Planning the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner While Living Abroad – The Pumpkin Pie

Hi everyone. Welcome to my sixth post dedicated to helping you plan the perfect Thanksgiving dinner while living abroad. I first wrote about making sure you have all the right utensils and about how to prepare the all-important turkey. I followed up with how to make stuffing from scratch, how to make a delicious river of gravy, how to make mashed potatoes, and how to make drop biscuits. Today, we are going to round out your Thanksgiving feast with a pumpkin pie!

First off, I’m not going to talk about how to make the crust. This is for 2 reasons. 1) Crusts are hard to make but should not be hard to purchase. Even though “pie” is not popular in China, egg tarts are. So just use egg tart shells and make mini-pumpkin pies. 2) You can completely bypass the shell altogether by using dumpling wrappers! Why not bring a little China to your Thanksgiving dinner table?

We are going to make the pumpkin pie filling from scratch because pumpkins are usually easy to find and the pumpkin puree is not that hard to make.

What you need:

1 small pumpkin (1 cup pumpkin puree)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice powder
½ tsp ginger powder
1 egg
6 oz evaporated milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
12 dumpling wrappers (made from scratch or purchased) or 12 egg tart shells
1 cup of oil for frying

Preparing the Pumpkin

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Don’t be afraid to scrape the sides and get all that stringy stuff out.
  2. Place the pumpkin into a steamer basket on the stove (you can cut the pieces smaller if they don’t quite fit). Steam pumpkin, covered, over high heat for 20-30 minutes or until it is soft.
  3. Scoop softened pumpkin meat out of the rind. Puree pumpkin meat in a blender until smooth.
  4. Done! You will only need 1 cup of puree for this recipe. If you have extra puree, you can freeze it and save it for future dumplings or increase the rest of the recipe to make lots of dumplings (not like they will go to waste since they will be eaten up so quickly!).

Making the pumpkin pie filling for dumplings or egg tart shells

  1. Mix together 1 cup of pumpkin puree with the sugar, spices, egg, and evaporated milk.
  2. For pumpkin pie dumplings:
    • Spoon mixture into dumpling wrappers and pinch closed. If the mixture is too runny to work with, put the mixture into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set up.
    • To fry dumplings, preheat oil for 30 seconds on high heat, then lower heat to medium. Cook dumplings on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. If you are using egg tart shells:
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
    • Fill the shells about 3/4 of the way full with pumpkin pie filling.
    • Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden.
  4. Serve hot or chilled.

You can find the Pumpkin Pie Dumpling recipe, along with almost a hundred more, in my cookbook Crazy Dumplings, now available on Amazon! 

Dumplings. Wontons. Jiaozi. This remarkably simple food is found throughout Asia and in Chinese restaurants and kitchens around the world, but have you ever filled a dumpling wrapper with chicken? Lobster? North American Plains Bison? Hardly anyone has! The Crazy Dumplings Cookbook features over 100 recipes with some of the craziest and most delicious dumpling filling recipes you will ever see. From Chicken Taquito Dumplings to Timey-Wimey Dumplings to a dumpling for your dog, Crazy Dumplings will show you all the crazy things you can stuff into a dumpling wrapper for an easy meal or snack.