Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Traditional pumpkin pie is a popular desert for the fall and winter seasons. It is synonymous with the Thanksgiving holiday and is traditionally prepared for that holiday. The preparation for pumpkin pie can be lengthy or accomplished in a fairly quick manner, dependent on the ingredients used to make the pie. The introduction of canned pumpkin provided cooks with a relatively quick and tasty way to make pumpkin pie.

Pumpkins are believed to have their origins in South America over 7,000 years ago. Many assume that pumpkin pie origins date back to 1621 and the first Thanksgiving that was a celebratory feast for pilgrims and the natives of the new land. However, the pumpkin dish served at the event was different from the desert called pumpkin pie, the dish could be more aptly described as a pumpkin pudding. The pudding was made by hollowing out a pumpkin then placing honey, milk, and spices inside and cooking it over hot ashes. The pumpkin’s pie true origin can dated to the late 17th century France. Famous French chef Francois Pierre la Varenne created a recipe called pompion torte that included a pie crust. Eventually, the United States would provide variations on the recipe, to such an extent that in 1796 the traditional or modern pumpkin pie was created (Lacey, 2010).

The main ingredients for pumpkin pie are pumpkin, a type of milk (usually evaporated milk), spices, and a sweetener. Pumpkin pie recipes that use a whole pumpkin will require more time/effort to prepare the pumpkin than those that use canned pumpkin. The pumpkin must first have the stem removed. Then, the pumpkin must be cleared of pumpkin seeds and other materials. The pumpkin is cut into squares, placed on a baking sheet and placed in the oven to cook. Finally, once the pumpkin finishes baking it will be soft enough to scrape off the pumpkin into a bowl which can be mashed to make pumpkin puree to use in pumpkin pie.

Pie Crust

This dough can be made by: hand, using the food processor, or using a mixer.

2 cups flour
¾ cup vegetable shortening
8 Tablespoons water (you may need to add more water)

1. Combine flour and shortening until it resembles course crumbs.
2. Mix in water, until you form a ball.
3. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead 5-10 times.
4. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle that is 1/8 inch thick.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie

¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
15 oz. Canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree
12 fl. oz. Evaporated Milk

1. Stir sugar, cinnamon, salt, and spices in a bowl. Beat eggs in another bowl. Combine the pumpkin with the sugar/spices mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

2. Pour into the pie crust.

3. Bake for 15 minutes at 4250 F. Lower temperature to 350° F, then bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for two hours.

Lacey, H. (2010, November). There’s nothing more traditional for thanksgiving than pumpkin pie, but its history may surprise you. Retrieved from