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From Libby's Pumpkin Pie Recipe:


3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)

This is the exact same recipe on the store brand pumpkin, btw--except they substitute their own brand of pumpkin and evaporated milk.

So I assume cloves are important to the taste--however they are ridiculously expensive when you only need 1/8 tsp. (~$8 a jar in the first store I tried). I went into another store to find a better deal, and met an elderly lady in the spice aisle asking me to help her find 'ground cloves'. I said "that's what I'm looking for!" So I found them and they were $10 a jar. Yikes. Her husband came over and we all tried to find a cheaper alternative. I found this:

McCormick's Pumpkin Pie Spice

A blend of spices designed to impart a pumpkin pie spice flavor characteristics.



So no cloves. She decided to suck-it-up and get the cloves because she didn't want to take the chance on ruining her recipe. I passed in hope of finding a cheaper bottle--I am sure I just saw this stuff a few weeks ago when I wasn't looking for it and it wasn't as high as this.

So before I bite the bullet (or the clove)--what do you pumpkin pie bakers use? Are cloves really critical? TIA.
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