Editor's note: The Nov. 15 Amish Cook column did not include the complete recipe for Gloria's pumpkin pie squares. The correct version is included at the end of this column.
Thanksgiving is rolling around, and Christmas is around the bend.
Plans are in the making. This year, the children are all excited to spend Christmas with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents in Ohio. If we all gather at Grandpa's large farmhouse, we fill it to the brim. Cooking for Daniel's family of 30 folks is no small task. I told my mother-in-law that we’ll all be pitching in and bringing prepared dishes to lighten their load.
For us, Christmas meals and Thanksgiving feasts are a lot alike. With mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, stuffing (at least when my grandma planned it), a veggie, salad, sometimes a fruit salad, and pies or another sweet treat. Mmm, I can’t wait. This year, I’d like to make cheesecakes for the holidays. We’ll see. My brainstorms are not always compatible with a mother’s schedules! My mom keeps encouraging that this stage will soon have vanished.
Thanksgiving plans aren’t all mapped out yet. Usually, we gather with family or friends and spend the day together. When I was a young girl, I used to always look forward to playing all sorts of board games in the afternoon. It doesn’t seem that long ago, yet in many aspects, I’ve come away from what used to be life back then.
Thinking back, I specifically remember one uncle who would spend time playing with us cousins. Now I realize that, surely, that must have taken sacrifice on his part to leave the circle of adults to play with us children. Thinking over it, I’m motivated to do more of the same.
Oh, that brings me to a thought shared by a dear sister-in-law, and it’s been a motto around the house ever since: “The more it’s not about you, the more you will love what you do.” It’s profound and it’s so true! The more serious I get about making the perfect plans and having the best holidays, the more my happiness is in jeopardy when things cross my path. Then, if my goal is set on bringing joy to others and adding worth to their lives, by valuing them as individuals, things just fall into place so much better.
Two and a half weeks before Thanksgiving, Grandpa set a goal for the children. He offered a prize to anyone who can recite the first 12 verses in Matthew 5 until Thanksgiving Day. We’ve been chanting verses on all sides. Hosanna, Jesse and Elijah, ages 3, 4 and 5, are giving it a lick as well. The greater challenge for them is having Dutch as their primary language and not understanding all of what they’re memorizing. So besides learning the verses, we’ve also been speaking more English around the house to, hopefully, aid in the process. We’ll see how it all comes together.
You will want to be sure to try these ultimate pumpkin rolls for your Thanksgiving table. The first time Daniel had them, he was completely impressed. Now, as a rule, we don’t eat sugar at our house, but this proved to be an exception. They are loaded with flavor and completely moist — perfect for any occasion.
These pumpkin rolls are made each week at my uncle's store, where they sell like crazy these autumn days.
4 eggs, separated
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 scant cup pumpkin
1 ¼ teaspoons lemon juice
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup flour
Beat egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; set aside. Mix up remaining ingredients, then fold in egg whites. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and liberally grease with butter or non-stick spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until done.
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Whip all together and spread evenly on cooled cake. Roll carefully, starting at narrow side of cake. Chill, cut in 1-inch slices. Serve and enjoy!
Pumpkin Pie Squares
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup white sugar
One 15-ounce can pumpkin
One 12-fluid ounce can evaporated milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Mix together butter and brown sugar, then mix in flour and oats to make an oatmeal crumble crust. Press crust inside a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling ingredients. In a large bowl, beat eggs and mix in white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk (I use our own fresh milk). Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
When crust is finished baking, pour filling over hot crust. Now, mix crumb ingredients and sprinkle over filling.
Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes until set. Let cool before cutting into squares. If desired, serve with a dab of whipped topping on each piece.