Sweet ReMarks: Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Pie

by | Desserts, In the Kitchen, Recipes

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Pumpkin Everything! Can you resist?

You know it’s that time of year when you hear Pumpkin Spice Lattes are placed on the menu again. It’s that combination of excitement, plus the eye roll (here we go again) and that gravitational pull into the world of pumpkin. We can’t resist.

It seems everything transitions into that flavor: cereal, donuts, soup, beer, granola, cake … even protein bars. It may seem a bit redundant but we all buy into it. We indulge our senses in an almost glutinous way for 2-3 months until it disappears until the next year.

Some people think we have 4 seasons a year. Then there are those who believe we only have two: Pumpkin Season and Non-Pumpkin season. Regardless of which one you are, we all have an affinity for the smell of sweet pumpkin.



Comforting memories of food and family

The wafting scent of a warm pumpkin pie baking in the oven practically hypnotizes us. Comfort food. Memories of Grandma’s Thanksgiving feasts. Family gatherings. Counting our Blessings … Perhaps these all tie into those taste memories every time we indulge in something of that flavor composition? Who wouldn’t want to feel warm and fuzzy by the simple sip of a latte or by a spoonful of pie? And why not? It tastes good, makes us feel good and believe it or not, it’s actually healthy!



Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie

We love tradition at the dinner table. Pumpkin pie is the epitome of that on that one glorious day of the year. I am one of those who must have a pumpkin pie on their Thanksgiving dinner table. But, I’m also one of those who loves to take something expected and give it an unexpected twist. Afterall, I am a pastry chef. Why not have a little fun in the kitchen! I like to take a traditional recipe and enhance it in subtle ways.

This year I did just that to our pumpkin pie. I added a little flair by using some local buttermilk from Homeland Creamery. It’s tangy, bright and just enough change that doesn’t alter the pumpkin taste. It just gives it an updated flavor.





Nutritious and delicious

One of the benefits of enjoying pumpkin pie is that the filling is low in calories and it’s chock full of nutrients. A basic piece of pumpkin pie has around 325-ish calories. Using fresh pumpkin in the pie increases the fiber content to about 7 grams per serving. There’s all kinds of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which are the buzz words we love to hear about. And best of all, it contains folic acid!

What does that mean? Well, in my book it means pumpkin pie for breakfast because folic acid is best absorbed by the body on an empty stomach. Yep. so, save yourself a piece for the following morning!


Here’s a new pumpkin recipe you can try for your Thanksgiving feast!


If you are a bit intimidated by making fresh puree you can substitute canned. Either way I think you’ll like the outcome. Cheers to a memorable Thanksgiving and buttermilk pumpkin pie!



Fresh Pumpkin-Buttermilk Pie Recipe

Pumpkin Pure Ingredients:

Sugar Pumpkin or Pie Pumpkin         1 small (approximately 16 oz.to 24oz.)

Salt                                                             ¼ teaspoon

Water                                                         1-3 Tablespoons



  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Cut off the stem.
  • Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.
  • Quarter the pumpkin and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment.
  • Spray the parchment with non-stick spray.
  • Sprinkle flesh with salt and place the quarters flesh side down.
  • Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
  • Cool down and puree in the food processor.
  • Add enough water just to get it to whirl — about 1 T water at a time.


Pie Filling Ingredients:

Fresh Pumpkin Puree 15 oz.

Vanilla Extract                         1 teaspoon

Melted Butter                          4 oz.

Eggs                                           2 each

Brown Sugar                           ¾ Cup

Sugar                                        ¼ Cup

Cinnamon                               ¼ teaspoon

Cloves                                       pinch

Nutmeg                                    pinch


Buttermilk                                ¾ Cup

Flour                                           2 Tablespoons



  • Whisk first set of ingredients together.
  • Stir in buttermilk and flour.



  • Pour into an unbaked pie shell.
  • Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes.
  • Allow to cool. Serve with fresh whipped cream.


Don’t forget my recipe for Pumpkin cheesecake!

Pastry photo courtesy of Keli Marks
Pumpkins and dinner photos courtesy of Pixabay.com



Pastry Chef Keli Marks

Pastry Chef Keli Marks is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She received a full year education at the French Pastry School in Chicago, IL in exchange for being the very first assistant to Jacquy Pfeiffer & Sebastien Canonne, MOF when they opened the school in 1996.

Keli has been on the Food Network on three separate occasions: Sugar Rush, Romance Novel Cake Challenge and The Holiday Baking Championships. In addition, she was on the Chicago chapter’s board for Les Dames d’Escoffier from 2009 – 2011 and was a guest pastry chef at the famed James Beard House in NYC in 2013.

As the pastry chef owner of Bakery 28, she incorporates local ingredients from farmers within the Carolinas and promises to only use natural ingredients.



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