When the weather starts getting colder, we can look forward to seeing all things pumpkin cropping up in our grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and more. Pumpkin pie may be the original food associated with the changing of seasons. As a symbol of harvest time eaten during fall and early winter when pumpkins are in season.
Pumpkins are native to North America and commonly associated with the American holiday, Thanksgiving. However, the pumpkin pie is not native to America but England. Starting as an early export to France, pumpkins were later introduced to Tudor, England where many recognized their potential as being a great pie filler.
Recipes for pumpkin pie started to appear in English cookbooks in the 17th century but were not found in American cookbooks until the 19th century. Until then, Americans commonly used pumpkins to make soups. In all fairness, pumpkins can be used so much more than just soup for a sweet earthy taste.
Early recipes for pumpkin pies varied and were quite divergent from the pumpkin pies we know and love today. No ovens existed so pumpkins were often stuffed with ingredients like milk, honey, apples, and spices and then heated on hot ashes to bake to create the early versions of the desserts.
However, the first American recipe published that may have paved the way for pumpkin pie was a pumpkin pudding. It was baked in a crust similar to present-day pumpkin pies and it is likely it gave rise to the recipe so many of us enjoy today.
The secret ingredient in this recipe mixes perfectly with the incredible tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. That ingredient is molasses! It creates a wonderfully smooth, thick filling with a richer taste. However, do be aware that molasses can be a very strong flavor so it's best to not go overboard.
This pumpkin pie recipe is truly old-fashioned homemade goodness in every bite. We recommend you try our recipe for pie crust to complete the after-dinner perfection. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and watch the joy that comes to the faces of anyone who tastes it.
Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie
Pastry for 1 pie crust (recipe here)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups fresh pumpkin puree (instructions below)
2 Tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon dark molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat.
3. Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl until frothy. Add scalded milk, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in pumpkin, butter, sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
5. Pour filling into prepared crust, and bake until center is firm about 45 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
6. When ready to serve, beat chilled cream with a mixer until soft peaks form. Serve on top of a pie or in a separate bowl for individual serving.
How To Make Pumpkin Puree from A Fresh Pumpkin
1. Split a medium pumpkin crosswise, and remove and discard seeds and fibers.
2. Place pumpkin, cut side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 325F until tender, about 1 hour.
3. Scrape pulp away from the skin, and discard the skin.
4. Place pulp in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, and process in batches, until smooth.
5. Push the puree through a coarse sieve. Measure 1 1/4 cups puree for the recipe, and store the remaining puree for up to 6 months in the freezer (tightly covered).
The image featured at the top of this post is ©jatrax/ via Getty Images.