LJWorld.com weblogs Shop Talk with Jenn and Julie

No pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving?


I don't know why, but pie crusts scare me.

I don't mean scare in the "boo" sense of the word. I mean making a pie crust from scratch intimidates me. I've tried in the past, and just gave up. I don't know if I over work the dough or what, but that crust is never as flaky or melt-in-your-mouth delicious as I think it should be.

So, as Thanksgiving approaches, pie baking is not on my to-do list. I usually buy one from the grocery store bakery.

However, the other day when I was at Hy-Vee,I picked a couple of items off an end cap — Hy-Vee evaporated milk (77 cents) and Libby's canned pumpkin ($1.48).  I should be able to make something other than pumpkin pie using these ingredients, I thought.  

When I got home, it dawned on me that I better have the rest of the ingredients for whatever it would be that I would be baking. I was in no mood to go back out.

I sat down with my computer and started looking up recipes. My thought was to make some kind of pumpkin bar. There was a recipe that caught my eye, but I didn't have yellow cake mix on hand.  I continued to browse and found a recipe for pumpkin squares, and I had all the ingredients.

I would make it and have the family taste test it.  If it passed, then I would repeat the recipe for Thanksgiving.

This is what I made:

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares (www.verybestbaking.com)


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned or instant oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

2 large eggs

2 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Whipped cream


PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COMBINE flour, oats, brown sugar and butter in small mixer bowl. Beat at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until crumbly. Press on bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

BAKE for 15 minutes. 

COMBINE granulated sugar, pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and pumpkin pie spice in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes; pour over crust.

BAKE for 20 minutes. Combine pecans and brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle pecan topping over filling. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Top with whipped cream.

(Note: the recipe calls for Carnation evaporated milk.  I used Hy-Vee brand.)

Well, the family agreed that this would be a great alternative to pumpkin pie.  It's a keeper.  Now we'll see if it meets my in-law's approval on Thanksgiving.


headdoctor 6 years, 6 months ago

I would guess that your pie crust fails for the same mistakes most everyone else makes. People try to over work it as if it needs to be blended like other types of dough. The longer you work it the warmer your shortening becomes and that will cause the flour and shortening to be to well mixed. Make sure your shortening is cold before you start. Not at room temperature. Many also make the mistake of adding more liquid than needed. It seems the attempt is to go against the recipe and put more liquid in to achieve a smoother appearance. To much liquid will ruin a pie crust just as fast as over mixing it.

Katara 6 years, 6 months ago

Have you considered a pumpkin cheesecake?

shorttrees 6 years, 6 months ago

Cold shortening, cold mixing bowl and cold (ice water). Prechill the rolling pin as well. As soon as the dough starts to really come together it's ready to roll out, the rolling process will finish the final mixing. Doing it this way actually makes the process go quicker!

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 6 years, 6 months ago

I love pumpkin pie, my wife hates it. I hate conventional pie crust, as I have tasted very few that were worth eating. I came up with a solution. My wife makes pumpkin pie in a ready made graham cracker crust and it is delicious. She also makes other kinds of pies using canned pie filling, in the same crust. Where I come from, we had lemon icebox pie. I am looking for a good recipe for that as my next project. The best pie crust and pie I have ever eaten is at Fred's cafe in North Topeka. He prepares all of the food himself, and it is excellent.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 6 years, 6 months ago

Another easy to make, and very delicious pumpkin cake is to mix a can of prepared pumpkin with any white or yellow cake mix. My wife uses a long shallow glass baking pan. She then bakes it using the directions on the cake box. The result is a wonderful pumpkin cake.

Cai 6 years, 6 months ago

Especially for pumpkin pies, consider a graham cracker crust.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.