Pumpkin Pie Recipes–From The Past

A Recipe from 1857–4 years before the Civil War!

“Select a good, sweet pumpkin, fully ripe: to ascertain if it be a sweet one, for there is the great difference in this respect, cut a piece of the rind and taste it, or cut several, and then you can judge which is best. The sweetest pumpkins require less sugar, and are much richer.

Pare and cut the fruit into slices, removing the seeds and also the fibrous, spongy part, next to the seeds. Cut it into small pieces, and put it on the fire with about a pint of water, covering the pot close: you are not to bruise or stir it. Should the water boil away so as to endanger the pumpkin burning to the bottom of the pot, a small quantity more of water may be added. It will take three or four hours to boil quite soft, and of a fine brownish yellow. Some improve the color and richness by setting the pot on a few embers, near the fire, and keeping the pot turned as the pulp browns at the sides: but this requires to be carefully attended to.

When the pumpkin is as soft as mashed turnips, pass it through a hair-sieve or a colander; then add new milk and two or three eggs well beaten, with grated ginger; as much sugar as will make it sweet enough to be pleasant. Pounded and sifted cinnamon is frequently used as spice or nutmeg; but ginger and cinnamon are preferable to any other spice for pumpkin-pies. The milk must not be sufficient to thin the pumpkin too much: it should be about the consistence, when ready for the oven, of finely mashed turnips: if too thin you will need more eggs to set it; but it absorbs a great deal of milk, and is better to stand some little time after the milk is added, before being baked.

Make a nice light paste; line your dishes or plates, and then put in your mixture. These pies are always open; not with a cover of paste over them. A very rich pumpkin-pie may be made by adding cream, lemon-peel, the juice of a lemon, and more eggs.

A finer dish, than a good pumpkin-pie, can hardly be eaten: and it is within the power of any poor man’s family to enjoy this luxury. If you do not grow this fruit, any neighbor will give you one for the asking.”–The Canadian Settler’s Guide; By Catherine Parr Strickland Traill; 1857.

A Recipe from 1905:

Put in a bowl 1 pint of flour, ½ pound of butter, 1 large tablespoon of lard, and rub all together until well mixed. Add sufficient cold water to make a soft dough. Sprinkle the rolling board plentifully with flour and roll the dough to a thin crust. Grease pie plates well and cover with the pastry. For the inside use I quart of prepared pumpkin with 6 eggs, 1 & ½ cups of sugar, ½ pint of cream, and 1 tablespoon of ground ginger. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. The quantities given are sufficient for two large pies.”–Jennie Jay; 1905.