Because Regular Pumpkin Pie Is Just Plain Dull

I come from a long line of women who do not like to cook.  I hold tightly to this genetic predisposition to get the heck out of the kitchen as fast as I can.  It is a fine heritage.

(Incidentally, it was once a source of significant stress that I married a man who came from a long line of women who love to cook.  Their family recipes, handed down for generations, involve sifting things, and using thermometers, and grating lemon zest.  My family recipes involve instant pudding.)

Truly, though, it is a lovely thing that my favorite family recipes are so simple.  The very best one is the one my grandmother made for Thanksgiving every year.  It is so unbelievably good–but be warned.  Once you eat it, you may never be able to go back to regular pumpkin pie again.

And before we begin, I should point out that the best part of the deal is the little mini, tart-sized pie-shells.  Usually they are located in the freezer section.  The day after Thanksgiving, I'd always go over to my grandmother's house, and we'd sit on her couch and eat all the empty pie shells like potato chips. 

Clearly, I also have a genetic heritage involving carbohydrates.


1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

Blend all ingredients well, using a whisk.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Prepare small, tart-sized pie shells (both the frozen pastry variety or the graham cracker variety work well).  Before serving, spoon pumpkin mixture into tart shells.  Top with whipped topping and serve.

47 thoughts on “Because Regular Pumpkin Pie Is Just Plain Dull

  1. Corey says:

    Shannon, Here is a recipe that even beats that for ease. I made it for my daughter’s kindergarten class this week.
    2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
    2 cans evaporated milk
    1 big can pumpkin pie filling
    Combine. Spoon into tarts (or in the case of messy kindergarteners, into dixie cups) and top with whipped cream to serve. YUM!
    Corey, who loves to cook, but not for the kindergarten or the PTA

  2. Musings of a Housewife says:

    It’s funny. I come from a long line of women on both sides who like to cook and are good at it. And, incidentally, would never dream of cooking with pudding or instant pie shells.
    I really loved cooking for the first 13 years of marriage. Then when I turned 35, all of the sudden thinking about food puts on 5 pounds. Add to that my new-found trifecta of the stomach ailments – gerd, gastritis, and IBS (who sounds like a 70-year-old woman?) and now most foods make my stomach cry out in protest.
    And I have decided not to like cooking anymore. My family is in mourning, but I just look at it that it gives me more time to blog! HA!
    I don’t know where I’m going with this because your recipe sounds divine, but I just gained 5 pounds thinking about it, so I probably won’t try making it.
    Is this the longest comment I’ve ever left on your blog?
    Mmm. Probably not.

  3. Melinda says:

    JanMary, you aren’t really missing THAT much. It’s just a traditional American Thanksgiving dessert. What would be something that you eat that we don’t have here?

  4. Amy says:

    Oh, thank you for sharing this! My almost-four-year-old has been telling me for months that for his birthday, he only wants pumpkin pie! I figure that’s easier than a birthday cake! These will be so much easier for him to eat than a regular pumpkin pie. How fun. His 4th b-day is 12/10.
    Thank you for admitting that you don’t love to cook. I also do not love to cook. I’m thankful to have a husband, but if I were not married, I’d be eating bagel sandwiches for dinner at night. I just don’t see the need for cooking. πŸ™‚

  5. Sarah at themommylogues says:

    I am not a cook. Not that I couldn’t, just I have no desire to. I like recipes from places like Kraft or Campbells. Takes some of the work out.
    I could eat pumpkin whatever every day for the rest of my life, and never tire of it. Must try this recipe.

  6. Melanie says:

    Yum. My family’s only request is pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole. I have a fav. pumpkin pie recipe with similar ingredients.
    MY fav. is pecan pie. Warm with ice cream. I love to eat the last piece straight from the aluminum pie pan. That’s Classy!

  7. Mel says:

    Ohh that recipe would work for all kinds of stuff, thanks…i am not a pumpkin anything lover, however that can be modified…
    Incidentially, i am predisposed to the love of carbs too!!!

  8. Steph at the Red Clay Diaries says:

    Aww, now you got me wanting more easy recipes! I totally don’t cook.
    Although ironically one of the ten things I can actually make well is a recipe for traditional pumpkin pie.
    If I weren’t married I’d eat sandwiches every night of my life. And weigh what I did in college.
    Fortunately (or unfortunately?) my husband is a chef, so we eat REALLY well (and REALLY high-calorie since butter is the only thing he agrees with Paula Deen on) most nights.
    I may still try the tarts. Cuz I need more calories and carbs in my life.

  9. Superchikk says:

    That sounds marvelous, but just having had a root canal, I think I’ll stick to the instant pudding pie recipe I have.
    Speaking of which, it’s marvelous, and in the latest edition of Kraft Food & Family – Turtle Pumpkin Pie. So easy (it does actually involve instant pudding), and very yummy!

  10. ran says:

    Ok……I have to ask…….are my eyes going bad…..or is your blog a different color, everytime I log on? It seems to be fading everyday. Hope that isn’t just my eyes!!!!

  11. Erica says:

    I will definitely be trying this recipe. But this momma of two/middle school teacher/church high school group volunteer totally thought she saw “fart shells” instead of “tart shells”… πŸ™‚

  12. Teresa says:

    Oh. my. goodness.
    So I had to go make this RIGHT NOW. I had everything on hand and thought, why not? The kids were so STOKED to help out and make a yummy dessert! It’s in the fridge to chill as I type. Can’t wait to try it out!
    PS…I used a *regular* sized can of pumpkin and added 1/4 tsp of cloves
    Thanks for the esay-peasy recipie! I’ll be passing this along! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Lisamarie says:

    Your intro had me laughing… because it sounds a bit familiar! I always thought my family cooked “from scratch” because we didn’t always buy everything in cans. (ex.- chinese food was a stir-fry over rice, not the canned kind.) BUT- then I married into a family that made their own spaghetti sauce, bagels, ice cream… you name it, they have a GREAT recipe for it! It dealt my culinary pride a bit of a blow when my husband initially felt I couldn’t cook much! πŸ™‚ We’ve compromised, and now we’re both happy. Happy ending, like your’s. πŸ™‚

  14. RLR says:

    Rats! I just got back from the grocery store….
    This recipe sounds delicious, and since my almost-five-year-old asked for pumpkin pie, I might just have to grant wish a week early and head back to the store!

  15. Dawn says:

    I can not wait to try this recipe! It is my kinda’ baking! My husband loves pumpkin pie for the holidays, so this will be a treat for him to be sure! And, I will have the pleasure of having prepared it for him without a lot of fuss and muss! Thanks so much for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  16. Gego says:

    Zest???? Not in Hubbie’s fam! Hub’s sis married a chef so she wouldn’t have to cook.
    My poor children were guinea pigs for my experiments in the kitchen.
    Thank you for the compliments to Hub’s family. Yes, we have a wonderful collection of “old” recipes, no zest included. I pert near managed to destroy each and every one! Just ask Hubs.
    Love and hugs, Gego

  17. Dee says:

    Sounds good. I’m from a family of good cooks and we have passed down our pie crust recipe for generations. It was always a treat to get to eat the leftover pie crust baked into strips. My husband is from a family that doesn’t cook and never makes baked goods. He doesn’t even eat pie crust. To my knowledge he has never even once tasted my pie crust in 10 years of marriage. Well, more pie crust for the rest of us.

  18. Brandi says:

    Even though I do love me a good old- fashioned plain, pumpkin pie, one year I just decided to spruce it up a bit and now I am asked to make it every year!!
    Mine’s got vanilla pudding in the pumpkin mix, too, but then underneath is a rich cream cheese/coolwhip layer over a graham cracker crust. Cream cheese is one of my love languages!!!! Hmmm, I need to put this recipe on my blog as I am whipping it up tomorrow! πŸ™‚

  19. Gego says:

    I confess: Pecan Pies used to be homemade until I found Sam’s.
    True Confession: If you need a new roof, give me a call and I will make biscuits. For our Northern sisters, they also make wonderful hockey pucks.
    Give me a ham bone or a chicken caucus and I can do wonders. No zest! Too many years of having to stretch a budget to take one fryer last a week.
    Cooking for me was a result of a serious limit in budget.
    Thank you Shan for the wonderful recipes you have been wiling to share! They are always YUMMY!!!!!!! Love you bunches, Gego

  20. Jenn says:

    Yummy! If I hadn’t just bought two frozen Sara Lee pumpkin pies last night, I would have made this recipe. Will definately try it later, though. Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Lucy says:

    Ok, I made this and it was delicious, but I have a question. Is it supposed to be runny? I thought with the pudding in it it would firm up a bit, but it didn’t. Granted, it was my husband making it so who knows. It was a hit at Thanksgiving anyway, even though it was runny. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for posting it!

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