Last week, I was talking about Pumpkin Custard No. 1 with April, whom I met at an American Marketing Association event. She sounded kind of interested in the dessert. “Could I add pecans?,” she asked. I didn’t delve beyond the feeling that pecans, pumpkin and Thanksgiving just all go together for her. Makes sense.

I said, “Definitely! I’d toast some pecans, maybe candy them, and chop them not too fine. Then you serve the pumpkin custard with whipped cream on top, and sprinkle a healthy handful of pecans on as well…” and I realized that right there we were coming up with something that would feel and taste different from just plain Pumpkin Custard No. 1. Just enough of a twist — on the recipe or on how you serve something — and you’ve made a dessert yours.

April, if that sounded good to you, here are two options for creating your glazed or candied pecans:

  • Viviane Bauquet Farre has maple-glazed pecans on the salad in her vegetarian Thanksgiving. (You have to scroll down a bit, but who’s complaining with this menu of hers??)
  • Suzie the Foodie has the most gloriously photographed candied pecans on her page. (If you’re upping this recipe, you don’t need to increase sugar and water in the same proportion. I made this with 1/2 cup pecans, 4 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water, following Suzie’s cooking instructions.)

And from all of you, I want to hear this: How are you making what’s probably a pretty traditional set of desserts reflect you and your family at Thanksgiving? What do you do to make your mark on dessert?

Me, I’m going to make Grammy’s Pumpkin Pie with a cream-cheese crust. Too rich? Maybe. I’ll let you know!