Today we pay homage to our friends over in the United States as they celebrate Thanksgiving, a National holiday that falls on the 3rd Thursday of November each year. Unfortunately we don’t get to take a day off, eat turkey, stuffing and lovely cranberry sauce all day, or join in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade live from New York City, or the America’s Thanksgiving Parade from Detroit, Michigan. However just because we’re not in America it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy certain perks to their holiday celebrations.
If you’ve turned on the TV, then you’ve probably heard of Thanksgiving. However it was only recently I really took the time to explore why it was celebrated, and the origins of the Holiday. Although it has only been an annual tradition since 1863, the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated in 1621 following the Pilgrims first harvest in the New World. The feast lasted 3 days and was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.
American Football also plays a big part in the Thanksgiving tradition, with the Detroit Lions hosting a game on Thanksgiving every year since 1934. In 1966 the Dallas Cowboys started to host a game on Thanksgiving as well. This year there will be three games, with the Green Bay Packers travelling to Detroit, the Oakland Raiders travelling to Dallas and the Pittsburgh Steelers travelling to Baltimore to face the Ravens.
So pop those “soccer” balls in the cupboard, head down to the park to play a little “football” and we strongly encourage you to recreate this famous episode from “Friends”.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
1 piece pre-made pie dough
Whipped cream, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.