Get your Thanksgiving pumpkin fix with a no-bake pie

Pumpkin Pie / Getty Images/DNY59

Even if pumpkin pie isn't your favorite sweet on the Thanksgiving dessert bar, it seems almost a travesty if it didn't make some kind of appearance on the Thanksgiving menu.

I'll be the first to admit that traditional pumpkin pie just doesn't float my boat. There's something about it that leaves me quite uninspired, nearing a state of deflation.

(READ MORE: The absolute best pumpkin, apple and pecan pies for Thanksgiving)

I love pumpkin cheesecake -- a wonderful Thanksgiving dessert that can be rather difficult to make and time-consuming, particularly when there are so many other dishes to worry about. So when I came upon this no-bake pumpkin pie, I realized right away it was a winner on three counts.

First, it's nothing like a traditional pumpkin pie. Secondly, it requires no baking, so it's not going to take up room in your oven when you have so many other things going -- the turkey, the stuffing, green bean casserole and all those other yummy Thanksgiving sides. A tertiary benefit is that it can be made on Thanksgiving morning as a last-minute addition to your dessert buffet.

This pie is entirely no-bake from start to finish, including a graham-cracker crust. Buy one store-bought, or, for a more- impressive wow factor, make your own, as well as exchanging the container of Cool Whip for whipped cream whipped from scratch. I won't even tell you to try to cook your own pumpkin and make your own pumpkin purée. I've done that several times, and really there's no difference in flavor between a can of pumpkin and one that you've taken the trouble to seed and bake yourself.

With all of the other flavors going on at the table on Thanksgiving Day, I don't think anyone will notice that you've used a store-bought crust, a carton of whipped topping and canned pumpkin to make this really tasty no-bake pumpkin pie. Like me, they'll just be thankful that you've changed the rules when it comes to pumpkin pie.

(READ MORE: Memories of pumpkin pies past)

A happy, blessed Thanksgiving to you all.

Creamy No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

8 ounces Cool Whip (1 full 8-ounce container)

1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust (store-bought or homemade)

Whipped cream (for serving)

Pumpkin pie spice, for dusting, optional

Stir together pumpkin puree, dry pudding mix, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until no lumps remain. Carefully fold in container of whipped topping. Spread pumpkin mixture in prepared crust. Chill at least 3 hours or until it sets enough to slice. Top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and dust with smidgen of pumpkin pie spice, if desired.

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