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There’s no image or flavour more popular in the fall than pumpkin, which is why nothing says Thanksgiving dessert quite like pumpkin pie.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a big ol’ slice of this traditional Thanksgiving treat, but if you find yourself getting bored with this go-to, it might be time to think outside the piecrust.
Jessica McGovern, host of Gusto’s newest retro show, Flour Power, has some pumpkin alternatives just in time for your Thanksgiving feast.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

Yields approx. 12 doughnuts


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
For the glaze (optional)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 6-hole doughnut pans.
  2. Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, mix until combined.
  4. Fill the doughnut pans about ¾ full.
  5. Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
  6. Once cooked, cool for about 5 minutes,then transfer to a rack to cool.
  7. Mix together all ingredients for glaze and dip donuts.
  8. Alternately, you can just sprinkle these with cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

Yields approx. four ramekin dishes


  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup coarse sugar or raw sugar, for crust


  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, star anise, and cloves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil.
  3. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse at least 15 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Pour the mixture into four ovenproof ramekins and arrange in a hot water bath.
  5. Bake in the center of the oven until almost set but still a bit soft in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should jiggle a bit when you shake the pan; it will firm up more as it cools.
  6. Remove from the water bath and cool to room temp (approx 20 mins). Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, preheat a broiler to very hot (or fire up your kitchen torch). Cover the surface of each creme brulee with a thin layer of coarse sugar. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and broil until the sugar is melted and well browned, 1 to 2 minutes, or torch them! Cool for a minute before eating!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Yields approx. 12 servings


For the gingerbread
  • 2 cups (480 ml) flour
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) ground cloves
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) mild-flavoured molasses
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) hot water
For the pumpkin custard
  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (240 ml) sugar
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 can (795 ml) pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) dark rum
For the whipped cream
  • 2 cups (480 ml) chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp(30 ml) sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. To make gingerbread cake, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  4. Add brown sugar and mix.
  5. Beat in egg and molasses.
  6. Add butter and beat in.
  7. Pour in hot water and continue beating.
  8. Pour into a greased, 8-inch (20 cm) cake pan.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched.
For the pumpkin custard
  1. Heat cream in a saucepan with sugar and cornstarch.
  2. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl.
  3. Slowly pour cream mixture into eggs, whisking continuously to avoid cooking the eggs.
  4. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and put back on the heat.
  5. Cook until thick.
  6. Take off the heat.
  7. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, and rum.
  8. Chill in the fridge until set.
For the whipped cream
  1. Beat cream and sugar in a cold bowl until peaks form.
  2. To assemble, cut top off cake and slice bottom part in half horizontally.
  3. Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut 10 gingerbread men out of the 2 bottom parts of the cake, reserving all leftovers.
  4. Using a piping bag, cover the bottom of the trifle dish with 2 inches (5 cm) of custard.
  5. Top with a small layer of whipped cream.
  6. Place top of cake over the whipped cream.
  7. Line gingerbread men standing up all around the glass of the trifle dish.
  8. Add a second layer of custard and whipped cream.
  9. Once the trifle dish is full, sprinkle remaining gingerbread cake pieces over the top.

Pumpkin Cake Roll

Yields approx. 10 servings


  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
For the filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Additional confectioners' sugar, optional


  1. Line a 15” x 10” x 1” baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.