Hauntingly Good Memories

Andy Mueller

andy mueller | in the kitchen with chef andy | oct. 2018

To many children, Halloween places second only to Christmas when it comes to anticipation. Presents come in little wrappers instead of big packages and rarely does any child have to endure opening a wrapper with socks in it like they do at Christmas. The costumes, the carved jack-o-lanterns, the tricks and most importantly — the treats!

I remember trick or treating as one of the absolute best times of the year. We didn't spend money, at least like you can now, on costumes. Ten minutes in our parent's attic, five more in mom's make up bag and we had costumes. We were MacGyver before MacGyver was, well, MacGyver. Two sticks, a piece of charcoal, some hairspray, dad's letter sweater and we had a prepster-zombie walking the streets of Allouez. Of course mom's still not thrilled with three holes in her 400 count Egyptian cotton sheets but we had fun. And dad, if you're reading this, you know that college letter sweater didn't fit even six months out of school anyway; you need to let it go.

I know it's a stretch to call Halloween a culinary type of holiday, but as a kid, candy was everything. Who could win the "haul for it all" bragging rights as to who scored the biggest plastic pumpkin full of sweets, and more importantly, what was in the bucket? Candy, up until the age of 13, is currency. After a few years making the rounds, I knew where the health nut lived, as bowls of apples and oranges greeted me at the door. I knocked there one year and one year only. I also knew where the Mother Lode was. The couple that understood the magnitude of this day. The couple that had the longest lines all night long. Every year it was different, but at the same time, awesome. One year it would be the foot long Charleston, another year they throw down 100 Thousand Dollar bars, and I'm talking regulation size — not the bite-size bits every other house had. These beauties were the Boardwalk and Park Place type of assets that the unknowing would covet. They became trade bait for lawn mowing, snow shoveling and babysitting gigs for months to come.

"Sure you can have my Clark Bar, but the dishes need to be done … all month."

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but it was sure fun trying. Thank goodness we got a little older, a little wiser, and in my case, a little sister.

Sorry, Jodi, I should have told you Mounds has coconut.

As a parent, on the other side of the chocolate coin, I lean toward the healthy snacks to hand out to the little goblins. It works for different reasons. First, you can feel good about handing the kids a sugar-free/fat-free goodie, or a granola bar because it's healthier than most treats. But the best part is once they find out what you're handing them, you can catch up on some much-needed rest because your doorbell won't ring all night! Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Pie (the adult version)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Beat one egg and brush the crust lightly to coat. Bake the crust for 7-10 minutes or just until it turns slightly brown. This process ensures the crust will not get soggy. The egg wash creates a seal to prevent liquids from penetrating the crust. Set the crust aside and prepare the filling:

In a mixing bowl add:

2-3 large eggs (2 eggs for firmer, 3 eggs for more of a custard consistency)

Whisk the eggs then add:

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup Bailey's Irish cream

2 cups canned or cooked fresh pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons softened cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

small pinch salt (it explodes the flavors)

Whisk the ingredients together until smooth, carefully pour into the par-baked pie crust, place on a baking sheet, place in the center of the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center rises up and just jiggles slightly when nudged. Cool on a wire rack at room temperature for two hours. Chill for one hour or more. Serve with fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

More from Category

Stay up-to-date

Sign up for a monthly digest of everything new in GB.