Cookie Monster

Weekly recipes to serve with a glass of milk.

Cookie Monster: Pumpkin Custard With Cookie Crumble

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Upside down pie [Photograph: Carrie Vasios Mullins]

The turkchetta was brining. The cranberry sauce was made. The booze was bought. It was less than 24 hours until my Friendsgiving and things were looking good.

And then I pulled my pumpkin pie crust out of the oven after its blind bake and proceeded to smash it on the floor. Le crap.

I took about three and a half minutes of self-indulgent whining and then moved onto plan B: cook the pie filling in a baking dish. Growing up, my mom always baked any extra filling in little ramekins for us to snack on. Why not bake the whole thing like that? I thought. It's worth a shot.

Into the baking dish it went, and fifty minutes later out of the oven it came, perfectly set and pumpkin pie-like. It was exactly the same as pumpkin pie, just...unframed. I went to bed satisfied.

But in the morning I couldn't get past this nagging feeling that even with its spices and sweetness and notes of orange (my pumpkin pie secret ingredient) the custard would be missing something. But what?

It hit me when I was at the store buying the heavy cream for the freshly whipped cream I planned to serve on the pie: make a cookie crust, crumble it up, and serve it on top. It would actually be similar to plating that I've seen at restaurants thanks to the whole desconstruct-it trend.

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Cookie crumbles

So I bought a package of Anna's Ginger Thins, which I like for their intense ginger flavor and scent of citrus. Back home, I crushed the cookies lightly—I wanted the crumble to be more like a crumb topping than an actual cookie crust, so I kept them in approximately 1/4-inch pieces—and mixed them with dark brown sugar and melted butter to make a cookie crust. I even baked it in a pie dish (I still had a metal one intact) and after it cooled, broke it into large shards.

I served everyone a little rectangle of pumpkin custard topped with some of the sweet, gingery crumble and a cloud of freshly whipped cream. It was a total hit. (In fact I don't think I would have got half as much praise with the original pie.)

About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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