This lovely braided pastry tasted just like pumpkin pie but with the added surprise of a cream cheese layer.

Serves 4-6

Pie Crust

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup cold unsalted butter

¼ cup cold shortening or lard

About 1 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; mix well. Using a box grater, grate in the shortening and butter. Sweep up some of the flour with the fat as you grate. Using the palms of your hands, gather up some of the flour-fat mixture between your palms and rub in a downward motion once. Repeat 10 times gathering up the flour-fat mixture each time. Using a fork, mix in about 1/2 cup ice water. Continue to add water in small amounts, until the mixture feels slightly moist and begins to stick together. On a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out to 14” x 16” rectangle. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, trim the dough to measure 12” x 14”. Fold dough in half and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Unfold with the long-end facing away from you.

Cream Cheese Filling

4 oz (1/2 a regular package) full fat cream cheese

2 tbsp granulated sugar

½ tsp vanilla

Beat together until very creamy. Set aside.

Pumpkin Filling

½ cup pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

¼ cup mascarpone cheese

2 tbsp granulated sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

Stir together until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll out pastry to about a 12” x 14” rectangle.

Smear the cream cheese filling down the centre, leaving 4” on either side of the filling untouched. Top with the pumpkin filling.

Using a sharp knife, cut 1” wide strips along the long sides of the pastry. Do the same on the other side, matching the opposite strips exactly. Fold the top strips over the filling on a downward angle. Strips will overlap. Alternately weave the cut strips all the way down the filling until the filling is covered.

Brush with 1 beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon). Bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat and bake another 35 minutes, lightly draping a sheet of aluminum foil over the pastry half way through the baking to shield it from getting scorched.

Cool, slice and serve.