Metro-East Living

Pumped up about pumpkin desserts, from pie to cake to waffles

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin is a love-it or leave-it food. Much like Brussels sprouts, it has devoted fans and serious detractors.

You can divide pumpkin lovers into two categories, one of which is those who only like pumpkin in sweet things. You won’t get them to eat pumpkin soup or something as odd (to me) as pumpkin and cheese enchiladas. Yes, that’s a real recipe.

So, here are some interesting pumpkin dessert recipes that offer great flavor and will reward both beginners and experts in the kitchen. Included are two breakfast possibilities, coffee cake and waffles, plus an easy Praline Pumpkin Dessert — it’s really a dressed-up dump cake.

Pros in the kitchen may want to tackle the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap Pecan Crust. Just the title makes the mouth water. Reviewers point out that it takes time to prepare, but also that the crust is so good that it should be used with other pie recipes.

Homemade pumpkin pie spice

  • Want to make your own? Here’s what to do: Measure 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves into a small bowl. Mix well. Spoon into small jars and store in a dark place for a month or so.

JeanMarie Brownson, of the Chicago Tribune; adapted from Betty Crocker

Praline Pumpkin Dessert

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 box yellow cake mix or spice cake mix

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Whipped cream, if desired

Additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan). Grease or spray bottom and sides of 13-by-9-inch pan.

In medium bowl, beat pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice with wire whisk until smooth. Pour into pan.

Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with pecans. Pour melted butter evenly over top.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes.

To serve, cut dessert into 4 rows by 3 rows. Serve warm or chilled with dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. Store covered in refrigerator.

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

This recipe doubles nicely. Reheat any leftover waffles in the toaster or toaster oven to re-crisp them before serving.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup solid-pack canned pumpkin puree

1/4 cup dried currants or chopped raisins, optional

1 cup low-fat buttermilk*

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs, separated

1/4 cup granulated sugar

For serving:

Softened butter, chopped pecans, pumpkin pie spice

Maple syrup, warmed

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. When iron is heated, spray the iron with nonstick cooking spray for high heat. (Spray waffle iron as needed between waffles.)

2. Whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and dried fruit; mix well. Mix buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg yolks in small bowl. Stir wet mixture into the flour mixture just until mixed.

3. Beat egg whites in a small bowl on high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold whites into the batter just until mixed.

4. For each waffle, spoon a generous cup of the batter into the heated waffle iron, close the iron and bake until waffle is crisped and perfectly golden. Remove the baked waffle; put into the oven directly on the oven rack for 5 to 10 minutes while you bake the remaining waffles.

5. To serve, pile a couple of hot waffle squares on a heated serving plate. Top with a pat of butter. Sprinkle plate with pecans and pie spice. Serve with warmed syrup.

Makes 4 servings, each with 411 calories, 22 grams fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 47 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams sugar, 9 grams protein, 760 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber.

*Editor’s note: Remember you can make your own low-fat buttermilk by putting a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, filling with milk to the 1-cup mark and letting it sit on the counter at least 5 to 10 minutes for curdling to occur. Voila, you’ve got a great buttermilk substitute.

Chicago Tribune

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap Pecan Crust


14 (2-inch) gingersnaps, about 4 ounces

1 cup pecans, about 4 ounces

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter melted and cooled


1 envelope (about 1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons brandy, rum or water

1 cup milk

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 large egg yolks

1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup heavy cream


Whipped cream

Chopped toasted pecans

Make crust: In a food processor grind gingersnaps, pecans, and sugar fine and add butter, blending until combined well. Press mixture onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (1-quart) glass pie plate. Bake crust in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden around edge, and cool on rack. (Note: Reviewers said the crust could also be made in a springform pan.)

Make filling: In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over brandy, rum or water and let stand.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together milk, brown sugar, yolks, pumpkin, spices and salt. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking, until mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat and immediately add gelatin mixture, whisking until gelatin is completely dissolved.

Transfer filling to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring constantly, just until the consistency of raw egg white. Remove bowl from ice water.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream until it holds stiff peaks and whisk about one-fourth into filling to lighten. Fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly and pour filling into crust. Chill pie until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24, covered with plastic wrap after 1 hour.

Top each serving with whipped cream and garnish with nuts.

Epicurious/Gourmet, November 1995

Pumpkin Coffee Cake


2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


6 tablespoons flour

6 tablespoons white sugar

6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter, melted


1 cup powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease (or line with parchment) a 9-inch square pan.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.

3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, pumpkin, brown sugar, vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract.

4. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan and spread out evenly.

5. Topping: Combine all ingredients and sprinkle over cake batter.

6. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean from the center.

7. Let cool.

8. Icing: Whisk powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk, add a little more milk if needed. Drizzle over cake and serve.