Dessert alternatives for Thanksgiving pie

Chocolate pecan pie, front, and "Knock Your Socks Off" pumpkin pie.

Chocolate pecan pie, front, and "Knock Your Socks Off" pumpkin pie.


Lawrence Journal-World

Chocolate pecan pie, front, and "Knock Your Socks Off" pumpkin pie.


Lawrence Journal-World

"Knock Your Socks Off" pumpkin pie. Truth in advertising.


Lawrence Journal-World

"Knock Your Socks Off" pumpkin pie, left, and chocolate pecan pie.


Lawrence Journal-World

"Knock Your Socks Off" pumpkin pie.

What would Thanksgiving be without pie?

Turkey day would end with diners in sad tryptophan-laden puddles on the couch, barely energetic enough to cheer the Cowboys or the Lions.

Pie is the sweet end we all want to what is possibly America’s biggest collective gorgefest.

But sometimes it’s worth it to change it up every now and then. While we’re not saying you should forbid grandma from bringing her famous pumpkin pie to dinner, it might be nice to try something a little bit new.

Why not add apples or streusel to your basic pumpkin model?

Or maybe go with a proven combination and add chocolate to your standard pecan pie?

Or how about going way into left field and coming back with an egg nog-based pie or a vegan-friendly version of basic pumpkin?

The possibilities are endless, but because it’s the holidays and we know you’re short on time, check out the not-so-normal offerings we found for your Thanksgiving.

Knock-Your-Socks-Off Pumpkin Pie Crust

2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter

1 large egg

2 tablespoons ice water


15 ounces canned pumpkin

1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

For crust:

Peel and mince fresh ginger. Place in a medium bowl, and blend with flour, sugar, allspice and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water in small bowl. Add yolk mixture to flour and butter mixture; blend until mixture forms moist clumps. If dough is too dry, blend in more water by teaspoonfuls. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 1 hour.

Please note: Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Soften dough slightly at room temperature before rolling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch-diameter round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to one inch. Fold edges under crust. Crimp decoratively, forming high-standing rim (about 1/2 inch above rim of dish).

Freeze crust for 15 minutes. Line crust with foil and then fill with pie weights (dried beans work well too). Bake crust 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans and bake until crust is set and pale golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool completely.

For filling:

Whisk all ingredients in large bowl until combined. Pour into pie crust. Bake until skin begins to form on filling and filling begins to set, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Let pie stand 10 minutes to set slightly. Maintain oven temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare topping:

Mix first five ingredients in medium bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture begins to form small clumps. Sprinkle topping over pie. Bake until pie is set and streusel is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

— Recipe from

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust (in pie pan)

8 ounces 65 to 72 percent dark chocolate, cut or broken into small pieces

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pie crust with parchment paper or foil, fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool, then remove weights and paper or foil. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Mix sugar, eggs, vanilla and pecans in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in chocolate mixture and evaporated milk, then transfer to pre-baked pie crust and bake until set in the middle, about one hour. (Watch the crust while baking and cover edges with foil to prevent burning, if necessary.)

Set pie aside to let cool until warm or room temperature then cut into slices and serve.

— Recipe from

Pumpkin Apple Pie

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons butter

2 granny smith or fuji apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

1 egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin purée

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (in pie pan)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put brown sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, water and butter into a medium pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Add apples and cook, tossing to coat in sugar mixture, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg, granulated sugar, pumpkin, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, ginger and milk until well combined.

Pour apple mixture into pie shell and spoon pumpkin mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake until filling is just set in the middle, about 40 minutes more. Set aside on a wire rack to let cool completely before cutting into slices.

— Recipe from

French Apple Pie Pastry Single crust unbaked 9-inch pastry


1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root

5 medium (5 cups) granny smith apples, cored, thinly sliced


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup cold butter

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, raisins, 1/4 cup walnuts and ginger root in large bowl. Add apple slices; toss gently to coat. Spoon into pastry shell.

Combine 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar in small bowl; cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup walnuts. Press evenly over apple mixture.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until apples are fork tender. (If crust is browning too quickly, cover edge with two-inch strip of aluminum foil.) Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

— Recipe from

Homemade Sweet Potato Pie Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cold butter

3 to 4 tablespoons cold water


1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

4 medium (1 1/2 cups) sweet potatoes, cooked skins removed, mashed*

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup evaporated milk

3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water with fork just until flour is moistened. Shape into ball; flatten slightly.

Roll out ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into 9-inch pie pan; unfold, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Set aside.

Combine all filling ingredients except evaporated milk, eggs and whipped cream in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add milk and eggs. Beat until well mixed.

Pour filling into crust. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If crust is browning too quickly, cover edge with 2-inch strip of aluminum foil. Cool completely. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Store refrigerated.

*Substitute 1 1/2 cups vacuum-packed canned mashed sweet potatoes.

— Recipe from

Egg Nog Cream Pie

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 cups egg nog, divided

6 eggs, yolks only

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 graham cracker pie shell (8-inch)

Place the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a 3 quart heavy sauce pan and whisk together. Whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup egg nog in a small bowl. Then add the egg nog mixture to the dry ingredients in the sauce pan and whisk together. Add 1 3/4 cups of egg nog to the sauce pan and whisk well. Cook on medium high heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and remaining 1 cup egg nog; whisk well. Pour into the graham cracker pie shell. Refrigerate. Top with whipped cream.

— Recipe from

Vegan Pumpkin PieCrust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup pecan pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening


1 (16-ounce) package extra-firm lite silken tofu, drained

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup pecan halves, divided

Non-dairy topping (optional)

For the crust, pulse flour, pecans, salt and sugar in a food processor until pecans are finely ground. Add shortening and pulse until almost combined, then add 3 tablespoons ice water and pulse until just blended. Gather dough into two balls then press each into a disc. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for several hours until firm.

When ready to make the pie, set one disc out at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften slightly. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a (10- to 11-inch) circle and carefully transfer to a (9-inch) pie plate. Press crust back together where needed and crimp edges as desired; chill until ready to use. (Reserve remaining pie dough for another use.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the filling, blend tofu in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Add pumpkin, sugar, 1/4 cup of the syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and purée until smooth; set aside.

Reserve 8 pecan halves as a garnish then toss remaining pecans with remaining 2 tablespoons syrup and arrange evenly on the bottom of the pie shell. Pour pumpkin filling into pie shell and bake until just set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Set pie aside to let cool then top with non-dairy topping, if you like, and decorate with reserved pecans.

— Recipe from


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