Perhaps the most ubiquitous reason to take a turn on the blender diet is having one’s wisdom teeth removed. I unwittingly took a trial run myself, getting all four wisdom teeth out about a year before I broke my jaw. Luke from Tuna Cupcake went through it himself last fall and managed to make it fun — beyond the requisite painkillers — by testing out this awesome milkshake and then generously sharing the results with JWS:
When I was little, our neighbour grew these prize-winning pumpkins. They were MASSIVE. And every year, the vines would grow under the fence and a good number of pumpkins would grow in our yard. And by ‘a good number’, I’m talking like 20-30. Needless to say, we had a problem with hooligans smashing pumpkins in our neighbourhood. We also had an absurd number of Jack-O-Lanterns, which led to an absurd number of smash Jack-O-Lanterns in our driveway.
That said, it also meant that we had easy access to pumpkin for eating. My mom makes delicious pumpkin pie that starts with a real pumpkin and not some crap from a can. And oh, the difference it makes. I definitely have a heart-on for all things pumpkin.
A few months back, I posted that I’d had my wisdom teeth out and was trying to find interesting things to eat, Connor from Hold the Beef recommended a pumpkin pie shake. I got the recommendation at about 8:30am and was at the grocery store 10 minutes later, buying up all the ingredients. Not only until I got home and got to talking Emily did it hit me that an actual pumpkin pie is pretty blendable (and in my case, soft enough to eat as-is, but I was pretty paranoid for the first couple of days). So we decided to try a delicious experiment: concocted shake vs. blended pie.
Note: Months and months passed (and I healed fully from my wisdom teeth ordeal) before I actually got around to finishing this post. So rather than relying on faded memories, I invited my friend Pam over for a Saturday night of milkshakes.
Pumpkin Pie Shake
Connor pointed to a recipe on another Toronto food blog, Closet Cooking. I knew I needed it before I even saw the recipe, but once I saw the picture and the comments, well, that cemented the deal.
As far as smoothies/shakes go, this one is fairly complicated. You’re mixing all the flavours of the pie, which gives you total control over the final product, but honestly, it’s a bit of work for a milkshake. Especially since I had to grind cloves.
Closet Cooking’s Recipe (Source)
- 2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk (I needed more, to make it drinkable without a straw)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon gingersnap cookies (crumbled for the topping, I didn’t use these)
Blend it all together and you get: a delicious shake that tastes like the idea of pumpkin pie in milkshake form. Delicious, subtle flavours. Downside: you can definitely tell that there was no crust involved. You may get some semblance of that if you mix the gingersnap cookies in, but the recipe calls for them solely as a garnish.
Blended Pumpkin Pie
This is definitely the simpler option. My process: Throw some milk, frozen yogurt, and pumpkin pie into a blend and GO. From 10 ingredients down to three.
This is how I like to cook.
From the first sip, you can definitely tell this is an actual pumpkin pie in milkshake form. To my mind, that’s a great thing. Some part of me just loves knowing that I’m drinking pie crust. The… grit (is that the word?) it adds might not be for everyone, but it brings a smile to my face.
The downside: your shake is really going to vary based on the pie you used. If you’re using your mom’s homemade pie, you’ll likely love the shake. The first pie I made with it was pretty mildly spiced, and the shake was delicious. When Pam and I did our taste test, we found the spice a bit overpowering. In later attempts, it was hard to mask the spice of the Sara Lee pie without diluting the pumpkin-ey-ness more than I wanted.
The End Result
Based on the taste test Pam & I did in February, the Pumpkin Pie Shake from Closet Cooking came out the clear winner. If you’re trying to impress someone with your pumpkin-pie-shake-making skills, it’s definitely the way to go. Having control over the spices means you can make it a bit more delicate than the blended pie option, and you can prepare a consistent shake every time. You really do get the idea of pumpkin pie in milkshake form, versus a blended pumpkin pie and everything that entails. The one issue: 1.3 of a cup of pumpkin puree leaves the majority of a can left for some other purpose… I ended up throwing mine out.
Thinking back to my days on a soft food diet, though, I ate a whole lot more of the blended pumpkin pie shakes (an entire pie’s worth, in fact). They were just so easy, what with three ingredients (four if you’re adding protein powder—I did and enjoyed it). And there’s something satisfying about throwing some pie in the blender and drinking it down. If you’ve got access to a delicious pumpkin pie but can’t down it in its soft-but-solid form, give it a shot! But as with anything, the quality of your ingredient dictates your results.
Future experiments: Check out the list on Closet Cooking’s recipe - I’m pretty excited to try out some more pumpkin pie-flavoured goods and use up this can of pumpkin puree!