recipe and don’t need this one. But I did. I mean, I do. Yes.

[Update: Got your gingersnaps right here…]

baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings

One year ago: Upside Down Cranberry Cake and Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese
Two years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash, Raisin-Studded Apple Bread Pudding, Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin and Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie
Three years ago: Leite’s Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers, Onion Tart with Mustard and Fennel, Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie, Home Fries, Apple Pancakes and Fennel, Proscuitto and Pomegranate Salad
Four years ago: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples, Roasted Stuffed Onions, Simplest Apple Tart, Black Bean Pumpkin Soup, Apricot and Walnut Vareniki, Chicken with Chanterelles and Pearl Onions and Pumpkin Waffles
Five years ago: Indian Spiced Vegetable Fritters, Dreamy Cream Scones, Chocolate Stout Cake and Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers

Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings

I told you about how I ran back to the kitchen as soon as I could? Yeah, it didn’t go so well. That would have been too happy an ending, right? I found my first pudding a little too wet and coarse and I remembered writing about silky smooth pumpkin pie a few years ago (and mocking the fussiness of adding so many steps to a simple pie, that was, until I tried it) and decided to make it again with a couple of Cooks Illustrated’s suggestions, namely pureeing the squash in a food processor and cooking some of the water of of the squash on the stove before baking. I really liked the second version better, but since I always made it the lazy way before (and without complaint), I’ll explain where you can skip extra steps. But seriously, the extra steps really amp up the dreamy pudding-ness of the whole affair, and don’t take terribly long.

Yield: 7 to 8 half-cup puddings

1 3/4 cups (from a 15-ounce can, 415 grams) pumpkin puree (unsweetened; not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (237 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

The quickest method: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the pudding ingredients.

For creamier, silkier pudding: Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Transfer to a saucepan and heat over medium-high. Once glurping and simmering in the pot, cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture will thicken and get a bit darker. Reduce heat slightly and whisk in milk and cream. Off the heat, slowly whisk in eggs.

Both methods: Divide between 7 to 8 (I had just shy of enough to make eight 1/2-cup puddings) ovenproof 6-ounce pudding cups or ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until puddings barely jiggle when shimmied and/or a knife tip inserted into the center of puddings comes out clean. Try not to overbake.

While they bake, combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. When the puddings are cooked through, transfer to a cooling rack on the counter and leave oven on. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sour cream mixture onto first pudding and use a small offset spatula, butter knife or spoon to quickly (it will get melty fast) spread it over the top of the first pudding. Repeat with remaining puddings.

Return puddings to oven for 5 more minutes, then cool completely at room temperature, about 1 to 2 hours. Chill until ready to serve. Eat with a gingersnap.

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pumpkin cinnamon rolls – smitten kitchen

Something kind of terrifying is going on around here, and it started in the back of the closet. I found shoes there, old shoes, shoes that did not fit. They had to go. Thus far, this is the snoring-est horror story yet, but wait, the discontent simmers: Half the closet followed, all of the plastic hangers that drove me batty were replaced with nonslip ones, sweaters were color-sorted, dresses were arranged by season and my husband’s closet is on notice too.

pumpkin rolls, let's do this
it's the most wonderful time of the year

It gets worse: What began as a vague declaration that “this coffee table needs to be replaced” turned into an entire living room overhaul, from a fresh paint job to a new sofa, chairs, and yes, tables too. The throw pillows are looking nervous, as well they should. The kitchen cabinets got purged and everything that remained went into airtight glass jars. With labels. It’s like Aunt Pinterest came to town in there. Lest you think my three year-old has escaped my high straightenance bender, I bought every single pair of his pants in two sizes this fall, in case he goes on another wild growth spurt right around the time the universe runs out of pants; I picked up his Halloween costume on Labor Day weekend, and then, the shelves in his room just didn’t feel right to me and it turned out they were missing colorful baskets to hold his toys.

mixing and mixing in new glass bowl

You see, you can’t go on book tour if your son’s toys aren’t yet in colorful baskets; somewhere it is written. While measuring for baskets, I happened upon his sock drawer and his socks were so flimsy, so thin, and I panicked like only a mother could: they’d never keep my baby’s toes warm if I wasn’t here. So I bought him fourteen pairs of warm socks. And you know, even then — even then! — it hadn’t occurred to me that the something bigger was happening, something resembling all of the nesting I didn’t do when I actually was about to have a baby (instead, I baked brownies).

pumpkin roll dough, ready to rise
a very soft pumpkin roll dough

But the parallels between writing a book and having a baby are surprisingly numerous. In both, there are high hopes. In both, things are harder than one might have expected. There are points near the end when you will exclaim in exasperation, FORGET THIS I CHANGED MY MIND but really, it will be too late. And in my case, whenever someone has asked me when I’m having another kid I just look at them like they have two heads: Don’t you know I’m having a cookbook in October? Clocking in 2.8 pounds and 336 pages, she’s a beaut!

brushed with browned butter
filled and ready to roll

I realize I probably sound just a little bit like I’ve lost my mind. My cooking has reflected it too. There’s a urgency, a gravitas to everything. I can’t just make banana bread; it has to be hearty and healthy. I can’t make any baked pasta dish; it too needs to be a balancing act of indulgence and nutrition. Even pasta must be matched ounce for ounce in broccoli and noodles these days.

from the oven

Obviously, an intervention was in order and I don’t just mean on our bookcases, but you’d better believe that will happen too. Fortunately, a stork package flew in, and in it was the newest cookbook from the darling crew behind the Baked bakery flew in and in it, life is as it should be: stunningly designed, organized to a hilt and bursting forth with an almost unbearable level of deliciousness. Sorted by their favorite ingredients, Baked Elements gives equal billing to everything delicious in this world: peanut butter, malt, caramel, cheese, citrus, booze, cinnamon and chocolate, but it wasn’t long until I honed on the pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Because while I was elbow-deep in a pile of disorganized gift bags (how did we ever live like this before? I bet you’re asking, too), October arrived and it demands things like scarves and leaves and cider and a kitchen full of cinnamon spice. It doesn’t matter what frights you’ve been up to: I think everyone needs to stop what they’re doing to make time for these this weekend. Everyone around you will delight in them, and not just out of relief that you finally put the label-maker down.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls, minutes later
this one is for you

One year ago: Pear, Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
Two years ago: Mushroom Lasagna
Three years ago: Quiche Lorraine
Four years ago: Best Challah and Mom’s Apple Cake
Five years ago: Peter Reinhart’s Bagels and Peanut Butter Brownies
Six years ago: Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Baked Elements

Okay, I changed a lot: the moisture level (I needed less), the instructions (streamlined them in some places, added details in others), the yield (I wanted more), the flour (I think AP works fine here), the spices (just a little fiddling), the baking pan size (I didn’t have the one requested, and wanted to make more buns than suggested) and the glaze (less sugar, more glaze to accommodate more buns). I’m sorry. I just can’t help myself. But the biggest thing I probably changed is the kind of yeast you use. Instant yeast was called for and while it has its charms (no proofing), it gets on my nerves because it’s so very slow (a packet of it seems to take at least twice the time to rise as a packet of active dry). And when I want pumpkin cinnamon rolls, I want them right then or as soon after as possible. I hope you don’t mind.

The result is definitely a sweet bun. If you’re more sugar cautious, you could definitely dial back the dough’s and filling’s sugar by 1/4 cup. Then again, these are pumpkin cinnamon rolls, so maybe a little extra indulgence is in order.

These are a great thing to make ahead of time. You could assemble them tonight, let them rise in the fridge and finish on the counter in the morning (I instruct when, below) and bake them before you head out for whatever harvest festival/hayride/fall bliss you’ve got lined up this weekend.

Want to make your own pumpkin puree? Here’s how!

Yield: 16 to 18 buns

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl

3/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground cinnamon

4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)

Make your dough: Melt your butter, and hey, if you’re melting it in a little saucepan, you might as well brown it for extra flavor. Once the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.

Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double.

While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.

Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).

Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma brings all the boys to your yard is like a snickerdoodle. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, then have at them.

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how to make your own pumpkin puree – smitten kitchen

Is it fall where you are? Are you dreaming only of thick scarves, rust-colored crackly leaves, hayrides and hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick? Are pumpkin dishes on your agenda? Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to turn those adorable pumpkins at the market into the puree that most baking recipes call for? Well, look no further!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Halve a sugar pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down your baking sheet and roast the pumpkin until it is completely tender inside, about 45 to 50 minutes. Scrape the pumpkin flesh off the skin with a large spoon (metal is great here, because of the sharper edges) and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Let cool and use as needed.

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree holds about 1 3/4 cups of puree.

Don’t have a sugar pumpkin? Sweet potato, butternut squash and red kuri squash are all great substitutes for pumpkin puree in recipes. Sweet potatoes will roast faster and so will smaller squash, but the method is the same: halve, roast facedown, scrape the flesh off the skin and puree it until smooth.

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classic pumpkin pie with pecan praline sauce – smitten kitchen

Given that finishing off the month November without a single slice of pumpkin pie is, for me, practically a crime against the season, it’s rather sad that this 8-plus year old site has only a single iteration of it, that it’s from 6 years ago, and not even the one I make on an annual basis. The 2008 recipe hailed from Cook’s Illustrated, those clever chefs that always push the envelope, this time in the name of the silkiest pumpkin pie they could come up with. It involved canned yams. It required a fine-mesh strainer. Three whole eggs and two yolks. It was lovely, but if you’re someone who actually adores the classic taste of pumpkin pie above all else, it probably didn’t fill the pumpkin pie void in your life.

one-bowl pie crust: go! cut the butter into the flour, sugar and salt
bring the dough together with your hands always make 2 doughs, even if you just need one

This, I hope, will. I’m not terribly revolutionary in my go-to pumpkin pie but I also don’t think the Thanksgiving demands it. I’ve said this before, but I don’t think we travel by buses, trains, cars and planes, often during inclement weather and even more brutal traffic because we’re secretly hoping our family ditched the known-and-loved standards — yes, even the green bean casserole with crispy onions — for an edgy new recipe someone found in a fancy food magazine this year.

spices, old and new

pumpkin + sugar and spice
cooking the filling, just a little

And so this is a pumpkin pie for those who love the classics; there’s no cardamom, no crystallized ginger, five-spice powder or coconut milk, although you’re welcome to doctor it up as you please. I don’t stray terribly far from the back-of-the-can standard, but I nix the canned evaporated milk, add an extra egg to firm it up, make it a touch less sweet, and I’d like to think it’s spiced just right, with no heap of allspice or aggressive level of cloves clanking you in the kisser when you were hoping to mostly taste pumpkin. I keep the CI technique of precooking the pumpkin for a bit on the stove, which reduces moisture and improves texture. My recipe accommodates both home-roasted pumpkin or squash, or the canned stuff. Pumpkin pie doesn’t judge.

roll out your dough fold gently, without creasing
unfold and trim i've got very little crimping game

But I couldn’t resist one extra flourish, as can happen when you’re looking at Joy Wilson’s decadent recipes. The pumpkin pie in her new book includes a pecan praline topping, perhaps a nod to her new home base, New Orleans, and it’s wonderful. You can pour it over the whole pie, but I think it’s even nicer as a ladled finish on top of a slice. Purists can skip it; they’re just leaving more for the rest of us.

ready to bakeclassic pumpkin pie
classic pumpkin pie + pecan praline sauce

Lazy pumpkin pie: Pumpkin Puddings! No crust, but a lovely sweetened sour cream finish. Huzzah!

Choose your own SK adventure: So, I’ve got another pie and a vegetable dish to share before Thanksgiving. Which first? What’s more urgent for you?

A Fall/Winter Holiday Frenzy on Pinterest: The Smitten Kitchen Pinterest page is all decked out for November and December. Need more Pumpkin ideas? Savory or Sweet Thanksgiving ideas? Homemade Food Gifts? Or maybe just All The Cookies? So do we, and we’ve got you covered.

One year ago: Apple-Herb Stuffing For All Seasons
Two years ago: Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
Three years ago: Gingersnaps
Four years ago: Creamed Onions with Bacon and Chives
Five years ago: Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie
Six years ago: Chocolate Toffee Cookies, Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Meyer Lemon and Fresh Cranberry Scones, Winter Fruit Salad and Mushroom and Barley Pie
Seven years ago: Pumpkin Waffles, Creamy White Polenta with Mushrooms, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies (though these are still our house favorite), Brussels and Chestnuts in Brown Butter and Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie
Eight years ago: Sundried Tomato-Stuffed Mushrooms, Jacked-Up Banana Bread, Lattice-Top Pie Tutorial

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Five Egg Sandwiches
1.5 Years Ago: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
2.5 Years Ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice
3.5 Years Ago: Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

Classic Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping
Topping adapted from Joy The Baker: Homemade Decadence

Yield: 1 standard pie or about 8 servings

1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree, from a 15-ounce (425 gram) can or homemade
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg (or a pinch of ground nutmeg)
1 1/3 cups (315 ml) cold heavy cream
3 large eggs

1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or a little less of a coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (85 grams) pecans (I coarsely chopped 1/2 cup, left the last 1/4 cup in halves)

Make the pie dough:

  • By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Form the crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Return to fridge until ready to fill. (See Notes below for par-baking directions, if desired. I rarely desire this.)

Heat oven: To 400°F (205°C).

Make the filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a sputtering simmer and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Scoop cooked pumpkin filling into bowl, and whisk in cold cream until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.

Bake pie: For 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until only the center barely jiggles and a toothpick inserted into it comes out pumpkin-free. (Damp is fine, but the toothpick shouldn’t have loose pumpkin batter on it.)

Let pie cool on a rack completely, if you, like me, prefer your pumpkin pie cool. You can hasten this along in the fridge. This pie is now ready to serve, but if you want to gild the lily a little, make the topping as well.

Make pecan praline topping: In a small/medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.

Serve pie: In wedges, ladles with pecan praline sauce. Extra pie (an unfamiliar phenomenon) keeps in the fridge for up to a week.


  • For the crust: I use a half recipe of my go-to pie crust here; you can read this post for more details. You can also use any crust of your choosing, even store-bought. It’s really all about the filling.
  • Par-baking your crust: Once you’ve settled that, you get to choose whether you want to par-bake it or not, and decision comes down to how crispy you want the base of your pie. I do not par-bake pumpkin pie crusts, but I’m pretty lazy. If you’d like to par-bake your crust, once you roll it out, prick unbaked crust a few times with a fork, line it with lightly buttered foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake at 400°F (205°C) on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove paper or foil and weights, and bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and lightly crisp. Keep oven on (you’ll need the same temperature to begin baking), fill pie and finish baking as instructed above.
  • Buying canned pumpkin: If you’re using canned pumpkin, make sure you buy pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling, which will come already aggressively sweetened and spiced.
  • Making pumpkin puree: My directions are here, but keep in mind that both butternut and kabocha squash also make very smooth, lovely fillings for pumpkin pie. You can use the same directions to prepare them.
  • Heavy cream: You can replace half of the heavy cream with milk, although there’s less fun in that; you can also replace the whole amount with a half-and-half, which always seems to be around when you’re entertaining, right?
  • Praline sauce: The pecan praline sauce, not unlike the sticky date pudding toffee sauce from two weeks ago, is best when it’s first made, and tends to become grainy when it’s reheated. Nobody complains, but if it’s going to bug you a lot, I recommend making it right before you serve the pie. You’ll only need 10 minutes and a small saucepan.

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pumpkin bread – smitten kitchen

This is a towering, craggy pumpkin bread with a crisp cinnamon sugar lid that is impossible not to pick off in deeply satisfying bark-like flecks. Trust me, someone in my family notnamingnames did exactly that this morning, and I almost cannot blame them.

Very key here is the size of your loaf pan because this will fill out every speck of it before it is done. Mine holds 6 liquid cups; it’s 8×4 inches on the bottom and 9×5 inches on the top. If yours is even slightly smaller or you’re nervous, go ahead and scoop out a little to make a muffin or two. You won’t regret that either. This also uses an excess of cinnamon sugar on top — it’s always too much and I cannot stop because I love the way it spills off when I slice it and then you can slide your slices through the extra. If this is going to bother you, however, go ahead and use half.

You can also make this as muffins. It should make about 18 standard ones and you can distribute the cinnamon sugar (perhaps make 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon worth) across the tops before you bake them. They should bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I’ve also made this with mashed sweet potatoes and other squashes with success (but if it’s more wet and thus the batter ends up more loose, be caaaaareful as it could throw this towering loaf into a spilling-over situation). And I’ve done it with half whole-wheat flour.

Finally, I know someone is going to say “that’s way too much sugar!” but please keep in mind this loaf is gigantic, easily 1.5x a normal one and the sugar is scaled accordingly. You can decrease it if you wish but we have made this now several times and many people have commented about how in-check the sugar level tastes, not over the top at all.

  • 1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral cooking oil or melted butter (115 grams)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 (330 grams) cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Two pinches of ground cloves
  • 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
  • To Finish
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinanmon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small dish, or empty measuring cup, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter.

Bake bread for 65 to 75 minutes until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring.

You can cool it in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it, or cool it completely in there. The latter provides the advantage of letting more of the loose cinnamon sugar on top adhere before being knocked off.

Cake keeps at room temperature as long as you can hide it. I like to keep mine in the tin with a piece of foil or plastic just over the cut end and the top exposed to best keep the lid crisp as long as possible.

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roasted cauliflower with pumpkin seeds, brown butter and lime – smitten kitchen

This recipe was almost perfect from Bon Appetit, but I found each step needed less cooking time and included my own roasting tweaks; I added weights. The original calls for 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, that’s a good punch if you like heat, otherwise, adjust to your taste. The original recipe specifies raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas, or pumpkin seeds with the outer hull removed) but I had no problems with my already toasted, salted pumpkin seeds burning and still needed to add a little salt to get the seasoning level right.

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower (about 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) hulled pumpkin seeds (sold as pepitas) (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or less to taste
  • Juice of half a lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or chives

Heat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with just over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle the sheet with salt and pepper. Trim cauliflower and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet, then drizzle with remaining scant 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until underside is deeply browned. Carefully flip pieces and roast until dark brown and crisp on second side, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.

While cauliflower roasts, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter, then reduce heat to medium-low and add pumpkin seeds. Stirring the whole time, cook until butter becomes light brown and smells toasty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then add lime juice and season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Arrange cauliflower on a serving platter and drizzle with dressing. Serve topped with herbs.

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cheesecake-marbled pumpkin slab pie – smitten kitchen

As I mention above, this is light on cheesecake, heavy on pumpkin pie. Should you wish more of a cream cheese presence, simply double that part of the batter, using a whole egg. It shouldn’t overfill your crust, but if you’re getting nervous, you can always pour off 1 cup of pumpkin batter and bake it in a little dish for the happiest pumpkin pudding pre-game. (Melty vanilla ice cream on top plus or minus a crumbled gingersnap, not an option.)

My pan was slightly smaller this year (my correctly-sized 10×15 was being held hostage by another slab pie), about an inch shy all around. I baked the extra filling as noted above and made the extra dough into pie dough cookies. It means that my 1 /15-sized slices are smaller than your will be; I think most of us would prefer 1/18 of the regular-sized slab pie, especially with other desserts to try.

Finally, in a classic Do As Deb Says But Not As She Does, I forgot to mix the cream into my cream cheese batter, leaving it a bit thick. It still marbles, but requires more toothpick work to divide and swirl the islands and leaves them a little raised. (I’m sure everyone will object and refuse to eat it now.) Your cream cheese batter should give you less guff.

  • 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
  • Pumpkin Filling
  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, from 2 15-ounce (425 gram) cans or homemade
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) fine sea or table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • A few gratings of fresh nutmeg (or a pinch of ground nutmeg)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream, light cream or a combination of cream and milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • Cheesecake
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy or light cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the pie dough:

  • By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Get ready to bake the pie: Heat oven to 400°F (205°C). Line a 10×15-inch jellyroll pan with a fitted rectangle of parchment paper.

Form the crust: On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 13-by-18-inch rectangle (i.e. 3 inches bigger than your pan). Do your best to work quickly, keeping the dough as cold as possible (and tossing it in the freezer for a couple minutes if it softens too quickly) and using enough flour that it doesn’t stick to the counter.

Fold dough gently in half without creasing and transfer to prepared pan. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Return pan to fridge until ready to fill.

Make pumpkin filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a sputtering simmer and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Scoop cooked pumpkin filling into bowl, and whisk in cold cream until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.

Marble cheesecake: Whisk cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Dollop all over pumpkin batter and use a toothpick or chopstick to swirl decoratively in figure-8s, being very very careful not to drag the point of the toothpick/chopstick into the bottom crust, forming holes.

Bake pie: For 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake for another 15 minutes, until only the center barely jiggles and a toothpick inserted into it comes out pumpkin-free. (Damp is fine, but the toothpick shouldn’t have loose pumpkin batter on it.)

Let cool then chill in fridge until serving.

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