Could a CBD Pumpkin Pie Recipe Bring a Calmer Thanksgiving?

A calmer Thanksgiving with a CBD pumpkin pie recipe

CBD pumpkin pie won’t get Thanksgiving guests high, but it could potentially chill them out. Image Credit: By Teri Virbickis on shutterstock

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, stress is on the menu as often as the turkey — and most of us can’t remember the last time it was as relaxing and enjoyable as we’d hoped it would be. Whether we’re overwhelmed by all the housecleaning, anxious about seeing a semi-estranged relative, or annoyed at the prospect of listening to Uncle Bob rant about wealth taxes, it’s easy to see how a day that’s supposed to be a celebration of gratitude and good vibes could instead fill a person with dread (and that’s not even getting into the fact that the whole holiday is built on a genocidal lie in the first place).

On the bright side, your Thanksgiving angst isn’t inevitable. Experts recommend decreasing holiday stress in a number of ways: For Martha Stewart, it’s loads of pre-planning and advanced preparation; Deepak Chopra suggests deep breathing and visualization exercises; Oprah’s magazine says you should focus on gratitude and your appreciation of others; and here at cannabisMD, might we suggest a CBD pumpkin pie? It may not work, but it sure won’t hurt, and, in either case, it’s an interesting conversation starter and worth an innocuous try.

But first, a brief history lesson.

How Pumpkin Pie Became a Thanksgiving Thing

It’s only recently that people have started adding CBD to this Thanksgiving staple, but pumpkin pie has been a part of our holiday celebrations for hundreds of years. Native to Central America, pumpkins first arrived in Europe in the mid-1500s. They quickly became a favorite among the English, who considered pumpkins an exotic delicacy and used them to bake pies for special occasions. When colonists began to descend on the New World in droves, they brought their newfound taste for pumpkin pie with them.

By the 18th century, this delicious dessert had a central role in Americans’ Thanksgiving celebrations, which were largely observed in New England. Pumpkin pie started to become a countrywide phenomenon after Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, but it wasn’t until 1929 (when a food company called Libby’s released the first canned pumpkin puree) that the tradition really went mainstream. No longer did you have to boil, peel, and mash whole pumpkins to make your pie. Today, just about anyone can whip up one up in a few hours — and if they’re feeling adventurous, they might add a dash of CBD.

Why Put CBD in Pumpkin Pie?

Like pumpkin pie in post-Civil War America, CBD has become a popular part of our national culture. Since it was (mostly) legalized in the United States in 2018, you can find CBD-infused products everywhere from pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to high-end beauty stores like Sephora (and many gas stations, supermarkets, and vape shops in between).

But unlike pumpkin pie, CBD’s popularity has less to do with its taste and more to do with its potential health benefits. Americans are using CBD for a wide variety of reasons, from relieving pain and insomnia to reducing anxiety and acne breakouts. Since it doesn’t get you high or cause unpleasant side effects, it’s easy to see why CBD has gained such a following among those of us looking to take the edge off daily life.

CBD edibles have become one of the most common ways to do so. And while you can certainly run down to your local health food store or dispensary for a bag of gummies, cooking with CBD has become a popular pastime for many people. Pumpkin pie is a particularly good option for some infused baking, since its strong flavors and fragrant aromas help mask the taste of CBD (which is somewhat “earthy” on its own).

Before we offer our own take on this autumnal treat, it’s worth mentioning that edibles aren’t always the fastest — or most effective — way to take CBD. A 2018 study found that your body only absorbs around 20-30 percent of orally-ingested CBD, since it must be processed by your digestive system first, and it can take two or three hours to feel the effects. However, one way to improve the effectiveness of your CBD edibles is to consume it with high-fat foods, which is why you’ll notice we skip the evaporated milk in the recipe below and opt for heavy cream instead.

CBD Pumpkin Pie With CBD-Infused Whipped Cream

The easiest way to add CBD to your pumpkin pie is with a tincture — a small vial of oil that comes with a dropper for easy dosing. CBD tinctures come in hundreds of varieties, as you’ll find from a quick internet search. If you’re really in the seasonal mood, you might be interested in trying the just-released pumpkin spice CBD oils that are now making headlines, but a regular old non-flavored one should still work just fine.

Another thing to keep in mind: although you’re not going to get your guests high with this infused pie, you should still give them a heads-up that it contains CBD before they dig in. Some drug tests are unable to distinguish between CBD and THC (the intoxicating compound in cannabis), which could potentially land your guests in hot water, especially if they work for a government agency or any job where they are regularly drug-tested.

You’ll need around two hours for this recipe, which serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ cup ice water

CBD-Infused Pie Filling

  • 15 oz canned pumpkin pie puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 to 10 doses CBD oil (one dose equals about one full dropper of oil)

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Baking Instructions

Make the Crust

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry fork, cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until they form a crumbly mixture. The goal is for the pieces to be pea-sized, although there will probably be a variation in size and that’s OK. Work quickly while your butter is still cold to get the best results.
  2. Add ice water to the mixture, no more than one tablespoon at a time. Combine the water with the butter and flour mixture before adding a second tablespoon of water. You might not need all the water this recipe calls for — stop adding it once the crust begins to clump together.
  3. Move your newly formed dough to a floured surface and shape the dough into a disk or ball before covering it in plastic wrap. Pop it in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge once it’s ready and return it to your floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle shape until it measures 12 inches across. Move to a 9-inch pie pan, removing any excess dough as needed. (Pro tip: use your rolling pin to make the move by rolling the dough onto the pin so it drapes over the top, then slowly unroll it into the pie pan.)
  5. Cover the dough in foil or parchment paper so it doesn’t burn. Weigh it down with dried beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and the lining and poke the dough a few times with a fork. Return to the oven for five more minutes if needed, then set aside to cool.

Add the Filling

  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees
  2. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In a separate, larger bowl, combine your heavy cream and doses of CBD before whisking in the eggs. Mix in the pumpkin puree and then the dry ingredients until well incorporated.
  3. Pour the pie filling into your cooled crust. Line the outside of the crust with foil or parchment paper to avoid burning (or use a nifty pie crust shield, if you have one). Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the filling has set but still has a little jiggle in the center.

Whip Up the Whipped Cream, and Serve

Congratulations, you’re almost done!

Combine all the ingredients for the whipped cream — i.e. the heavy whipping cream and sugar — in a large bowl with tall sides. Using a handheld mixer, whip it (whip it good) until peaks begin to form in the whipped cream.

Then slice your pie, serve it with whipped cream, and enjoy a new, potentially more chill version of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Mary Sauer
Mary Sauer
Mary Sauer is a Kansas City-based writer with work appearing in Parade, Vice’s Tonic, and Remedy Review. She writes about mental health, cannabis, and parenting.

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