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Can I Use Pumpkin Pie Filling Vs. Pumpkin Puree In This Recipe? Looking To Boost Flavor.

monavano Nov 28, 2011 12:23 PM

I'm making chocolate pumpkin bars again from this recipe:


The recipe uses canned pumpkin puree. Ok, so....

They turned out very good, although I had to bake them twice as long as the recipe called for. I'd like to boost the pumpkin pie-like flavor even more, so I am wondering if I'll get the same result with pumpkin pie filling, especially as far as consistency and how well the top layer (which is essentially pumpkin cheesecake) will set up.
My spices are pretty fresh so it's not as if they were ever an issue.

  1. a
    acgold7 Nov 28, 2011 12:25 PM

    Most recipes say no, because pie filling has lots of other stuff in it and will taste less like pure pumpkin.

    2 Replies
    1. re: acgold7
      monavano Nov 28, 2011 12:26 PM

      What other stuff /spices beside the usual suspects involved in pumpkin pie?

      1. re: monavano
        acgold7 Nov 28, 2011 08:08 PM

        Sorry for my ignorance... having never used it, I assumed it was the entire filling, including the eggs and milk. But after a quick Google, it appears to be just the pumpkin plus the sugar and spices, so I guess it should work, as long as those ingredients are called for. But obviously the pumpkin is a smaller percentage of the mix than if you used pure pumpkin, so the same amount will likely have less pumpkin flavor, not more, which if I understand you is what you're looking for.

    2. hotoynoodle Nov 28, 2011 12:59 PM

      pumpkin pie filling simply contains sugar and the spices that are already called for in the recipe. the consistency and cook qualities are the same as canned plain pumpkin.

      that being said, pumpkin is a pretty neutral tasting food. you could add more of the spices if you want to amp up flavor.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle
        monavano Nov 28, 2011 01:45 PM

        I did up the amounts of spice and it helped, but I want more! Thanks for the insight on using pie filling. That's what I was leaning towards. I really want it to taste like there's a pumpkin pie on top of a brownie.

        1. re: monavano
          hotoynoodle Nov 28, 2011 02:21 PM

          if you use the pie filling, adjust the sugar in the recipe too.

      2. BananaBirkLarsen Nov 28, 2011 01:13 PM

        You could try using sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin. I always sub them in pies because I find they have a richer, more complex flavour (and are way easier to peel/roast/puree etc. than fresh pumpkin).

        1 Reply
        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
          monavano Nov 28, 2011 02:04 PM

          I agree that sweet potatoes are more flavorful. I'm looking for canned tho. Thanks!

        2. sunshine842 Nov 28, 2011 01:54 PM

          roast some fresh pie pumpkin - roasting it in the oven ramps up the flavor considerably.

          1. j
            jkling17 Nov 28, 2011 09:46 PM

            My sweetie made a pumpkin pie for our late Thanksgiving dinner with friends this Sat. We followed the "best recipe". And I made some homemade whipped cream to go with it (just a touch of sugar, vanilla and brandy). It was the BEST pumpkin pie EVER.

            I think the key, as is often the case with many great recipes, was our use of fresh ground spices: clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. The suggestion to use roasted pumpkin filling makes sense. Roasting intensifies flavor so ... yeah I'd try that.

            1. pdxgastro Nov 28, 2011 10:41 PM

              If you want concentrated pumpkin flavor, try reducing the pumpkin before you use it in the recipe. You know, like boil it down first.

              1. monavano Dec 2, 2011 03:13 PM

                Thanks for the responses. Today, I made the recipe (linked in the OP) for chocolate pumpkin bars and I decided to use pumpkin pie filling and it turned out to be just exactly what I had hoped for.
                The cooking and end texture of of the pumpkin cheesecake top portion of these bars was the same, but the boost of the spices and cane sugar already in the canned pumpkin pie filling gave the taste of a very pumpkin pie-like cheesecake.
                I also used my spices (not quite as much as the recipe calls for-- I went by aroma) to boost the flavor even more and I think it's a better version this way.
                I can't wait to share them at a Holiday party this weekend!

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