Autumn- what a fantastic season! In addition to beautiful changing leaves, autumn conjures up mouth-watering mental images of delicious foods. Sweet potatoes. Squash. Turkey. Apple cider. And of course, pumpkin! For those of you also in the ever-growing pinterest world, you've been tempted with thousands of pictures of autumn-themed recipes. Well, here's a recipe that you will definitely want to bookmark for this holiday season- pumpkin pie!
There are two things to know about our 1820s recipe for pumpkin pie. The first is that historically, they would've called it a "receipt" and not a "recipe." The second is that they called it a pudding in a crust, and not a pie.
While they did have pie back then, a pudding stirs up a whole different style of cooking. Historical puddings can be make in a number of ways, and can be both sweet and savory. Technically, haggis (yes, that haggis) is a pudding. Many are boiled in bags, called pudding cloths, though, as with haggis, they can also be boiled in a stomach casing. In the early 19th century, receipts for puddings often referred to baked puddings, and typically mixed the main ingredients with a handful of eggs to create a custard-style dish. Many of the recipes called for the pudding to be placed in a puff paste- essentially, a bottom pie crust. This particular receipt is interesting, because it also calls for a crust treatment on the top, too.
PUMPKIN PUDDING (modern ingredient list)
-1 small/medium sized pumpkin
-half a pint of milk
-quarter pound of butter
-pinches of ginger and nutmeg
-approx. 1/2 cup brandy (optional)
-sugar (to taste, so anywhere from a 1/4 cup to 2 cups!)
We begin with cutting up the pumpkin, and removing the goo and the seeds. Save the seeds for roasting!
Randolph says to sift out a quart of flour, leaving some out for rolling later. Instead of a quart, we measured out about a quarter pound of flour for the bottom crust, with our awesome scale, and then a little less for the top crust.
Once you have your stiff paste, set aside a chunk about 1/3 the paste, and roll out the rest. Randolph says to wash the salt from a pound of butter (or, just go buy unsalted butter, because, we can do that in the 21st century!), divide the butter into parts, and then begin rolling the butter in to the paste to mix it in.
Once nice and smooth, here is where you'll need those other ingredients. Now, Randolph's receipt says to use 6 eggs, but we suggest 4-5 instead, especially if you're getting store-bought eggs. Modern chickens have been genetically engineered to be MASSIVE birds that lay MASSIVE eggs, much bigger than most birds and eggs in the early 19th century. So, it is a good idea to use a few less eggs. Add your eggs to the pumpkin, along with your milk, butter, ginger, nutmeg, sugar, and, if you'd like, brandy (put in a little less milk in this case). You don't want it too liquidy. Randolph suggests to stew the mix a little if it is too liquidy.
Unfortunately, in our excitement for the nearly-finished pie, the next set of pictures turned out a little blurry. We apologize for this, but you can imagine just how good it was starting to smell!
Let it cool, then eat!