Pumpkin pie is considered by many to be a quintessential holiday-season dessert. It came as a surprise to me, then, to learn that plenty of people have never eaten it. I suppose it's my own cultural bias; I'm an American, and pumpkin pie is a major component of our Thanksgiving feasts. And, as I've mentioned, I was born on Thanksgiving Day, so maybe the holiday meal stands out for me more than it does for most people. I often make pumpkin pie for Christmas dessert too; it's perfect for the festive season and, frankly, it's very easy.
When I realized that pumpkin pie is not universally known, I began to read about its history*and I learned some surprising things. I had always believed that pumpkin pie, as we know it today, was served at the first "thanksgiving feast," held in 1621 by Pilgrims and Native Americans in Plimoth Plantation, the first permanent English settlement in North America. At least, that's what we learned in school. But the pumpkin "pie" served then was more likely to have been plain, stewed pumpkin flesh, or hollowed-out pumpkin shells filled with milk, honey and spices and then baked. The latter sounds rather tasty, but it's not exactly "pie" as we know it - there was no pastry crust! The basics were there, though: cooked squash, milk, flavorings. The first recipe including pastry appeared in France in 1651; by the 1670's, there were many English recipes for pumpkin pie with pastry. These recipes called for many eggs, other fruits, nuts. But another essential quality had emerged: pumpkin was now part of a custard filling, no longer roasted or baked alone. In 1796, the first American cookbook was published; its "pompion pudding" recipes, utilizing "pastes," quite closely resemble the pie recipes of today.
Pumpkin Pie (from Libby's Pumpkin)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell (fresh, frozen or refrigerated)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
Beat eggs in a large bowl and whisk pumpkin into them. Stir in spice mixture. Gradually whisk in evaporated milk.
Pour into pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake 40 to 50 minutes more. Pie is done when a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
(I always place my pie dish on a foil-covered baking pan to catch drips as the pie bakes. I also use an aluminum pie shield (I have one like this) after the initial 15 minutes of baking to keep the crust from burning).
If you have any pie filling left after filling the crust, you can pour it into buttered ramekins, baking alongside the pie for about 45 minutes. I know two children who really enjoy this.
*A fascinating timeline of pumpkin pie history can be found here, if you'd like to read more.
Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below:
Annie at Annie Cholewa
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Gillian at Tales from a happy house.
CJ at Above the River
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.