Libby’s is saying that due to a wet growing season, there isn’t as much pumpkin to go around this holiday season. So far, I haven’t seen any empty shelves at the store. If you do find yourself without access to canned pumpkin as the holidays progress, there are several alternatives to the traditional pumpkin pie.

Sweet potato pie

If you need the look of a pumpkin pie, sweet potato pies will provide the right visual.

Sweet potato buttermilk pie – Deb from Smitten Kitchen isn’t crazy about the heaviness of the average sweet potato pie but she loves this “fluffier, tangier and [here's the part I think you're really going to remember] almost cheesecake-like version of it.”

Sweet potato pie – Alice from Sweet Savory Life says her version of this pie tastes” very similar to pumpkin except the texture is slightly denser and the flavor richer.” It also uses less sugar than pumpkin pie because sweet potatoes are sweeter than pumpkin.

Emeril’s sweet potato pie – Thought I’d throw in one from a celebrity chef. One reviewer of this recipe said it missed the mark because it tasted like pumpkin pie and not sweet potato pie. In the case of the pumpkin shortage, this could be a good thing.

Butternut squash pie

Butternut squash and pumpkin are often interchangeable in recipes. Like sweet potato, you’ll get a pie that looks very similar to a pumpkin pie with butternut squash.

Butternut squash pie – Good Housekeeping has this 100-year-old recipe passed down from generation to generation.

Kay Rentschler's Butternut Squash Pie – Luisa from The Wednesday Chef, and if I’m reading her correctly, she didn’t tell anyone they weren’t eating pumpkin pie and no one noticed.

Imitation pumpkin puree

Usually when I hear imitation anything, I stay away. Imitation vanilla? Imitation chocolate flavor? No thank you. But in this case, other gourds are being used to mimic pumpkin in a puree that can be used in pie or any other recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Substitute equal amounts of this puree for the amount of pumpkin called for in a recipe.

The recipe comes from and uses 5 to 6 pounds of acorn, butternut, or kabocha squash.

1. Cut squash in half through the stems and scoop out seeds and strings. Place halves, skin side up, on an oiled baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees until the skin is easily pierced and the flesh is soft, anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes.
2. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop flesh into a food processor and puree until it is perfectly smooth. This fresh puree will be wetter than canned. To remove some of the moisture, transfer puree to a colander lined with cheesecloth.
3. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie in a knot. Put a plate on top of the knotted cheesecloth and weigh it down with some heavy cans or a bowl of water. Place colander over a bowl and let it drain for 30 minutes to an hour, until it reaches the proper consistency. Makes about 4 cups.

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