When I first heard rumors of a shortage, I scoffed. "Ha!" I said. It seemed inconceivable that something as traditionally American as pumpkin pie might be hard to come by at Thanksgiving. But I'm not laughing now. Week after week I've gone to several local supermarkets only to come face to face with an empty shelf where the canned pumpkin pie filling should be (to the right of the fruit pie fillings, and just underneath the instant pudding). It seems that, due to bad weather, many of last year's pumpkins were deemed "unacceptable" and now we're feeling the pinch. To make matters worse, the Libby company has placed supermarkets on a quota system in an attempt share the wealth. Clearly, it is not working. While my mother assures me that there is still plenty of pumpkin to be had at her regular grocery store in Ohio, my recommendation to you would be to BUY! BUY NOW!! if you happen to come across any cans and think you'll need them later in the season.
While Libby is assuring customers that more cans are coming, in the meantime I'm hedging my bets. It seems that cans of plain pumpkin are a little easier to come by so, of course, I bought the last two 30-oz cans I could find. By adding sugar and spices to the plain pumpkin, you can essentially make your own pumpkin pie filling. I plan to freeze this in small batches to use for future recipes and hopefully stretch my supply until the pumpkin drought is over. For the pumpkin mousse below, I've included the recipe as-written to include pre-mixed pie filling, but I'll also include my recipe for adding your own sugar and spice below in case you're unfortunately in the same pumpkin-less boat as me. Of course, if you're feeling adventurous, you can always bake your own pumpkin, scoop out the flesh, process in a blender and substitute for canned. Let me know how that goes :)
Pumpkin Mousse in Cinnamon Pastry Shells
2 boxes (10 oz each) frozen puff pastry shells3 Tbs melted butter
(1 Tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
1 can (30 oz) pumpkin pie filling (not plain)
1 box (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding and pie mix
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup whipped topping, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place pastry shells on a baking sheet. Brush tops with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake according to package directions. Cool to room temperature. Remove tops and reserve for garnish. Remove soft pastry inside shells and discard.
3. Beat pumpkin pie mix, pudding mix and cinnamon in large mixing bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spoon or pipe about 1/3 cup pumpkin mousse into each pastry shell. Top with pastry tops, dust with cinnamon or drizzle with caramel if desired. Serve immediately.
Pumpkin Pie Filling Mix For each 30-oz can of pumpkin add:
2 cups granulated sugar or light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger Stir thoroughly to combine and freeze in 1 cup portions. Makes 4 1-cup servings or enough for 1 pie.