I wasn’t a pie person until one year my stepmom and I took on the challenge of making a pumpkin pie from scratch. We stayed up late the night before Thanksgiving, rolling out homemade dough and boiling whole pumpkins.
Yes, whole pumpkins.
We’ve made that pie every year since, and now, I’m definitely a pie person. Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without that pie.
Most families probably have at least one of these Thanksgiving recipes–one that the entire family loves, the one that would be criminal to forget.
But, that’s why I love the concept of a Friendsgiving, because not only does it give you the chance to celebrate a family-style holiday with friends, but it also gives you a little more room to be creative with the dinner menu.
I want to show you two of my favorite fall desserts that are perfect for Friendsgiving and have a bit more flare than your run-of-the-mill pie (not that I don’t love a run-of-the-mill-pie) plus my favorite thing to do with leftover pie dough.
Gooey Butter Cake
The butter cake was born in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1930s by complete accident. Many believe that a baker from one of St. Louis’ oldest pastry shops can be thanked for the butter cake’s ooey-gooey center when he mismeasured the ingredients for a coffee cake that came out like the texture of butter cake. This prepare-ahead-friendly recipe has a texture similar to lemon bars and a taste similar to roasted honeycomb.
1 15.2-oz box of yellow cake mix
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
8-oz of cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tasp salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, stir together cake mix, egg, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt until well combined into a thick dough.
Press the dough into a greased 9×13 pan until smooth and flat.
In another bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the softened cream cheese for about two minutes or until smooth. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, butter and salt until well combined. Reserve ½ cup of powdered sugar and set aside. Slowly add in the rest, one cup at a time, until it is smoothly incorporated.
Pour the mixture over the dough, and bake in the oven until the top is set and golden, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares, then enjoy!
Mini Apple Pies
People will think you spent hours on these. These mini apple pies are for the friend who wants to impress their friends with a homemade pie, without actually having to make one. Not only are these magical little pies an ultimate crowd-pleaser, they’ll leave your house smelling like all your favorite things about fall.
1 package of refrigerated pie dough
1 large Honeycrisp apple, diced
1 tbsp cane sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 375°.
Roll out the refrigerated pie dough and cut out 3-4 inch circles of dough.
Grease a muffin tin and mold the circles of pie dough into each slot and store in the fridge.
Meanwhile, combine chopped apples, honey, sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, and flour into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the pie topping until the butter gets mixed in and forms a crumbly texture.
Remove the muffin tin from the fridge and scoop 2-3 tablespoons of apple filling into each cup.
Top each pie with 1-2 tablespoons of the topping and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired and enjoy with friends!
Leftover Pie Dough Hack
Every Thanksgiving, I end up with leftover pie dough. Whether homemade or refrigerated, I somehow always end up with a pie dough surplus. My favorite thing to do with the extra dough is to make homemade quiche using whatever veggies I have on hand. If I have leftover pie dough before my annual Friendsgiving, I’ll stuff the pie dough into cupcake liners and make mini quiches for my friends. Otherwise, I’ll use the leftover pie dough to make a big breakfast quiche. Though the possibilities are endless with quiche, one of my favorite ways to make it is with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onion, feta cheese, and fresh rosemary. My family calls this the “Easter Quiche,” but if I can’t wait till Easter, I’ll sometimes make it for Thanksgiving.
Food is quite possibly my favorite thing to bond over, so I hope you will take inspiration from at least one of these recipes and share it with the people you love this Thanksgiving.
Jason / November 18, 2022