Nana Recipe Wednesday—No-Crust Pumpkin Pie

by Sarah on November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!
Today’s picture is from left:  My mother, June, me and Nana in what could very well be Thanksgiving of 1968.  Or somewhere around there anyway.  My parents weren’t much for labeling photos.  Dig that crazy French Twist on Nana!  That was her signature hairstyle for quite a while until she chopped it all off and went with a perm in the late 70’s a la Barbra Streisand.



I was all set to post a totally different recipe but at the last minute changed my mind because 1) It’s Thanksgiving on Thursday; and 2) I happen to be making a couple of these right this very second.  They are in the oven as I type this and they smell so dang good that I want to go steal a spoonful right now.




Zane’s buddy Roland’s mom generously donated the fixings for a few Thanksgiving dinners for me to give to clients–I delivered two of the boxes to needy families today, but tonight I ended up making a Thanksgiving dinner for two of my clients–a lovely elderly gentleman (who may have beginning dementia) and his developmentally disabled daughter.  They happen not to have a caregiver right now so I knew that dropping off a raw frozen turkey was not going to end well for them.  G roasted the turkey for me while I was in class (CHAMPAGNE! lecture and tasting!  More on that later) and when I got home I made some stuffing and potatoes–both from a box, but I doctored them up so they taste good  (Add butter, salt and pepper–lots of it).  I’m going to make gravy in the morning, there’s cans of yams and vegetables, and there was a box of yellow cake mix.  What to do with the yellow cake mix?  That’s where the aforementioned no-crust pumpkin pie comes into play.
I don’t really remember Nana even making this dessert actually–It is one of many recipes I don’t recall in the giant drawer of recipes.  I think I ran across it when I was trying to organize them and ended up making it for the first time for one of the kid’s classes.  It’s dynamite.  Since then, it’s made it into the regular fall rotation.  I know, it contains boxed cake mix, but cake mix is one product I can fully support.  It’s quite handy.


Now, prepare yourself.  This post will not contain 470435 step-by-step photos.  I had the best of intentions, but it’s late on Tuesday night, and I was making 4 things at once, and I drank CHAMPAGNE! earlier and had to go to the store twice because the milk went bad.  No wonder my mind was scattered.
Here’s the grocery list:


In a bowl, dump in the box of cake mix and a stick of room temperature butter.  Don’t pay attention to my 2 sticks of butter, because I doubled the recipe.  Unless you want to double the recipe, that is.
The recipe says to use a pastry cutter to mix these, but you know me–I used my hands.  So much easier and more satisfying, really.  This will be both the crust and the topping.  Mix until it resembles a coarse meal or sand.
This is where you should be seeing a picture of a large bowl of pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and spices.  Then imagine another picture of me whisking it up until it’s smooth.  After that, there would be a picture of me patting some of that cake mix-butter mixture into the bottom of a greased Pyrex pan.  Next would be an image of pumpkin goo being poured onto the cake mix crust, and finally a shot of me sprinkling on a topping of the reserved cake mix mixed with chopped walnuts.
After all that, you’d have a dish that looked something like this:
After letting it bake for an hour, the topping is nice and golden brown, and the center of the “pie” is set and not too jiggly.
It also smells very good right now.  Can I wait until Thursday?
So tempting……No…I.  Will.  Stay.  Strong.  Resist temptation.
Nana’s No-Crust Pumpkin Pie

1 package yellow cake mix
1 1-lb, 13 oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butter
1 large can evaporated milk
4 eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 375*
In a medium bowl, blend cake mix and butter with a pastry blender (or your hands).  Set aside.  In another large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, evaporated milk, pie spice and salt.
Grease 9×13 Pyrex pan.  Take 1-1/2 cups of the cake mixture and set aside for topping.  Spread remaining cake mix in pan and pat onto bottom.  Carefully pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix in pan.  Mix remaining cake mixture with the chopped nuts.  Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture and bake for 1 hour, until top is golden brown and the center is set.

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