Betty's Pumpkin Love

Betty's Pumpkin Love

Betty’s Pumpkin Love

I have to hand it to Betty’s, even the name sounds delicious. Who wouldn’t want to eat something called pumpkin love on a cold fall day? It promises a cozy hug in pumpkin form and actually, it delivers. This dessert is one of my husband’s favorites (which, given his sweet tooth is a bit of a long list, but it’s definitely up there in the top 10.) and it’s inspired by a dessert called “pumpkin love” (ie pumpkin custard with a streusel topping) served at a local hip restaurant called Betty’s. Now Betty’s with its hipster Short North vibe definitely falls into the “pre-child” dining establishment category although, truth be told, even in those days we didn’t make it there too often. The price was always a bit high and the food a bit average (yes, I have become old, picky and crotchety. Sue me). Still I enjoyed them once a year or so and my husband was never too opposed because his reward was this fab dessert which they had a lock on.

Up until now of course. The other night I had a jar of pumpkin puree defrosted and was debating between pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie and put it to a vote. The pie won (you’re shocked, I know) but I didn’t have quite enough butter defrosted to make a pie crust. My husband suggested just making the custard filling (because that’s his fav) and I decided to make short bread cookies on the side as a sort of crust side dish. (my plan was to serve a dollop of pumpkin custard with a cookie stuck into it and some whipped cream). Well I goofed and didn’t leave the cookies long enough to bake and cool (I also used slightly too much butter) so what I ended up serving was pumpkin custard with a soft shortbread cookie topping. One bite and my husband pronounced pumpkin love officially cracked and alas my last reason for going to Betty’s vanishes in the mist.

Below is the intentional version of the recipe where the cookie and the custard are combined as at Betty’s. Note: this one needs to be served warm otherwise the cookie topping hardens into crunchy cookie balls (What, you thought they microwaved it before it got to your table to make it seem extra upscale? Wrong) You can zap it in the microwave or put it in a warm oven to accomplish this if you’re not serving it right away or serving it again. Serve with equal portions of trashy whipped cream. Charge your family $4.50 per serving so they think they got a deal. Personally, I think it’s going to take the place of pumpkin pie on this year’s Thanksgiving table.

Serves: 4

Reheats: Yes

Freezes: I’ve never tried, probably

Kid Friendly Tasks: Streusel spreaders


For the Custard

  • 2 c Canned Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 c Milk
  •  1 c Cream (or Fat Free Evaporated Milk if you’re suddenly on a health kick)
  •  ½ c Brown Sugar (dark or light)
  •  ½ c White Sugar
  •  1.5 tsp Cinnamon
  •  ¼ tsp Salt
  •  ½ tsp Nutmeg
  •  ½ tsp Ground Ginger
  •  ½ tsp Cloves
  •  2 Tbsp Flour
  •  2 Eggs lightly beaten

For the Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 c Flour
  • 5 tbsp Butter
  • 1/3 c Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 pinch Salt if using unsalted butter


  1. Preheat your oven to 450.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar and white sugar, salt and spices. Mix together. Then add the pumpkin, milk, cream, and eggs.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 450. Turn down the heat to 350 and bake 1 hour. Top with streusel topping (see below) and bake at 325 for another 25 minutes. Check that the center of the custard is set and enjoy warm with whipped cream.

Streusel Topping


  1. Cream butter with sugar until smooth and pale. Add in flour, cornstarch and salt and mix well. It should form coarse crumbs at this point. The crumbs will go on the pumpkin love.

Note: If you add slightly more flour (say 2 tbsp) and a little bit of water you can turn these into tasty shortbread cookies. Bake them for about 20 mins

Betty's Pumpkin Love

Betty’s Pumpkin Love


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