For dessert, naturally, I made pumpkin pie. Well, pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie cups.
I used the most traditional, all-American recipe for pumpkin pie that I could find, the one from traditional, all-American Betty Crocker. It is smooth and custardy, with a mild pumpkin flavor enhanced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
I baked it in my favorite flaky homemade crust. You could always use a refrigerated or frozen crust, I suppose, but it’s Thanksgiving. Do it up right. There is no premade crust that tastes as good as homemade.
For my lower-calorie version, I again turned to Betty Crocker and used the filling for her Skinny Pumpkin Pie. This recipe uses egg whites instead of whole eggs and fat-free evaporated milk instead of whole-fat. A half-teaspoon of vanilla extract is all it takes to replace the rich feel of the standard filling.
Interestingly, it uses pumpkin pie spice instead of the mixture of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. I don’t know why, but I used it and, frankly, the pumpkin-pie flavor was even more pronounced in this more healthful version.
I didn’t want the calories and fat of a pie crust, so I first thought of putting the filling on top of a crisp meringue. I ran the numbers, and the result was much better for you in every category — except sugar. Meringue uses a lot of sugar, and you can’t skimp on it or the structure will collapse.