Let's Get (Pumpkin) Crackin'!

November 26, 2013

As we head into the holiday season, it's time to revisit a few favorite family traditions. We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year, which should be interesting since I managed to get my Control4 system installed but I still have no furniture in my formal dining room. Card tables it is, people! I'm not too worried about the turkey and potatoes and I make a killer gravy. Baking, however, is not my thing. A somewhat touchy subject since my mom is famous for her homemade pumpkin pies. I have never ever been able to emulate her perfectly flaky, perfectly designed pie crusts no matter how many hands-on lessons she gave me. 
Luckily for me, my sister-in-law turned me onto a fantastic recipe for this combination pumpkin pie, cake deliciousness that has become a huge hit with the whole family. Even my husband, who won't touch regular pumpkin pie (even my mom's), will regularly indulge in second helpings. We call it "Pumpkin Crack" because it's so easy to get hooked. Although it's not much to look at, it's really easy to make, you can make it ahead of time and it feeds a bunch of people so it's great for big family gatherings and potlucks alike. Did I mention it's also delicious? The fact that the recipe calls for two sticks of butter and a whole bunch of sugar should attest to the fact that it's sinfully good – and definitely not for those who are counting calories!
I made two batches of Pumpkin Crack today – one for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws and one to share at the office. The kids and I had a great time mixing and baking together while listening to some holiday tunes on our Wireless Music Bridge. Just in case any of you need the secret recipe, I'm willing to share! And if you have any secrets for surviving the holidays, we'd love to hear them! 



1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup butter or margarine
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). 
  2. Grease or spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan. 
  3. Beat pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Pour into pan.
  5. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. I usually cut a little angle off one end of the bag and use that to shake it evenly.
  6. Sprinkle with pecans. It's easiest to buy the pecan "chips" - saves you cutting a bunch of pecans into small pieces.
  7. Melt the butter and pour it evenly over top. Cringe slightly at the sheer amount of butter you are putting on this dessert but don't worry too much…it'll be worth every calorie!
  8. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  9. Cool and serve with whipped cream. (PS this dessert is equally great warm, room temperature or a little chilled.)