How To: 8 Simple Tweaks to Transform Your Boring Pumpkin Pie

8 Simple Tweaks to Transform Your Boring Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a symbol of autumn, and it's the traditional dessert to whip up for your fam when Thanksgiving Day arrives. But year after year of the same old thing can be a total bore if you're not a strict traditionalist. So, we found 8 unique ways to make that pie a little less snooze-fest and a little more interesting.

1. Brûlée It, Baby

Yep—we want you to brûlée that bad boy. Not only does a brûlée pumpkin pie taste like a gift from the Thanksgiving gods, the burnt sugar crust on top of your well-loved pumpkin custard is a showstopper. Check out Bon Appetit's recipe for brûléed bourbon maple pumpkin pie (bonus liquor, woohoo!) for the full scoop.

2. Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Every dessert can be instantly better with some good old-fashioned whipped cream. However, if you're looking to change it up, try making it with mascarpone: it's both airy and sturdy, thanks to the addition of the cheese. Stress Baking has an excellent mascarpone whipped cream recipe that is both easy and delicious.

Image via Shari's Berries

3. Try a Chocolate Crust

You may not know it yet, but chocolate and pumpkin are fantastic together—so it makes perfect sense that a chocolate pie crust (courtesy of Martha Stewart) would be the natural next step in making pumpkin pie even tastier than the usual humdrum stuff.

Image by Jessica Merz/Flickr

4. Top Your Pie with Ginger Streusel

If you're looking for the thing that will make you famous at your family Thanksgiving gathering for years to come, this is it. Even the anti-pumpkin pie posse will be all over these ginger morsels. Learn from the pros and give Epicurious' recipe a go.

5. Go for Butternut Squash

Sacrilege! The horror! How untraditional to use butternut squash, you cry. (Or maybe you cynically shrug your shoulders and say that we probably eat squash pie anyway, if we're using canned purée.) But swapping one squash for another will definitely change up your pie game. In fact, butternut squash pie is said to be sweeter than pumpkin pie, and may even be better than the old staple.

Image by Stu Spivack/Flickr

6. Substitute Sour Cream

If you're looking to make your pie a bit more savory and a little less sweet, swap sour cream for heavy cream in the filling recipe. For those of you skeptical of this particular substitution, a review for the Epicurious recipe linked says: "This has been my family's go to pumpkin pie since 1973 when my sister was born on Thanksgiving and my dad found this recipe in the gourmet cookbook. Everyone who tries it loves it. It has a rich complex flavor from the sour cream... absolutely worth a try."

Image by Vasenka Photography/Flickr

7. Fold Egg Whites into the Filling

Folding eggs whites into the filling of a pumpkin pie creates a light, fluffy chiffon texture that is a pleasant deviance from the usual custard. Marisa of The Lovely Kitchen shares her version of pumpkin pie that utilizes egg whites—and has been passed down for generations.

Image by magone/123RF

8. Purée That Pumpkin Purée

Sometimes, you don't have to change the entire game. Just a small improvement will make a world of difference. Case in point: instead of using it straight out of the can, purée your pumpkin purée for true silky-smooth texture—just run it through a blender or food processor for a minute. Giving it that extra time in the blender gets rid of any leftover stringy material from the original pumpkin.

Image by Rob Galloway/Flickr

The flavors of a subtle and traditional pumpkin pie are legendary. But no one gets ahead without trying something new or creative. So if you're confident in your pumpkin pie skills now, it may be time to step outside of the box and live a little.

More Clutch Thanksgiving Hacks:

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Cover photo via Vitalii Shastun/123RF

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