For dessert on Thanksgiving, and other pumpkin friendly holidays, well, there's pumpkin pie and then there's this...
Pumpkin Crunch is an island favorite. And boy oh boy is it goodness in every stinkin' calorie loaded bite-- which kinda makes it practically perfect for Thanksgiving and other food centered "eat your heart out" days, right?
So, if you'll forgive my poor photography skills, I took these in the middle of the night in pretty poor lighting, and ignore that cardboard cake tray there, this big guy went to Charlie's office this morn and so couldn't go right on the cake stand or I'd never get it back off in one piece, and if you can ignore the fact that I am hardly a baker, the caramel sauce could have been thicker, the whole thing is over done and I'm definitely not a very good follower of recipes, they're just so very bossy with their "do this" and "do that"...
Well, here ya go, a recipe for this, so embarrassingly easy, island favorite as it's made traditionally, in a large rectangular cake style, and then with all of my rule breaking tips for that showstopper take on it up there.
(a recipe)1 can solid-packed pumpkin (29 oz)1 can evaporated milk (13 oz)1 cup sugar3 eggs, slightly beaten1/4 teaspoon cinnamon1 box yellow pudding cake mix1 cup walnuts, chopped1 cup butter, meltedMix pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and cinnamon together. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with waxed paper. Pour 1 box cake mix (fry) over pumpkin mixture and pat nuts on cake mix. Spoon melted butter evenly over nuts. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Invert onto tray and peel off waxed paper. When slightly cooled, spread frosting over.Frosting:1 package cream cheese (8 oz), room temperature1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted3/4 cup Cool WhipBeat together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread evenly over cake. Refrigerate. Cut into squares.Note: So about those rules made to be broken...
For a "show stopper" effect I use a 10 inch spring form pan lined on the bottom only with waxed paper and these adjusted measurements:
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon1 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans1 1/2 cup butter, melted
Spread about half of the cake mix, if you wanna have more control over the ingredients you can find a recipe to make your own cake mix here, and pour half of the butter over the cake mix. Sprinkle, and by sprinkle I mean "dump"-- this is basically a glorified "dump cake", the rest of the cake mix, top with nuts and pour remaining butter evenly over the top. Be prepared this version is more dense and will take longer to bake, like, a lot.double the amount of frosting
On days when I am more patient, and willing, I substitute the Cool Whip with stabilized freshly whipped cream, done like this here. And to garnish I spread a thin layer of whipped cream, with some sugar and vanilla added for flavor, over the entire surface and then pipe cream along the edge. When cooled slightly run a butter knife along the inside edge of the ring to loosen the dessert and pop off the ring. Invert onto a serving dish. I spread about half of the frosting on immediately, there's something magical about it all sort of melting together, and the other half once it's cooled completely.
A drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of candied pecan pieces finishes the whole thing off nicely if you're into that sort of thing.
A link to caramel sauce here.
(Or you could just melt a few caramel squares in the microwave, for one minute at a time, with a few teaspoons of milk and stir)
The easiest and best candied pecans recipe here.