I’m proud to be an American. Really I am. (Politics aside!) But truth be told, I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because, being Jewish, we’ve got our fill of holidays, and every Shabbat is practically a Thanksgiving meal in itself. The most we ever did growing up was make some deli turkey sandwiches and maybe pumpkin pie, but no feast and no big bird.
If I’m feeling festive, I’ll usually cook up some Thanksgiving-inspired recipes for the Shabbat before or after Thanksgiving. I make turkey London broil (half of a skinless boneless turkey breast), pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and stuffing and call it a day. I love all the flavors of the holiday and each year, I try to put my own spin on a classic Thanksgiving recipe.
Last year, I had my very first Thanksgiving dinner experience, when my friend Melinda of kitchen-tested) invited my family over for the most lavish spread I’ve ever seen. And I’m Jewish. So when I say lavish. I mean LAVISH. Mel made the most adorable place settings with homemade tea biscuit cookie butter in personalized jars and a crazy good pie bar for dessert (I brought my Mexican hot chocolate pecan pie). This year, she invited us again (I’ve got my stretchy pants ready!) and when I was thinking about what to bring, I decided it had to involve the latest kosher obsession – speculoos, or Lotus caramelize biscuits and cookie butter spread.
You see, Mel had her first taste of the stuff at my house, and I think her eyes rolled back in her head when she licked the gingersnap-flavored butter off the spoon. Of course cookie butter had been around for years, but it’s been hard to get with kosher certification, so I had to resort to begging my friends and family to smuggle some in from Israel. (Just joking of course, it’s perfectly legal. Although maybe it shouldn’t be!).
But the kosher speculoos Gods heard our pleas, and pallets of the stuff have finally arrived at our shores and onto kosher supermarket shelves. No need to stock up on ten jars at a time anymore, they’ve become a staple! Three stores in my hood alone now carry the cookies and butter, as well as numerous stores around Brooklyn. I hope kosher supermarkets everywhere get in on the cookie butter dream too.
So! To celebrate the newly available jars of bliss, I’ve developed this super fun recipe for cookie butter pumpkin pie. Except it’s really a butternut squash pie, but pumpkin just sounds better. And isn’t butternut a pumpkin anyway?
Plus, haven’t you read the news that canned pumpkin isn’t actually pumpkin??!! I know, shocking right? So if they can call canned squash pumpkin, I sure as hell can too. At least I’m being honest, right?
So pumpkin, squash, whatever you decide to use, marries so beautifully with the cookie butter because it’s got that amazingly warm flavor that’s reminiscent of gingersnaps (my all time favorite) and cinnamon. Surprisingly, I’m not that into pumpkin spice flavors, so this is a great alternative. I love to eat it cold, with a dollop of coconut cream, for a decadent dessert. If only I had a fireplace to pair with it!
Don’t be intimidated by the fancy swirls, they’re super simple to make. Just spoon dollops of the cookie butter into your mouth…um…I mean…onto the pie, and then use a knife to swirl the dollops around. Don’t mix too much and don’t stick that knife too deep or you’ll mess with the crust. Ask me how I know.
So whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not – give this decadent and original pumpkin pie a try. If you’re a fan of cookie butter, you’ll be sure to love it! (and If you’re not, who are you and what in the world is wrong with you?!)
Cookie Butter Pumpkin Pie
2 1/2 cups butternut squash or pumpkin purée (see note)
1/3 c brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup Lotus smooth cookie butter
1 pkg Lotus Biscoff cookies (250 grams)
1/2 c (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted and cooled
pinch of sea salt
coconut whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, blend the cookie biscuits to form crumbs. Pour in the melted butter, add the sea salt and blend until it starts to come together in clumps. Press the crust into the base and up the sides of a pie dish (it helps to smooth it out with the bottom of a measuring cup). Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the squash puree, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, coconut milk, cinnamon and salt and whisk until smooth. If desired, puree with a hand blender to make it extra silky. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
In a small pot, warm the cookie butter so it’s easier to work with (see tip). Place dollops of cookie butter around the pie and swirl with a knife. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pie is set and starting to brown around the edges. Cool and serve with coconut whipped cream and some melted cookie butter and/or crushed cookies. Alternatively, you may refrigerate the pie and serve cold (my preference).
NOTE: I’m not a big fan of pumpkin so I prefer to use squash in my pumpkin pie. Butternut and kabocha are my favorites. I roast my butternut squash to concentrate the flavors and make it even sweeter and more delicious, no peeling necessary!. To roast (you can do this with any squash), cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until soft (it should pierce easily with a fork), about 30-45 minutes, depending on size. Remove the seeds and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. If you prefer to use frozen winter squash or canned pumpkin, add 1/4 cup of flour to the mixture.
TIP: To get the most cookie butter flavor, you’ll want dollops of cookie butter that don’t mix too much into the pumpkin. Heat the butter to make it easier to work with, but let it cool so that it’s not completely runny or else it will spread too much. Try not to overmix when swirling.
VARIATION: For a quick and easy version, bake the butternut squash without a crust, or use a frozen pie crust or graham cracker crust and drizzle with melted Lotus cookie butter.
Other Thanksgiving Recipes:
chestnut hummus with Thanksgiving pita chips
unstuffed mushrooms with chestnuts
cranberry sriracha green beans
creamy pareve mashed potatoes
mulled wine cranberry sauce
the best pareve cornbread
turkey roulade with 5-minute stuffing
Mexican hot chocolate pecan pie