Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts

Pecan Pumpkin Crunch

3 Comments 31 October 2012

It’s time to start getting serious. Thanksgiving’s on the horizon. Do you know what you’re serving?

Oh, good – neither do I! Well, except for the turkey. There’s that. There may also be ham. Piggies we are.

I’ve mentioned before how we don’t quite have all our Thanksgiving traditions set in stone yet, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with new recipes again this year. Or maybe it’s because I can barely remember what I made to go along with hubby’s awesome smoked turkey last year. Hmmm. Well, whatever the excuse, it’s fun to contemplate and look forward to The Feast.

Pecan Pumpkin Crunch 15

The most exciting thing for me personally about this recipe was getting to use some of the homemade pumpkin purée I’d made earlier in October. The good news is….it makes for great pumpkin desserts!

And I spy a delicious little liquor additive over on the right. Bourbon, my friends. It’s optional, but since I’ve never allowed “optional” to come before (insert liquor type) in my recipes, we chucked it in. In all honesty, I’m not sure I’d have noticed if we’d left it out of the pumpkin part itself. It is noticeable in the whipped cream, though. Not strong, just a slight flavor increase. Do note that if serving this to kids. It’s not nearly enough to be a concern, but they may not like the taste.

Pecan Pumpkin Crunch 14

This is a pretty easy recipe. You just dump in most of the ingredients at this point to make the filling and give it a firm stir.

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The streusel – this is really important, kids. You need to double it from what the original recipe suggests. We’ll explain why in a sec, and know that we’ve made those adjustments below.

The most important reason, though, is because it’s streusel. It is a glorious invention. All hail the streusel!

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This was the first time we’d tried this recipe, and when we went to put the streusel on the pumpkin filling, I was like, “Hold up a dad blamed minute. This stuff will sink right into this very liquidy filling.” And I was really bothered, cuz streusel should be atop a dessert, not sunk amidst the other goodies completely. So while it baked, we whipped up more streusel, which the butter was way to soft for that time and it was a squishy mess and I was upset and I put it in the freezer and – YAY – at about 25 minutes left on the dessert bake time, we took it out of the oven and put the 2nd streusel on top and IT WAS GOOD. True story. Amen. That’s how we saved this dessert’s butt.


Once again, we’ve noted in this version of the ingredients and directions below the changes we made.

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Now that’s what a streusel-topped dessert should look like. With, you know, the bliss-inducing streusel on top. High five.

One review for this over at Food Network had suggested doubling the streusel anyway since this didn’t have a crust like pumpkin pie does.

I love that kind of logic.

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Oh, look out now! Little whipped cream thieves be amongst us.

If you’re looking for a scrumptious pumpkin dessert that’s a little off the beaten path but close enough to bring on the same sensations and satisfaction that the traditional pie does, this is a darn good start. Now, get to Thanksgiving planning! Game on.

Pecan Pumpkin Crunch

Adapted from from Pecan Pumpkin Crunch by Aida Mollenkamp via Food Network

Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 1 hour plus 2 for cooling    Level: Easy    Serves: 6-8

For the Pecan Pumpkin Crunch:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Ice cream, optional

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

To make the pumpkin portion:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle. Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the pumpkin, cream, eggs, sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, bourbon, if using, ginger, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk until evenly combined (if you feel it still needs a bit more pumpkin flavor, try the 1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice to kick it up) and pour into the prepared baking dish.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add to a medium bowl. Stir in the pecans, flour, and the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix until it holds together somewhat but still crumbles (You may have to do this by hand to get it all incorporated but not melted. You want clumps). Scatter half of the topping over the pumpkin mixture (it will sink into the pumpkin filling) and bake for forty minutes. Take the dessert from the oven and crumble the rest of the topping over the top and bake 20 more minutes or until the edges are puffed and the filling is set in the center. Remove to a rack to cool to room temperature. Serve with the Bourbon Whipped Cream and/or ice cream.

To make the whipped cream:

Add the heavy cream to a medium bowl. Beat the cream with a hand-held mixer until thick and frothy. Add the sugar and bourbon and beat until medium peaks form.


We decided to note the pumpkin pie spice as optional because some just may not want that extra kick to theirs. Next time I’m definitely going for the full 2 teaspoons. I might even up the brown sugar to half a cup in the pumpkin mixture. I’m not ashamed to say it could have been a little sweeter to satisfy my taste buds, but as-is, it’s a good one for those not wanting something too sweet.

If your streusel turns into a mushy mess instead of nice clumps, the butter’s probably way too soft. Place it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until it’s firmed up. Break it up into small clumps again using a fork or butter knife.

This has a texture between a brulee-type custard and a pumpkin pie. Once refrigerated – where I kept my leftovers – it will firm up more like the pumpkin pie, though. I haven’t tried reheating it in the microwave yet, but if you do so, just try 20-30 seconds at first. You don’t want the topping to actually melt and become less firm in texture. Or, I don’t anyway.

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- who has written 347 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and Day Job Do-er, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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Your Comments

3 Comments so far

  1. This cake look fabulous! I’m definitely with you on the doubling of streusel, and the booze is never optional in my books:)

  2. KMont says:

    Yay, so glad you agree about the streusel! Sometimes I wonder if we go overboard on that kind of thing. But I only wonder it for a little while lol. Had a piece of this last night again and the streusel was still yum. 😉

    And YAY again for non-optional booze. 😀


  1. Friday Fall Food Favorites | The Sweet Mash - May 24, 2014

    […] Pecan Pumpkin Crunch Cake: Double the streusel, people! Be honest with yourself: the streusel part is your favorite part. […]

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