|Main ingredient(s)||Pie shell, pumpkin, eggs, condensed milk, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger|
Pumpkin pie is a traditional sweet dessert, often eaten during the fall and early winter, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States and Canada. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time and featured also at Halloween.
The pie consists of a pumpkin-based custard, ranging in color from orange to brown, baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust. The pie is generally flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
The traditional method for preparing a pumpkin pie involves the use of a "pie pumpkin" which is about six to eight inches in diameter, which is smaller than a "jack o'lantern" sized pumpkin. The pumpkin is sliced in half, and the seeds removed. The two halves are heated until soft. This was traditionally done either in an oven or over an open fire, but nowadays, stove tops and microwaves are frequently used. Sometimes the pumpkin halves are brined to soften the pulp, rather than cooked. At this point the pulp is scooped out and pureed in a blender, to ensure its consistency. The blended and cooked pulp's texture is comparable to that in a canned product.
This pulp is then mixed with eggs, evaporated and/or sweetened condensed milk, sugar, nutmeg, and other spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace), then baked in a pie shell. Some recipes may also call for substitutes to be used, such as butternut squash instead of pumpkin.
The pumpkin is native to the continent of North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BCE, has been found in Mexico. The pumpkin was an early export to France; from there it was introduced to Tudor England, and the flesh of the “pompion” was quickly accepted as pie filler. During the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie recipes could be found in English cookbooks, such as Hannah Woolley's The Gentlewoman's Companion, which was published in 1675. The recipes did not appear in American cookbooks until the early nineteenth century. Pumpkin pie did not become a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner until the early nineteenth century. The Pilgrims brought the pumpkin pie back to New England, while the English method of cooking the pumpkin took a different course. In the 19th century, the English pumpkin pie was prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar and then baking it whole.
Many companies produce seasonal pumpkin pie-flavored products such as ice cream, coffee, cheesecake, pancakes, candy, and beer. Many breweries produce a seasonal pumpkin ale, and the pumpkin spice latte is one of the most popular seasonal items sold during the autumn months at Starbucks. Throughout much of the United States it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is made from Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata ('Libbey Select' uses the Select Dickinson Pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkins).
In popular culture
Ah! on Thanksday, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?
Farewell, O fragrant pumpkin pie!
Dyspeptic pork, adieu!
Though to the college halls I hie.
On field of battle though I die, my latest sob, my latest sigh
shall wafted be to you!
And thou, O doughnut rare and rich and fried divinely brown!
Thy form shall fill a noble niche in memory's chamber whilst I pitch
my tent beside the river which rolls on through Kingston town.
And my Love—my little Nell,
the apple of my eye to thee how can I say farewell?
I love thee more than I can tell;
I love thee more than anything—but—pie!
Lydia Maria Child's 1844 Thanksgiving poem "Over the River and Through the Wood" references pumpkin pie in one of its verses: "Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done? / Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!" The Christmas-themed song "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays" makes a reference to homemade pumpkin pie being looked forward to by a man returning to his family's home in Pennsylvania. "Sleigh Ride", another popular Christmas song, also mentions sitting around a fire after being out in the snow and eating pumpkin pie. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" contains the lyric, "Later we'll have some pumpkin pie / And we'll do some caroling".
The world's largest pumpkin pie was made in New Bremen, Ohio, at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest. It was created on September 25, 2010. The pie consisted of 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 2,796 eggs, 7 pounds of salt, 14.5 pounds of cinnamon, and 525 pounds of sugar. The final pie weighed 3,699 pounds and measured 20 feet in diameter.
- "How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie". PickYourOwn.org. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- Andrew F. Smith "Pumpkins" The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Ed. Gordon Campbell. Oxford University Press, 2003. Saint Mary's College of California. 21 December 2011 <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t170.e0724
- Colquhoun, Kate (2007-12-24). "A Dessert With a Past". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Reports on the herbaceous plants and on the quadrupeds of Massachusetts, 1840
- "How did the squash get its name?". Library of Congress. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Richardson, R. W. "Squash and Pumpkin". United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Plant Germplasm System. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- "The Pumpkin- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More". Poets.org. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Leo, the Royal cadet [microform] : Cameron, George Frederick, 1854-1885 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Archive.org. 2001-03-10. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "2010 World Record Pumpkin Pie". Pumpkin Nook. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
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