Pumpkin & Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Pie

As someone who gets annoyed with food trends really fast, I’m surprised at how much my obsession with pumpkins has continued for the third consecutive fall now. Of course, I’m not dropping to the level of adopting this Pumpkin Spice Diet, but I do look forward to the smell of pumpkin wafting through my food and drink – with some of my favorites being pumpkin bread, pumpkin beer and this pumpkin pie (sadly though, pumpkin pies were found to account for only 3% of all orders out of all dishes featuring pumpkin). This is also the third Thanksgiving in a row that I’ve made this pie – the first year I made it with pumpkin and candied yams, the second time around with pumpkin and regular canned yams, and this year, finally, my favorite combination, pumpkin and maple-glazed sweet potatoes.

I got the idea of using maple-glazed sweet potatoes when I was walking through Whole Foods. I normally dislike the sickly sweet taste of corn syrup (which is present in candied yams), so the idea of using maple-glazed products appealed to me, especially given that this recipe already uses some maple syrup. So I decided to substitute yams with these maple-glazed sweet potatoes this time around. Before I had even put this pie in the oven, the scent of the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and sweet potatoes was floating through my kitchen, cut through with the sharp taste of ginger. I baked it on a graham cracker crust, and let it set overnight in the refrigerator and we were good to go for Thanksgiving next day!

Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

Filling – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen – Makes enough filling for two 9-inch pies

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 cup maple-glazed mashed sweet potatoes*
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

Directions

Click here for directions for Graham Cracker Crust

  1. This recipe needs a 10 inch pie plate. Pre-bake the graham cracker crust for 5-7 minutes at 350 F. Once done, let it cool at room temperature.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  3. Whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl.
  4. Combine pumpkin puree, mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly, until thick and shiny, another 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. (Make sure that the filling is not too hot, otherwise your eggs may get scrambled as you are whisking in the cream mixture)
  7. Run mixture through a blender if it does not have a smooth consistency and then transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell.
  8. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.)

* – Bought from Whole Foods

Besides this pie, it was also my second year of making this spiced pecan pie! What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts?

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

The first time I ever had cheesecake was this blueberry cheesecake at Delhi’s famous Big Chill Cafe. It was the first of its kind in Delhi and that place made me fall in love with a variety of cheese desserts, including an Oreo Mouse Cheesecake – it was rich, had a soft and velvety texture and lay on an oreo crust topped with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Since I miss these cheesecakes, I decided to try and make a version of a cheesecake that also allowed me to use an ingredient that is part of my current obsession – pumpkin. These cheesecake bars are not as thick as traditional cheesecakes, making it possible to have small bites instead of having 400 calories in one sitting. The recipe also uses whole-milk yogurt or full-fat Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream, making it even lighter.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars on an Oreo Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars on an Oreo Crust

Recipe adapted from Texanerin Baking

Ingredients

For the graham cracker crust

  • 12 full-size graham crackers (about 6 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) sugar, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) water, optional

For the cheesecake:

  • 7 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (75 grams) light brown sugar (though you can use granulated white sugar as well)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1⅓ cups  pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
For the crust:
For the cheesecake:
  1. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients and mix just until combined. If there are still clumps of cheesecake remaining, blend the mixture together to make sure it is smooth.
  4. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 35 minutes or until the middle of the cheesecake bars appears set and no longer jiggles when you move the pan.
  5. Open the oven door and let the bars cool completely before removing from the oven. This is to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
  6. Cover and store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars on a Graham Cracker Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars on a Graham Cracker Crust

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt

While I’m in love with my new ice-cream maker, I also realize that it’s dangerous thing, given how easy it is to make any kind of ice cream. The salted caramel ice-cream disappeared at an alarmingly high rate from my freezer and I knew that I couldn’t keep making ice creams that were full of heavy cream and sugar, which made them so delicious and decadent in the first place. So I thought – why not try making a frozen yogurt? I decided to try this pumpkin frozen yogurt. It’s great, relatively low fat since the small amount of brown sugar is the only fat in this recipe. However, the downside to making a low-fat ice cream is that it freezes so hard and turns into stone if you leave it in the freezer for more than a few hours. My suggestion would be to serve it as soon as it comes out from the ice-cream maker, or to thaw it for a few hours if it has been in the freezer for a few days.

The recipe itself takes only 5 minutes to prep, and requires 20-25 minutes of churning in the ice-cream maker, so you can have a quick dessert on your hands, especially if you’re throwing a dinner party and are looking for a light dessert!

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 3/4 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. Taste the mixture and add more sugar if you so desire. I was going for an end product which would not be too sweet.
  2. Place mixture in an ice cream maker and let churn for 20 minutes, or until cold and creamy. Serve immediately or place in the freezer for another hour if a firmer texture is desired. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top while serving, if desired!
Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt

 

Pumpkin-Raisin Bread

The semester’s finally over and I could not be more relieved! After a  brutal few months, I’m really looking forward to some relaxing, guilt-free baking sessions. I was still missing pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, so I tried to recreate something with pumpkins that was a lot healthier.

Try making this pumpkin-raisin bread – with only half a cup of sugar, this bread substitutes oil with a healthy applesauce, making a great morning or afternoon bite. It would probably taste much better with fresh pumpkin puree, so go ahead and use that if you have fresh pumpkin lying around! I also threw in some semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, and other options include chopped walnuts and pecans.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (you can also use an equal amount of vegetable oil as a substitute)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, applesauce, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Add the raisins and chocolate chips and mix well.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.
Pumpkin Bread with Raisins and Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Bread with Raisins and Chocolate Chips