There are a couple things that I require for Thanksgiving dinner. Well, more than a few things, really; it turns out I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to this one particular meal. Who would have guessed? Turkey, stuffing (preferably bread-based, noncornbread, with mushrooms, no meat), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce (ahem, canned please; no judging!), brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie are all required. Anything else is just gilding the lily, as far as I’m concerned (though this year there’ll be kale gratin and an almond cranberry cake! om nom nom. Sometimes gilding is beautiful).
Thing is, for me, the pie isn’t so important for Thanksgiving dinner itself; it really comes into play Friday morning, when it’s the best breakfast in the world, cold from the fridge, with slightly slumping whipped cream and coffee, devoured curled on the couch in slippers and PJs. It’s far bigger part of my holiday weekend than that one, overhyped, overstuffed meal; it’s the way I usher in the Holidays.
If I really think about it, I’m not actually a big fan of pie crust, which is odd, since all the other flour and butter pastries (scones! biscuits! shortbread!) are my absolute FAVORITES. Despite that, when it comes to pies, I’m more of a scrape-the-filling-out girl—and I’m finding that I’m not the only one. So, if you’re dealing with a bunch of non–pie eaters or, non–crust lovers, may I suggest these little bites of glory?
These strudel are perfect for a holiday gathering. They’re a fun twist on pumpkin pie and the addition of cream cheese makes them appealing to the cheesecake lovers too. Filo is light, buttery, and crisp and houses the creamy, spiced filling beautifully. Easy to grab, perfect for potlucks. Although these won’t fly on my thanksgiving table (I just. need. the. pie.), they may be just perfect for yours; I’m sure you’re much more adventurous than yours truly.
Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Strudel
From Michael Symon, makes 12.
Michael shaped his strudel into more traditional cigar shapes. I wanted mine smaller and bite-able, so I made them into triangles. I’ve described the cigars here, but scroll down past the recipe for directions about how to make the triangles.
One 15 oz can pumpkin
8 cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground nutmeg
12 sheets frozen filo dough (18- by 14-inch rectangles), thawed
2/3 c butter, melted
1 c chopped pecans, toasted
3 T turbinado sugar, or other coarse sugar
2 T honey, for serving
Whipped cream, for serving, optional
- Heat the oven to 400°F
- In a medium bowl, cream the pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg until smooth
- Stack two sheets of the filo on top of one another and brush the top sheet with some of the butter (Keep the remaining filo dough covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle)
- Cut the layered sheets of filo lengthwise to create 2 long strips
- Dollop a heaping tablespoon of the filling about 2 inches from the end of the filo strip
- Fold the bottom edge of the filo up and over the filling. Fold in the sides and roll up to encase the filling [If you want to make triangles, see below]
- Place the rolled filo on a baking sheet, seam-side-down and brush the top of the filo with some of the melted butter
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients
- Sprinkle the rolls with turbinado sugar
- Bake until the filo is golden brown, ~15 minutes
- Serve warm drizzled with the honey and topped with whipped cream and pecans
To make triangles instead: