American recipe: Pumpkin pie from scratch

Thanksgiving is often one of the big challenges for Americans in France. We suddenly find ourselves without Grandma's recipes and expertise, and without and Libby's pumpkin!

The saying “as American as apple pie” might be more accurate if it mentioned pumpkin pie. This holiday treat was included in the country’s first cookbook in 1796, American Cookery, by an American Orphan by Amelia Simmons. Pumpkins and other gourds were introduced to the settlers in New England by the Native Americans. Two hundred years later, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the quintessential pumpkin pie for dessert.

In France you can buy courge (winter squash) in markets and any large grocery store. For making one pumpkin pie, buy at least 2 kilos of squash. Was the squash well. Cut it into 2-inch pieces and cook on high in the microwave until soft. Cut the orange squash away from the tough edge. Using a blender or food processor, puree the squash until smooth. There's your pumpkin puree!

Here's the show-stealer. Pumpkin pie, made from scratch. If you need a good, simple pie crust recipe, go here.)

2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk or light cream (15 %)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pie crust, unbaked

In mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree, sugar, and seasonings. Add eggs, mixing well. Add evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir well. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into pastry-lined pie pan.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or longer, until pumpkin pie is set. Place a large piece of foil over the pie if it starts getting too brown. Check doneness by inserting a knife into the center. If it comes out clean, you're good to go!

Serve warm or cool with whipped cream.

More holiday recipes, tailored to France, here.


Jean-Bob said...

This is great! I was getting worried that I would not be able to pull off a Pumpkin Pie.

I have a question. Can you write a section about which wine to get to drink with a Thanksgiving feast?


Carissa Rodriguez said...

Did you buy the unbaked pie crust? If so where? I'm currently living in France and I don't have all the utensils to make the crust from scratch so buying it is my best choice. Thanks for the recipe!

Dori said...

If you're living in Lyon you might call Little Britain and ask if they have one. If not, The closest thing they have for that here is a pâte brisée which you could buy at most any grocery store. It's the same thing used for quiches and tarts.

Even without utensils I can still manage to make pie crust. Instead of a pastry cutter you can use a fork. That's the way I was raised to make it. You can also do it with your fingers. I didn't think so at first, but it's easier than you think. Just make sure not to over work the dough. To roll it out, you can use a glass, or a smooth jar. Good luck.