Thanksgiving leftovers are the bomb! Yes…I just said “the bomb”. Don’t tell my kids. They would die of embarrassment. Seriously though, I enjoy the leftovers more than the meal itself. We don’t go to all of the trouble to make casseroles and new-fangled concoctions out of our leftovers. We simply heap our plates full and microwave it until it’s warm enough to go down easy.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving leftovers is my mom‘s cornbread dressing. The dressing is actually best after it sits a day or two. Sometimes we’ll make an extra pan just to put away for later. I’ve even been known to hide a Cool Whip tub full of dressing at the back of the fridge so I can have my own secret “mom stash” to dig into whenever I please. Don’t judge.
But, my ultimate favorite leftovers is pumpkin pie. Just typing the words makes me drool with anticipation. Let’s face it. Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. And what are the holidays for if not for gaining as much weight as possible so we can have that “lose 10 pounds” New Year’s resolution thing to get us through January?
Other leftovers aren’t so great the next day. They’re edible, but not quite the same as they are fresh. Things like mashed potatoes and turkey. You might be able to tolerate them if you whip up a fresh batch of gravy to wash it down. I strongly recommend that you don’t try to make that gravy hold out an extra day. The refrigerator does something really funky to that extra gravy. Trust me.
It you want a fool-proof, gravy-less Thanksgiving leftover that you’ll all be fighting over, make an extra pumpkin pie…or two...or four. Below is my recipe. It’s a twist on the classic, but I change up the spices a bit and add another egg for extra custardy-ness. NOTE: I suggest that you fill your pie shell while it is in the oven. I won’t tell you how I know this, but it’s a little tricky to carry a pie shell filled to the brim with runny pie filling.
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!
ULTIMATE PUMPKIN PIE
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie shell
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Mix sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a small bowl. Beat in eggs. Stir in pumpkin. Gradually stir in evaporated milk until well blended.
3. Place empty pie shell on cookie sheet in oven. Carefully pour filling into shell. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on counter for 2 hours or until room temperature. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Top with fresh whipped cream sweetened with brown sugar and dash of cinnamon. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with caramel syrup.
Tiffany Aaron of Quitman writes her "Secret Life of a Betty Crocker Wannabe" column each Wednesday. Aaron is a recent finalist in the national Pillsbury Bake-Off competition and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.