With the fall comes my cravings for spices and pumpkin. Enter the classic pumpkin pie. While I keep in the good graces of my father-in-law by making him pumpkin pie each Thanksgiving, I thought I might try something a little different than my tried and true Libby’s Brand Pumpkin Pie Recipe. Therefore, this weekend my family got to sample a vintage recipe from my 1933 cookbook Balanced Recipes
, the cookbook I first mentioned in making Apple Pie
last year. I didn’t want to risk having drippy pumpkin pie on Turkey Day, so darn it I just had to force my family to eat pie today. They hated me for it (of course I jest.) But my waist hates me, that’s for sure.
Now, I am old-school when it comes to pumpkin pie. No pumpkin soufflé, cream cheese monstrosities with pecan streusel or cinnamon crunch for me. I like spicy, creamy, but firm pie that holds its shape. I hoped, since it wasn’t a nouveau recipe, it would hold up to my Libby’s recipe.
I mixed up a batch of Ina Garten’s Perfect Pie Crust
and let it chill while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. You need only make half of the Perfect Pie Crust recipe, as you only need one crust. Or, make two pies!
The original pie recipe from Balanced Recipes is as follows:
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup brown sugar (or half sugar and half honey)
- 1 ¼ cups steamed pumpkin
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup cream or evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
Beat eggs, add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly. Pour into unbaked pastry shell and bake in hot oven 10 minutes to set the crust. Reduce heat to moderate and bake long enough to cook the filling, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. That was the extent of the instructions.
MY ADAPTED INSTRUCTIONS
On the back of the recipe card are instructions for making steamed pumpkin. If you are ambitious, which I am not, you can slice, pare and cut into small pieces the pumpkin. Add a little water, cover and simmer until tender. Pour into a colander to drain; when cool, rub through fine strainer. Or you can do the modern smart-gal way and open a 15 oz. can of pumpkin. It gives you a little over one and a half cups of pumpkin, as I measured, which is more than you technically need, but I’m not one to waste.
Preheat your oven to 475F. I rolled out my dough, draped it in my glass pie plate and crimped the edges. The rest of the recipe I followed as the directions indicated. I beat the eggs in my Kitchenaid mixer and dumped everything else in the bowl once the eggs were well whipped. The resulting mixture was very soupy and thin. I hoped it would set up firm after cooking.
I placed the pie on a baking sheet, in case I jostled it and the mixture slopped all over my oven, and put it in the 475F oven for 10 minutes. The instructions call for you to reduce the oven temperature after 10 minutes and bake the pie for another 30-40 minutes at 350F. My oven always seems to require me to cook things a little longer than the directions say, and this was no exception. If I am entirely truthful, while I reset my oven timer after 10 minutes for another 40 minutes, I forgot to reduce my temperature to 350F until I only had 30 minutes remaining on the timer, so my pie cooked at the higher temperature for a little longer than the recipe called for. Even still, when I took the pie out of the oven it was pretty wobbly in the center and when I inserted a knife tip in the center there was pumpkin filling clinging to the knife. I covered the crust edge with tin foil, as the crust was done. While I was at it, I also placed on the baking sheet a few leaves and a pumpkin made with the leftover pastry crust as decoration. I popped the pie back in the oven for another 10 minutes and when I inserted the knife tip this time, it came out damp, but there were no pumpkin bits clinging to it. So to recap my cooking timing, including mistakes and additional cooking time, I cooked it at 475F for 20 minutes and at 350F for 40 minutes.
After it cooled completely, I cut into it and it held its shape! No oozy pie. Taste-wise, I still like my Libby’s pie recipe. This was a nice tasting pie, and if you like a little blander pie (but not so bland it is tasteless), this is a very nice option. However, the Libby’s pie recipe includes ground cloves and adds more cinnamon, as well as eliminates the nutmeg. I think I just like the spice combination of the Libby’s recipe better. If you compare the two recipes, minus the spice substitutions, they are very similar.
So there you have my contribution to your vintage Thanksgiving table. Give it a try.
This vintage recipe from the 1933 book Balanced Recipes is a mild and comforting take on the traditional holiday classic. The original recipe has been adapted and expanded upon by me to provide clarity.
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 360 kcal
1 15 oz
Pie crust, unbaked
Preheat oven to 475F. Prepare chosen pie crust/pastry shell - only one crust is needed. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and place in pie plate. Crimp edges and place prepared pie plate onto a cookie sheet to contain spills.
In a mixer, beat eggs. Add all remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly. The resulting mixture will be very fluid.
Pour into the prepared pastry shell and bake in hot oven 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake approximately 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. It may be damp, but as long as globs of pumpkin do not cling to the knife it is ok. Check your crust as it cooks and cover with foil as needed or cover with a pie shield to ensure it does not burn.
Turn off the oven, prop open the oven door with the handle of a wooden spoon, and allow pie to cool in the oven to help prevent cracks from forming on the surface. Decorate as desired with pastry cut-outs or whipped cream. Slice and serve when cool.
Calories noted are factored using Ina Garten's Perfect Pie Crust recipe, in conjunction with the vintage recipe.