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.