Alright, so above you can see the ingredients for the pie prep, as you may have noticed I wimped out and bought a pre-made Walmart pie crust. Way easier. I used a Pyrex pie plate, lightly buttered. Then I got all the ingredients ready. I put the eggs in the mixing bowl first and I whipped them with the hand mixer. Then I added the puree, followed by the sugar and spices. Last, I added in the cream as the mixer ran. This pointer came from my dad, who said Grandma did it that way.
So I followed his guidance faithfully.
The end product fit almost perfectly in the pie form, with maybe a quarter-inch of wastage. Not bad for a 150 year old recipe! One thing that struck me immediately was the honey color of the batter. I am curious how this will translate to the color of the finished product (turned out fine).
Into the oven it went, preheated to 400F. I ran it for fifteen minutes at the higher temperature, then I reduced it to 350F for thirty minutes. At thirty minutes I gave the pie the “knife test” i.e. if you stick a knife in it and the knife comes back dirty, then go another five minutes.
Well, the pie was definitely not done yet, it still sloshed. So I set the timer for another fifteen minutes and decided to check it every five minutes. Lesson learned? This old recipe has some serious weird mojo, my dad was shocked when I told him it took a full 25 extra minutes to bake; maybe the old recipe was optimized for wood stoves. It wouldn’t surprise me.
This is what I saw at the end of the process.
It seemed to look and smell OK… I allowed it to reach room temperature.
It was time for the dreaded taste test as the evening’s dessert.
How did the Civil War pie fare?
Well, as soon as the pie cooled I decided to try a piece before the fam. Just in case it was dreadful, you know. Well… here’s my report.
I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin pie over the years, and this one was a different breed. Different in a good way. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but maybe it was because it was all fresh ingredients, with the eggs and the pumpkin sourced right here on this little patch.
There is no better way of describing the pie than to say it had a distinct nutty flavor, underlain with a rich creamy texture. It really does seem as if fresh cream is a shining star in this recipe, along with the just-picked-and-baked pumpkin itself.
Nothing was particularly overpowering, but I think it could have done with a bit less nutmeg. Maybe a tiny bit less. Surprisingly, the Walmart crust was excellent, it was just right and blended well with the pie. Crispy, but not too much and definitely not mushy.
As I stated above, it surprised both me and my dad how long this sucker stayed in the oven, but in my opinion it was really worth it.
The recipe stands as written, the “excessive” two cups of cream and all.
Whoever came up with this recipe really knew what the hell she was doing. I can’t take any credit at all; all I did was followed the departed woman’s measurements and proportions. Also, I didn’t freak when the pie took much longer than we had figured, and don’t sweat it when it rises like a soufflé.
Very, very good. Actually, one of the best I’ve ever had. Seriously.
This was a good experience.
Next up is Grandma’s gem from World War Two.
I plan to use fresh pumpkin again, and cream, just so that this is an apples-to-apples comparison.
Stay tuned. More soon.