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I’ll admit it — I never serve homemade pumpkin pie during the holidays, but props to you if you do. Baking during the holidays for a group is too much stress. Plus, there’s no shame in buying a pie. I’ve learned how to make pumpkin pie spice though so I don’t have to buy that ingredient again — saving me $2 – $8 in the grocery stores.
Store-bought pumpkin pies cost between $5 and $13. But the closer you get to Thanksgiving, the cheaper they are because the stores typically buy too much. I’ve seen sales for 50% off a week or two before Thanksgiving.
Sure, you can serve pumpkin pie as is, but with some creativity, you can upgrade it into a different dessert altogether for Thanksgiving. How about a pumpkin pie smoothie with almond milk (sans the crust, of course) for breakfast? Or blend a few chunks of pie and hot coffee for a drink. It sure beats the high cost of a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte.
The point is, with a bit of planning, your dessert table can look like a buffet of ooey goodness with options and toppings. Try one of these easy hacks to transform a boring pie into something special.
Speaking of shortcuts, these Thanksgiving hacks will make your Turkey Day a lot easier and less stressful. Want other ways to save on Thanksgiving? Find out how to get a free Thanksgiving turkey.
10 Ways to Upgrade Your Pumpkin Pie
1. Bake shapes cut from premade pie dough and place them on a cooked pie.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, or just spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray. Use cookie cutters to create shapes in premade pie crust.
Then make an egg wash by beating an egg with a spoonful of water. Brush the egg wash on top of the cutouts before baking for a finished shine.
In a 425-degree oven, bake the cutouts until golden and firm — about 10 minutes. Let them cool before placing them on your pie.
2. Add chocolate Magic Shell topping for some crunch.
Chocolate Magic Shell truly is magical because it’s an unsuspecting condiment that can transform the texture and experience of your dessert. Pour it over and watch it harden instantly. It’s also great for ice cream and cake.
3. Top a whole pie with premade caramel sauce and chopped pecans.
Buying premade caramel sauce is the easy way to go, but if you have the time to make it yourself, you can actually store it in your refrigerator and use it many times.
Try this foolproof DIY caramel sauce recipe:
- 11-ounce package of Kraft caramels
- 1/2 cup of half and half
Combine in a saucepan for 10 minutes until melted.
Since it’s fall, try melting pumpkin spice caramel!
4. Dip pie bites in melted chocolate.
First, melt chocolate candy melts or chocolate chips in the microwave or stovetop until smooth. Start with a cold pie, and slice it into narrow wedges. Stick the slices in the semicooled chocolate so just a third of the slice is covered in chocolate. Store the pieces in the fridge to harden before serving.
5. Top pies with easy homemade maple whipped cream.
Making your own whipped cream is so easy that you won’t buy that packaged stuff again. Using a KitchenAid mixer or a hand mixer, beat one cup of cold heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup maple syrup until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use to top your pies.
6. Brulee a store-bought pie in your oven for a sugary top crust.
Move your oven rack so it’s just below the broiler and heat your oven on the broiler setting. Depending on your oven, you may have a low or high broiler temperature. Start with a lower setting so it doesn’t burn.
To prevent burning the crust on your already-cooked pie, cover the edges with foil. Then sprinkle a thin layer of sugar (about two tablespoons) on top of the pie and place in the heated oven until the sugar begins to caramelize. Turn the pie for even browning.
After about one minute under the broiler, remove the pie from the oven and let it set so the topping hardens.
7. Have a toppings bar for your pumpkin pie.
Set out a buffet of whipped cream (use your homemade stuff), caramel sauce, crushed cookies (Oreos work great!), pecan pieces, coconut flakes, and nuts. Try a separate cold area with ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt. You can keep them cold by surrounding the containers with ice packs, store in a cooler, or pre-scoop and keep cold on a baking sheet.
8. Layer chopped pieces of pie with whipped cream.
This is definitely not your typical healthy breakfast parfait, but it’s still delicious. Layer chopped pumpkin pie pieces and alternate it with whipped cream (and caramel?) until you reach the top of your glass. Enjoy this while scrolling through Black Friday sales.
9. Use a potato peeler to make chocolate peels for garnish.
Oh yes, a potato peeler has a lot more culinary uses than peeling vegetables. Use it to make beautiful chocolate curls from blocks of chocolate. You can also use a potato peeler to top pasta with parmesan cheese ribbons.
10. Use a biscuit cutter to make mini pumpkin pies.
Spray the inside and outside of a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter with nonstick cooking spray before cutting straight into your ready-made pumpkin pie.
Gently slide the pie out by using a knife or spoon to tap the outside of the cutter. Top mini pies with your homemade whipped cream.