Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Knickerbocker Glory

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Knickerbocker Glory

This is my take on the traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Every November my American wife cooks a pumpkin pie for us using the ready-made Graham cracker pie/tart cases, Libby’s tinned pumpkin puree that’s sold in American shops and good delis in London and my least favourite pudding ingredient evaporated milk. And every year I remember why it hasn’t made it over to these shores like so many other American desserts…

So I thought if I have to eat it, I’d at least try and make it more palatable for the non-pumpkin eating British public as well as making it look a bit more exciting for those who might want something a bit different. I’ve replaced the tart case with a spiced shortbread, whipped up the pumpkin with some double cream and substituted the cloying sugariness that comes from evaporated milk for a nicer sweet note from maple syrup and then added a little Greek yoghurt to balance out the sweetness of the pumpkin. Using a cinnamon ice cream, some fun toppings of caramelized pumpkin seeds, butternut squash crisps and a surprising but delicious addition of pumpkin seed oil as a syrup to finish the whole thing off in true Knickerbocker style.

Assemble into a sundae glass and enjoy with some Americans this Thursday for Thanksgiving


Spiced shortbread

225g plain flour

1 pinch of salt

75g Caster sugar

1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of good quality vanilla essence

150g unsalted butter, at room temp

2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice-or make your own with ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger

50g granulated sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven 180’c. Sift the flour, salt and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice into a mixing bowl and add the caster sugar.

 Using a sharp knife, carefully slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and run the back of the knife to extract the vanilla seeds, add this or if using natural extract to the bowl with the butter. Now using your finger tips, rub the butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients to resemble bread crumbs and then bring it together to make dough.

Flatten the ball of dough a little and roll out onto a lightly floured surface about 2cm thick and cut into long sticks/shards and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a non-stick liner

Bake for 25 minutes, making sure to turn the tray to evenly cook all the biscuits.

Mix the granulated sugar with the remaining pumpkin pie spice.

Remove the tray once they are nicely golden brown and dust with the spiced sugar. Leave to cool.


Pumpkin Chantilly

200g Pumpkin puree – the best stuff is the proper American Libbys tinned puree

2 tbl maple syrup

200ml Double cream


100ml Greek Yoghurt

 Lightly whip together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and double cream until soft

Fold in the Greek yoghurt until you get a firm mousse like texture

Ice Cream

A few balls of Cinnamon ice cream-I use Moomaid of Zennor for my ice cream as it really is as good as home-made. If you are not able to get cinnamon ice cream, vanilla should do fine.



Caramelized pumpkin seeds

Butternut squash crisps

Pumpkin seed oil


To Assemble

You can make this as simple or as complicated as you are feeling on the day. A simple option is to place a few scoops of ice cream in a nice glass, add a layer of the Pumpkin Chantilly and then one more scoop of Ice Cream on top. Add the pumpkin seeds and Pumpkin seed oil and stick in a few pieces of the sliced short bread.



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