Pumpkin Pie






Why do we eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and not in the middle of July? Because once upon a time, long before supermarkets and canned pumpkin puree, people ate what was available to them in any given season, and pumpkins were available in the fall.

Seasonal eating is another great lesson that can be learned from your local family farm market. Pumpkins, squashes, and apples are great fall foods, as peaches, berries, and corn sweeten the summer. Citrus fruits, like my favorite clementines, are at their best in winter. So while you can procure nearly any fruit or veggie year-round, it won’t necessarily taste as good out of season.

You could certainly roast a pie pumpkin, scrape out its flesh, and use that in your pumpkin pie, but thanks to the good folks at Libby’s pumpkin puree is available year-round. This is a quick and easy recipe that works well for busy holiday times.


  • 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 16-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup milk*


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a 9-inch pie dish with crust; trim edges and place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflow.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and beat with a fork.

Add eggs and beat lightly until combined.

Slowly add milk and mix well.

Pour filling into prepared pie dish.

Cover the edge of the pie with a guard or foil to prevent over-browning.

Bake for 25 minutes, then uncover the edge and bake another 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.

Cool completely.

*Full disclosure: In my flurry of Thanksgiving preparations, I totally forgot the additional 1/2 cup of milk in this pie. It turned out just fine, but next time, I’ll make sure to use both the evaporated milk and fresh milk!

Pumpkin Roll






I love that scene in “Julie & Julia” when Julie Powell kneels before her coffee table, preparing to follow along with the episode of “The French Chef” in which Julia Child de-bones a duck. With that scary chef’s knife in her hand, Julie nods to the television and says, as if hoping to convince herself, “No fear, Julia.”

I thought about this scene while contemplating pumpkin roll over the past few weeks. The concept of the pumpkin roll has long intimidated me. Roll the piping hot cake in a tea towel? What if it cracks? What if it sticks to the towel? What if it’s a total disaster?

Well, if Julie Powell could de-bone a duck, then surely I could make a pumpkin roll.

I summoned as much bravery as possible, mixed my ingredients, and baked my cake. There was a precarious, breath-holding moment when I flipped the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack, peeled back the waxed paper, then immediately slid it onto the sugar-coated towel. With hope, I rolled the cake in the towel and set it on a cooling rack.

A few hours later, with the filling prepared, I stood before my towel-wrapped cake. Carefully peeling back the towel, I discovered that it was not only intact, but crack-free. After slathering on the filling I re-rolled the cake, secured it in plastic wrap, and with a profound sense of satisfaction, placed it in the fridge to chill.

No fear, bakers.


For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan, then line with waxed paper and grease and flour the paper.

Place a clean tea towel (linen or flour sack, nothing too textured) on the counter top and sprinkle it generously with powdered sugar.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Beat until thickened, about three to five minutes.

Add pumpkin and beat well.

Stir in flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake for 13 minutes; the top should be just golden-brown and spring back slightly when pressed.

Working quickly and carefully, invert the pan onto a cooling rack, peel off the waxed paper, and slide or flip the cake onto the tea towel.

Roll up the cake and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before filling.

For the filling:

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter; beat until smooth.

Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until very well combined.

Carefully un-roll the cake from the tea towel.

Spread filling in an even layer, leaving about a half-inch border at the long edges.

Re-roll the cake and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Great Pumpkin Sugar Cut-Outs






One of my favorite things about Halloween is “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” I admire Linus for his dedication, waiting all night in the pumpkin patch, even if all that came was a beagle.

The Great Pumpkin inspired me to bake these rather large sugar cut-outs, and that’s one of the things that I love about sugar cookies–the endless creative possibilities. Pick your cutter, whip up your icing, and you’re making edible art.

To make these cookies, you will need:

  • 1 recipe sugar cut-outs
  • 1 recipe Zella’s icing
  • Yellow, red, and green liquid food coloring (or orange and green gel food coloring)
  • 1 large pumpkin cookie cutter (mine is 3 3/4 inches)


Bake and cool sugar cut-outs.

Prepare icing; reserve a small portion of icing to tint green for pumpkin stems.

Combine yellow and red food coloring until you reach the desired orange tint.

Frost with orange first, using a small offset spatula or butter knife and a back-and-forth vertical swirling motion to create the pumpkin ridges.

Frost stems, using a small dab of green frosting.

Allow frosting to harden before storing; store at room temperature in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper for up to four days.

Apple Crisp






Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim!  Or, for those who don’t speak Hebrew, may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!

Today is Erev Rosh Hashannah, or Rosh Hashannah Eve, the night before the start of the Jewish New Year.  Rosh Hashannah kicks off the Days of Awe, which many people know as the High Holidays or High Holy days, culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  While Yom Kippur requires a fast, Rosh Hoshannah focuses on celebration; sweet foods, including apples dipped in honey, are eaten in the hope of a sweet New Year—and apple crisp seemed an appropriate dessert for tonight’s dinner.

My apple pie features both Granny Smith and Rome apples, and I wanted to combine two different flavors in this crisp as well.  As Romes are not yet in season, I chose a Paula Red, which is similar to a Rome, to pair with the tart Granny Smith.


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 medium apples, sliced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease an 8×8 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter; mix well, using your hands if necessary to distribute the butter.

Place sliced apples in baking dish and cover with flour mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and apples are tender.