TBT—Throw Back to Thanksgiving, 2015!

TBT—Throw Back to Thanksgiving, 2015!

Day 121

Pumpkin Pie & Tres Leches Cake

This entry took forever to add here. I’m not sure why, since the pictures have been ready for a couple of months. At any rate, that’s why I had to do a “TBT” entry (but instead of Thursday, it’s cleverly Thanksgiving…Okay, okay, not so clever). 

Anyway, every Thanksgiving, my husband’s family comes for dinner. Everyone takes a turn hosting the different holidays, and Thanksgiving is ours.

Photos by Doug Kapustin, Copyright 2016


Planning our menu is always the most fun, and we try to bring all of his family’s traditional favorites as well as some new dishes to the table. This year, we made the usual roasted and smoked turkeys, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn, biscuits, herbed stuffing, gravy, Doug’s sister’s awesome cranberry sauce, and Doug’s mom’s scrumptious mashed potatoes.  Then, we accented the meal with a Brussels sprouts salad and a seven-layer salad. Appetizers included artichoke dip, chili cheese dip, and sweet and sour meatballs. 

Dessert was the coup de force, though. This year, in addition to Doug’s signature pumpkin pies for which his whole family actually begs, I made a tres leches cake, served atop a bed of the most decadent caramel sauce you’ve ever tasted. Most of our already full family members still opted for a “sampler plate” of both desserts AND finished them. It was that good.

Then, we cleaned up and went straight to bed. Really, we did!

 And the sleep was glorious; it was the kind of sleep reserved for babies and puppies with full bellies. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving again. 

Here are both recipes, for you to enjoy whenever somebody “slings a craving on you” for some holiday decadence. Bon appétit, and Happy TBThanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie

1½ cups canned pumpkin
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. each, nutmeg and cloves
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1¼ cups milk
2/3 cup evaporated milk (1 -6oz. can)
1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell (store bought or homemade)

Thoroughly mix pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Blend in eggs, milk, and evaporated milk. Pour into pastry shell (crimp edges high). Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) for 50 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool before serving. 

Serve with fresh, whipped cream if desired. 

FYI- We quadruple the recipe for four pies, in case you want to do the same.

If opting for a homemade crust, here’s my favorite recipe, courtesy of Ina Garten;  it’s truly foolproof, just as promised by The Barefoot Contessa

Tres Leches Cake

For the cake-
1 box Pillsbury Moist Supreme yellow cake mix

4 eggs (at room temperature)
1½ sticks butter (¾ cup), softened to room temperature
½ sugar
8 oz. container sour cream
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup heavy cream

For the icing: 
1 pint heavy cream
4 tbs. sugar
1 8oz. container mascarpone cheese

Fit a mixer with the paddle attachment, then combine the butter, sour cream, and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, then cake mix. Blend well. Add cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg and blend just until incorporated. 

Pour into greased and floured 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake at 350 until a knife in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes (since ovens vary, start checking at 25 minutes and keep checking every 2-3 minutes until done).  Remove from oven.

Immediately take a fork and make holes all over the cake’s surface while hot. 

Mix evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and ¼ cup of heavy cream in a bowl until combined, then slowly pour over hot cake, giving it time to absorb properly. Get as much around the edges as possible too.  You might have as much as ½ -1 cup of the mixture left over after drenching the cake, and that’s okay. 

Allow cake to absorb the mixture as it cools, for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cool.

To make icing:
Whip heavy cream, sugar, and mascarpone cheese until thick and spreadable. Spread on cake and sprinkle with additional cinnamon and chocolate shavings. 

As an optional but extra delicious treat, serve each slice of cake atop a bed of the Pioneer Woman’s caramel sauce. Here’s her recipe link: 

Also, the original Tres Leches cake I made (not this one) was from The Pioneer Woman too. Hers is outstanding—as are all of her recipes, come to think of it. But, I opted to make my own with a doctored cake mix only because I like the denser, more pound cake-like texture when it’s drenched with liquid. There’s just less mush and I prefer that. If, however, you prefer a spongier, more traditional tres leches, you really should try this one: 

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