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Serving it Up — Shaking up tradition

Cheryl White Gibson, of Farmville, does not consider herself to be a great baker of pies, but by her own account, she did learn from someone who is — her mother, who is 82 and still going strong.

“She is a premier pie baker,” Gibson said. “I am not. She makes the most marvelous pies.”

Gibson was paying close attention, though, and has clearly picked up some of her mother’s expertise.

“I started early, baking and cooking at home and also was in 4-H for a long, long, long time when we did all of the baking and cooking and going to the fairs and everything with our cornbread and cookies and all sorts of fun things,” Gibson said.

She noted she has baked fairly consistently throughout her life.

“There are periods of time where fast food becomes much easier and things, but I’ve always baked,” she said. “But I am doing more cooking now, I think, trying to eat healthier. And I’ve forayed into HelloFresh and done that for a period of time and really enjoyed that.”

HelloFresh is a meal-kit company.

“It’s one of those subscriptions where you can get three or four meals, and they send you all the ingredients and the recipe, and you can make it in your own kitchen,” Gibson said.

When creating in the kitchen over the years, she has gravitated toward making breakfast dishes.

“Pancakes are a family favorite and waffles — and making them from scratch, not from a box,” she said.

“And then probably for meal times, I have a really good cheesy meatloaf recipe that my family loves; lasagna; goulash is one of our family favorites.”

When it comes to the Thanksgiving meal, she said that the presence of pumpkin pie on the menu is dependent on the size of the family gathering. The bigger the crowd, the more likely pumpkin pie will be a dessert option.

Gibson, who has lived in Farmville for 10 years, has been traveling the last few years for Thanksgiving and helping out with the food where needed.

“My husband passed away in November of ’18, and so I usually go and visit some of our family friends over Thanksgiving because that was something that we liked doing together was visiting friends in Alabama,” she said.

She will be there early this year, so she said she will probably bring some type of dish, either a big salad or some type of dessert.

“I may try this pumpkin pie,” she said, referring to the one she made for this feature. “I think they might like it.”

The pie in question is from a recipe titled Pumpkin Pie Spectacular, and the recipe is by Southern Living, a lifestyle magazine.

“I don’t like traditional pumpkin pie, just a straight ol’ pumpkin pie,” Gibson said. “I can eat it, and I have eaten it in years past, and we’ve had it at family gatherings and stuff, but I don’t like the traditional pumpkin pie. So I got online and said, ‘OK, let’s go to Southern Living and see what they’ve got.’”

The Pumpkin Pie Spectacular piqued her interest.

“So there we have the gingersnaps in the crust and the Pecan Streusel on the top, so it was really delicious,” she said.

Pecan Streusel and Ginger-Spice Topping help make this version of the pumpkin pie a notable departure from the norm.

PUMPKIN PIE SPECTACULAR

WITH PECAN STREUSEL AND GINGER-SPICE TOPPING

(RECIPES BY SOUTHERN LIVING)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 (15-oz.) package refrigerated pie crusts

2 cups crushed gingersnaps (about 40 gingersnaps)

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

7 thin ginger cookies halved

Pecan Streusel

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Instructions

Stir together flour, brown sugar, melted butter, and chopped pecans.

Ginger-Spice Topping

INGREDIENTS

1 (8-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

Stir together thawed whipped topping, cinnamon and ginger.