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Pumpkin Week: Thanksgiving Meal in a Bun (Another Overly Complicated use for Holiday Leftovers)

Complete turkey dinner in a pumpkin bun

I love my Pumpkin Pie Bao dough so much I wondered if I could use it for other, more nefarious purposes. Yes, I’m talking about the evil that is overly complicated Thanksgiving leftovers recipes.

We all know Thanksgiving leftovers should be simple affairs of cold sandwiches and turkey soup. Instead, those of us who loathe Black Friday like to use leftovers as an excuse to huddle in the warm, safe kitchen while the craziest members of the family head to malls and big box stores.

This holiday season, my gift to you is a recipe guaranteed to keep you busy for hours while also giving your family members the equivalent of the world’s best Hot Pocket. Stop them from detailing the unnecessary horrors of shopping by stuffing one of these in their faces the second they return home.

Start by making a batch of Pumpkin Pie Bao dough. Only you can decide whether you feel up to channeling Martha Stewart enough to make a smaller batch of green dough just for the pumpkin stems. (You can do it. I believe in you.)

Once you’re done kneading, let the dough rise for one hour.

Now comes the fun part.


1 tsp cranberry sauce
1 ½ tbsp dressing
1 ½ tbsp turkey

Grab a golfball sized chunk of dough and roll it into a circle. Try to get the edges flatter than the middle.

Add a tsp of leftover cranberry sauce.

Top that with about 1 ½ tbsp leftover turkey.

Top that with another 1 ½ tbsp leftover dressing.

Now pinch all four corners shut in the middle and twist the center into a knob to seal it shut.

Turn the dough over so it’s seam-side down. I like to roll it around a little to remind the dough it’s supposed to look like a basket ball, not a mushroom.

Use a chopstick or bamboo barbecue skewer to press deep lines into the surface of the bun. You’re trying to give it a properly pumpkin-esque shape instead of leaving it a simple ball.

Top it with a mall, rolled piece of green dough to represent the pumpkin stem.

Keep working until you run out of dough.

Bake the buns at 350F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

As soon as they emerge from the oven, use a pastry brush to paint the surface with melted butter. If you skip this step, you’ll regret it. Your rolls need this deliciously fatty addition.

Let the rolls cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Once they’re cool enough to eat, you will have achieved an entire Thanksgiving dinner in a bun – Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. That’s a heck of a lot more impressive than standing in a cold line for hours.

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