Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 pint milk
1/2 c. brandy
1 bottom pie crust
Additional pie dough, cut in strips and twisted (optional)
Stew a fine sweet pumpkin till soft and dry; rub it through a sieve, mix with the pulp six eggs [beaten] quite light, a quarter of a pound of butter, half a pint of new milk, some pounded ginger and nutmeg, a wine glass of brandy, and sugar to your taste. Should it be too liquid, stew it a little drier, put a paste [strip of pie dough] round the edge, and in the bottom of a shallow dish or plate–pour in the mixture, cut some thin bits of paste, twist them, and lay them across the top, and bake it nicely.
From The Virginia Housewife or, Methodical Cook, by Mary Randolph, 1841
Comment: Canned pumpkin is so universally available, and so cheap, that few indeed are the people who make a pie by starting with a raw fruit of the vine. Since the situation was quite reversed in Mrs. Randolph’s day, she omits a few processing details. These include the detachment of the rind (the hard, thin outside shell) from the edible part of the pumpkin (the soft yellow-orange flesh) and of course the removal of seeds and strings from the very center as you do when making the jack-o-lantern at Halloween.
The stewing process is probably best accomplished in a double boiler to avoid scorching, since the intent is to use just barely enough water to cook all the chunks through and then evaporate.
The rest of the recipe is quite straightforward, until of course we get to those elaborate cooking instructions: “bake nicely.” The usual directions for pumpkin pie baking say to start at 450 degrees for the first 15 minutes and then reduce to 350 for the remaining 45 or so. The use of any sort of top crust is unusual today but might be considered if this is to be made for an educational or other public setting such as a living history exhibit or fundraising project.
We note that this pie is called a pudding but is basically a custard. Thus does nomenclature change over time.