Monday, December 6, 2010


Last year, i tried out the pumpkin pie recipe i'd found in a cookbook published in 1914 by a ladies' club in Western Maryland.  It's a pretty basic pumpkin custard, with the addition of "1 wine glass of rum and brandy each" - a wine glass, when used as a unit of measure, translates to four ounces, or half a cup.  (This useful fact i discovered in another vintage cookbook.)  It makes for a very boozy pie indeed, actually too sharp to be pleasant with the pumpkin.  Even when slathered with lots of whipped cream...

So this year, i set out to tinker with the recipe, because i thought the idea had promise.  Here's my current version:

4 cups pumpkin (cooked and puréed)
1 pint half-and-half
4 eggs
sugar to taste (this can vary substantially, depending on the sweetness of your pumpkin - i used about a cup and a half, with a fairly sweet pumpkin purée)
1-2 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup brandy

In a large bowl, add half-and-half and eggs alternately to the pumpkin purée.  Sift the salt and spices with the sugar in a separate bowl, and gradually stir into the pumpkin goop, mixing well.  Add molasses, rum, and brandy, and stir, being sure the molasses doesn't just sink to the bottom of the bowl.  Pour into pie shells (you'll have plenty for two regular pies, or possibly one regular and one deep dish) and bake promptly, at 350F.  I'd start checking it after an hour, but especially if you've prepared your own pumpkin (which always seems to be wetter than the canned stuff), it will probably take more like an hour and a half to bake before it's set.

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