Pumpkin Donuts for Knives Out and Food ‘n Flix

It’s November so that means there’s a Food ‘n Flix feature film about a heartwarming family get-together—one with multiple generations coming together for fellowship and laughter and memories.

Not.  🙂

Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson, brings together an all-star cast for a festive and fun family fatality.  Claire Folger/Lionsgate.  (From https://www.npr.org/2019/11/27/782165138/knives-out-a-classic-comic-mystery-of-uncommon-sharpness)


Knives Out definitely has the family, but there’s nothing heartwarming about it.  It’s called “knives out” for a reason.  Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting and you can read her announcement post HERE.Knives Out Poster

The film revolves around an entitled bunch of siblings, cousins, and in-laws.  The Thrombey family’s patriarch, Harlan, is a talented (and rich) mystery writer.  His son and daughter (and in-laws and grandchildren) have benefited from his influence and money.  On his 80th birthday, everyone comes together to celebrate.  Just like in one of Harlan’s mysteries, that night there’s a murder.

The police arrive to question the family members.   Benoit Blanc, a private investigator hired by an anonymous fan of Harlan’s, also appears.  As the interrogation ensues, so does the intrigue as the family begins to show their true selves.

I really don’t want to give anymore away, just suffice it to say that there is lots of backbiting, secrets, and dishonesty afoot.   Marta, Harlan’s nurse, aids Blanc in his sleuthing. (Marta has an odd reaction to lying.)   It’s a good thing, too, because I’m not sure Blanc had it in him to solve the case solo.

There’s not a lot of food seen in the film but here’s what I glimpsed:

  • Coffee, croissants, blueberries
  • Gnarly bananas on Marta’s kitchen table at home
  • Bowl of fresher fruit
  • At party:  Champagne, canapes, cake, carrot sticks, bourbon
  • Irish courage
  •  “Champers” (flashback at memorial)
  • Salmon spread
  • Biscoff cookies/milk
  • Boston Baked Beans and sausage with brown bread and beer
  • Old fashion (or some sort of cocktail with a cherry in it)

I was inspired, however, by a couple of Blanc’s lines as he tries to deduce what is going on:

“A case with a hole in the middle…a donut…A donut.  One central piece and if it reveals itself, the fog would lift, the arc would resolve, the Slinky become unkinked.”

“A donut hole in a donut’s hole. But we must look a little closer.  And when we do, we see the donut hole has a hole in its center.  It is not a donut hole, but a smaller donut with its own hole and our donut is not a whole at all!”

Roasted pie pumpkin.

Makes perfect sense, right?  I loved his ramblings!  I had to make donuts.   I also had some fall pumpkins  decorating the front step that needed brought in and roasted.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Based on one from King Arthur Flour

These are great for fall or for you next family reunion or will reading.


  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 t. chai spice
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 1 c. flour
  • cinnamon sugar for coating


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease one 6-well doughnut pan.
  3. Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.  Fill the wells of the doughnut pans.
  5. Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
  6. Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
  7. While the doughnuts are still warm, coat in a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  8. Cool completely, and store (not wrapped tight) at room temperature for several days.

Yield: 6

Blanc, with “that Kentucky fried Foghorn Leghorn drawl,” proves to be a philosopher as well and I loved his other musings in the film beyond his donut speculations.

  • “Be it cruel or comforting, this machine unerringly arrives at the truth.”
  • “Best judge of character is a dog.”
  • “A community theatre production of a tax return.”  (Remarking on reading of wills and their typical lack of drama.)

I love this library/study. (From http://www.dbschlesinger.com/knives-out)   I’ve started using this for my ZOOM background.  🙂

I also adored the setting of this tale, a truly rambling old mansion with lots and lots of cool chotskie around the house.

But, back to the donuts (without a hole within a hole or a donut within a donut).

They browned a bit on the bottom, but that did not effect the taste.  I rolled them in lots of cinnamon and sugar and honestly, these donuts were probably better the second day.

I’m including this recipe in my Recipes for Two endeavor because it is a half batch.  Even though it made six donuts, we portioned these out for at least three breakfasts (and maybe a couple of snacks).

Thanks for hosting, Wendy.  This was a fun film and I enjoyed watching it even more the second time around.

Join Food ‘n Flix in December when I’m hosting The Holiday with Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law.  It’s one of those sappy holiday films that I ironically adore (but maybe not as much as Love Actually.)  

Look for an announcement post here the first of December.  Until then, be safe and well!

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