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Lactose-Free Pumpkin Whatever

 I have a friend who is lactose allergic (not lactose intolerant — there is a difference). I am making a dish this Thanksgiving called Pumpkin Dump Cake. One of the ingredients called for is a 12-ounce can of evaporated milk. What can I use as a substitute so that my friend can also enjoy this exquisite dish without sacrificing any of its excellent flavor, by using something like rice milk or goatís milk? The full ingredient list and instructions follow so as to best understand how the ingredients interact and the nature of the dish and so forth.

 What a lovely name for a recipe! Weíve been trying to think of something clever to say about it but find we just donít need to.

Rather than goatís milk, we would use soy milk, which is already slightly sweet, and much easier to find at the market.

Weíve been debating whether you should thicken it just a bit to compensate for the consistency of evaporated milk (i.e., whether the switch to soy milk will make your pumpkin batter too soupy), but itís probably not worth the trouble. Either put in a little less soy milk or cook the Pumpkin Dump Cake (we just canít stop saying the name!) 5 to 10 minutes longer so that it sets up as firmly as it should.

The issue you haven't addressed, though, is the lactose in the butter, which is present in a small amount, but still present. The most likely solution — substituting margarine — is also problematic, because most margarines contain small amounts of lactose, as well. Short of dumping vegetable oil or melted lard on your Pumpkin Dump Cake, we suggest seeking out a lactose-free margarine (Fleishmann's unsalted and light versions are lactose free) for the dish.

Pumpkin Dump Cake
(In its original form — with lactose)

Ingredients:

29 oz. can pumpkin
12-oz can evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter
1 cup pecans
Cool Whip

Instructions:

Beat together pumpkin, milk, sugar, and eggs. Add salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix well.

Pour into a 9" x 13" x 2" pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the top of pumpkin mixture. Melt two sticks of butter and drizzle evenly over all. Sprinkle on nuts.

Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 60 minutes. Cool.

Top with Cool Whip.

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