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You’ll Love This Pumpkin Pie Crunch Recipe!

Nikki Pals

The sweet treats baked by JourneyCare volunteer Nikki Pals have long brought comfort to patients and their families – and to Nikki herself.

She began volunteering five years ago at the Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter in Barrington when her husband, Rich, was a hospice patient at their home. He was unable to speak, so volunteering gave Nikki an outlet to connect in conversation with others.

After Rich died in October 2016, Nikki continued to volunteer on Thursdays. But now her help was needed in the kitchen, and she quickly discovered that baking proved therapeutic after the loss of her husband. Soon, her cookies, pastries and other goodies became a weekly treat anticipated by JourneyCare patients, families and team members alike.

As the holidays approach, Nikki says she is reminded of how she and Rich differed in their opinions on pumpkin pie: he loved it, but the pie in its traditional form was not her favorite. So, one of Rich’s favorite recipes was a twist on pumpkin pie that Nikki created so the couple could enjoy together: pumpkin pie crunch.

For your celebrations this year, Nikki has shared this special recipe that puts her creative spin on an old favorite. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Recipe

Pumpkin pie crunch recipe photo


Serves 4

• One 14 ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
• 2 eggs
• 1 ½ cups evaporated milk
• 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 box of dry spice cake mix.
• 1 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
• 1 cup butter, melted


1. Pre heat oven to 350
2. 13X9 pan, lightly spray with nonstick spray. (a casserole dish of the same size works as well)
3. In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, spice and salt.
4. Whisk together until completely mixed.
5. Pour into pan.
6. Sprinkle dry cake mix on top.
7. (optional) Scatter nuts over the top of the cake mix.
8. Drizzle butter over the dry mixture, moistening as much as possible.
9. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until top is set and golden.
10. Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving.