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Dorothy Dean Presents: Pumpkin Delight is a refreshing alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie

Pumpkin is an essential part of fall. Once those leaves start to turn, pumpkin spice everything quickly takes over. From lattes and bagels and beer to bubblegum, there’s no hiding from it.

This dessert though, while full of pumpkin flavor, is not one to avoid. It’s the perfect combination of textures, along with a melody of flavor that, I’m telling you, you won’t be able to get enough of.

Pumpkin Delight is a layered dessert that starts with a buttery pecan crust. It’s thick and crumbly and pairs perfectly with its creamy counterparts. Next is a sweet cream cheese layer that is then topped with the star of the show, an airy bed of spiced pumpkin pudding. We could stop there, and it’d still be delicious. But nope, we continue on by slathering it with whipped topping and finishing it off with a sprinkle of pecans.

Since this dessert is served cool, it can easily be made a day or two ahead of time. I recommend doing so as it gives time for it to set and allows the pumpkin and spices to meld together.

Pumpkin Delight is a refreshing alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. Add this to your Thanksgiving dessert line-up, and it’ll be sure to take the lead.

Pumpkin Delight

1 cup flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped, divided

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

8 ounces whipped topping, divided

3 (3.4-ounce) boxes white chocolate instant pudding (or vanilla)

2 cups milk

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, butter and 1 cup pecans together. Prepare a 9-by-9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray, and press flour mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges just start to brown. Cool in fridge while making next layer.

Make the cream cheese layer: Cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar, scraping sides of bowl to ensure complete mixing. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Fold in 1 cup of whipped topping with spatula. Spread evenly and smooth over cooled crust.

Make the pudding layer: Add pudding mixes to medium bowl. Quickly whip in milk until pudding is completely dissolved. Stir in canned pumpkin and pumpkin spice. Pour immediately over cream cheese layer and evenly spread. Place in refrigerator to firm for 30 minutes.

Make the topping: Once pudding is set, slather remaining whipped topping evenly over top and sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate to set a few hours before serving.

Note: My baking dish is shallow, so I find I have about 1 cup too much of the pumpkin pudding. (Oh boo, I guess I’ll have to eat it.) I usually use it as a dip with graham crackers. Depending on your baking dish, you may or may not have this “problem.” So when adding the pumpkin layer, reserve one cup to be sure you have room for it.