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Cooking with Colby: Pumpkin Crisp

Pumpkin Crisp (Zucca Croccante) offers a tasty alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. – © Colby Lillington

Welcome back! Although Thanksgiving has passed, it is still the fall season and what goes better with that than pumpkin pie?

When we think of Thanksgiving, often times the first things that pops into our minds are turkey, family, and pumpkin pie. I strive to put a unique touch on traditional favourites, so this month I have a different spin on a classic dessert you might to try. This is a Pumpkin Crisp (Zucca Croccante), which spices things up a bit as opposed to a traditional pumpkin pie.

When it comes to the pumpkin pureé, you can used a canned filling, but for the best results you’ll want to roast your own pumpkins. All you’ll need is 6 mini pumpkins and a pinch of salt.

Pumpkin pureé:

Start by cutting the pumpkins in half. Be careful with that knife because the skins are very tough! Scrape out the seeds and put a pinch of salt in each half. Lay the pumpkin halves skin side down on a parchment-lined pan and bake on 400 for approximately one hour or until the filling is very tender. Let cool until you can handle them, and then with a spoon, scrape out the filling. Place the filling in a food processor and pureé until smooth, then refrigerate. There you have it – your own pumpkin pureé!


3 eggs

1 cup sugar

15 oz pumpkin purée

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp kosher salt

Crumb topping:

1 ½ cup flour

1 ½ cup brown sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

¾ cup butter

Ice cream or whipped cream for garnish

Colby Lillington is the Chef and owner of Lillington’s Mobile Catering based in Bay of Islands. He studied at the College of the North Atlantic and hails from the Southwest Coast. You can reach him via email at:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Whisk eggs and sugar until they are completely blended. Add the pureé, cream, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Whisk mixture until smooth and blended.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then add butter. Mix by hand to incorporate the butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add a small amount of the crumb mixture to bottom of greased pan and pat together. Then pour pureé mix into the dish and sprinkle the rest of the crumbs over the top evenly.

Bake until set and golden brown, approximately 45-50 minutes. Serve topped with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

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