Three Fresh Pumpkin Recipes for Hosts Seeking a Pumpkin Pie Alternative

If you’re looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner menu, there are many easy pumpkin pie alternatives and fun ways to reinvent this quintessential holiday dessert. Fresh pumpkin recipes might seem intimidating for those who don’t bake often, but they are actually quite easy. In the above video, I demonstrate two easy pumpkin dessert recipe ideas–mini pumpkin rolls with phyllo crisps and pumpkin pie with pumpkin seed mousse and candied pumpkin seeds–both presentations bring an elegant, festive touch to your fall table. Recently, we created a third pumpkin pie alternative recipe for fall formal lunches in the Jordan dining room, so it’s also been added below. Most of these fresh pumpkin recipes’ ingredients can be prepared in advance–and you get to surprise your guests with a twist on their typical Thanksgiving dessert. Happy holidays!

Three Fresh Pumpkin Recipes: Pumpkin Pie Alternative Ideas

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Roll with Phyllo Crisps

An elegant pumpkin dessert idea that looks difficult but is quite easy to make, these pumpkin rolls will have holiday dinner party guests raving and requesting the recipe. Indulge with a garnish of honey, pecans and ice cream.

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pumpkin panna cotta, fresh pumpkin recipes
Pumpkin Panna Cotta can be served in casual jars or elegant bowls.

Recipe: Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Northern Italy’s classic dessert is infused with a taste of Americana in this pumpkin panna cotta recipe. Molded and chilled before serving, pumpkin panna cotta is the perfect fresh pumpkin recipe idea for a big holiday gathering or dinner party. You can do all the a few days ahead. Be creative with garnishes to complement the occasion—from candied pumpkin seeds to cinnamon sticks.

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Recipe: Pumpkin Squares with Pumpkin Seed Mousse

A graham cracker crust and candied pumpkin seeds bring a delicious crunch to this gourmet rendition of pumpkin pie. Topped with whipped cream infused with pumpkin seeds to surprise and delight your guests both in flavor and in presentation, these pumpkin squares can be cut and presented in smaller pieces to make everyone feel less guilty after the Thanksgiving feast.

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Video Transcript

Today I’m going to show you a few tips on how you can make a really special dessert for your guests. If you have people over, oftentimes, the last thing you say to someone is the first thing they’ll remember. So it can be the same with your meal. The last thing that you offer, your guests may make a big impression on them.

Okay, now I’ll show you a few things you can do with pumpkin this time of year. Many people will roast their own fresh pumpkin and puree it. That takes a long time. Most people prefer to buy it in a can, you can buy it all year round. And on the back of that, there’s a recipe for pumpkin roll, a lot of people like to make that. So I’ll just show you a way to make it a little more elegant looking for your guests. What I did is I used a basic recipe you would find on the back of the can. And rather than one big log with slices, I spread it out really thin on two different pans. So you have this and then at that point, I would cut it to make two small rolls. Obviously, you have to roll it upright when you use it. So it looks like this. And the nice thing because it’s so small, it only takes about 10 minutes to cool down before you can fill it. And what I did was I made these in advance and then froze. And what’s nice about freezing is you’ll get a really good clean cut. When you go to slice the log. You can freeze these several days in advance. You don’t want to do it too early because you’ll start to get the flavor of the freezer. And if you use this recipe, it doesn’t call for much pumpkin. Most people will use, you know, a canned pumpkin. So they’ll have a lot extra.

So what I did is I threw about a third of a cup in the filling and added a little bit of cinnamon, a little bit of ginger just to spice it up. When you do it, the small way, you’ll get about four logs, you get about 12 servings, which is nice. And right here, we’ll just go ahead and start playing that. Because it’s really soft, you want to contrast it with something that’s crispy. The recipe called for nuts, I left those out to keep the roll small, but you can use it here to garnish. So these are candied walnuts, you can make them yourself. You can get them almost anywhere now, and then I will add some whipped cream. To do this. I just use really hot water and a spoon and just kind of go in a little circular motion. And then the other item I use is these Philo crisps, they’re really easy to make. I just use four layers of filo dough and brush with butter, cinnamon and sugar in between. You bake them between parchment and they bake for about six minutes. And I just cut random shapes, it doesn’t really matter. When I play also, I like to do things in threes. I think it looks better than you know doing one roll two rolls, there’s something nice about doing uneven numbers when you play. Also with the extra pumpkin, it’s not something you would typically do but at home, it’s fine. I just created a sauce by using a little bit of pumpkin puree and corn syrup and a little spice. And that’s it. And there you have a nice plated dessert, a pumpkin roll.

So the last thing I’ll show you is a variation on pumpkin pie. What I did is instead of baking the pie, I put it in a rectangle, you could just square it and I didn’t use a typical crust, because it’s just kind of a headache. Sometimes to make the perfect crust I just use a simple graham cracker. Because you’re using such a moist recipe, you literally just would have to crush your graham crackers, put them in the bottom of the pan because the moisture from the pie, it’ll most likely stick together not crumble on you. And if you put it in a rectangle, then you have a lot less waste when you go to cut it. So what I like to do is just trim off the edges that I don’t need. So you can get a nice clean cut. Use a good sharp knife and clean it off in between. I’m going to go ahead and use a square. You can go any shape that you want, whatever you think looks good here, just the basic square. And we go ahead and use that simple pumpkin sauce that we made just kind of give you a nice something to look at.

And again, I’m going to use the same method that I did before with the whipped cream. Let’s use a really hot spoon and put the whipped cream on there. And then because this is so soft, I want to balance that out with something crunchy so I’m using pumpkin seeds here. I candied them and it was really easy. I just boiled sugar with a little bit of water and then I threw the pumpkin seeds in. Some salt in the salt will be a nice balance there between sweet and salty. And I mix them up to crystallize. And then I made this easy pumpkin seed mood mousse, it’s just whipped cream and I added ground pumpkin seeds and then also gave you a nice contrast. The texture and the flavor is really nice and muddy. And then I made these butternut chips. So just dip it in warm simple syrup and dry it out in the oven. So here you have a nice variation on classic pumpkin pie.

So we’ll share some of these recipes on our blog. If you have any questions, leave us a comment. So in a couple of weeks, we’ll look forward to sharing some cookie recipes and ideas with you

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About the Author

A native Sonoma County resident, Cristina grew up with a large family in Healdsburg. She developed a love for baking as a young girl and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America's baking and pastry arts program. Cristina works part-time in the Jordan Winery kitchen, making desserts and prepping for culinary events. She’s become known for her recipe tutorial videos, which have a few million views on YouTube. During breaks from baking in Healdsburg, she and her husband spent several years volunteering on non-profit construction projects in the U.S. and Africa.

    • Michelle
    • January 14, 2022
    Reply

    Great Article! Thank you for sharing this is very informative post, and looking forward to the latest one.

    • Jacob
    • November 18, 2021
    Reply

    Yum!! I will be trying this for Thanksgiving this year.

    • Elizabeth Ustach
    • November 13, 2018
    Reply

    Is the pan size accurate in the pumpkin pie recipee.
    I made the recipe and the pumpkin filling was sparse for that sized pan.

  1. Reply

    The video really helps convince me I can make both of these at home myself!

  2. Pingback: Jordan Chef draws food, recipes using iPad Made with Paper app | The Jordan Journey | Appliance Repair

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