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Friday, October 28, 2011

American Pie

Jack O' Lantern is making his annual visit. We'll soon see him with his glowing toothy grin leering from porches and windows across America. Jack's name reveals his Celtic origins. He may have come to this country from Ireland, but he acquired his round, orange countenance right here. On the ould soil, he was carved from turnips and rutabagas.
Pumpkins are native to the Western Hemisphere. It was cultivated in Central America as early as 5500 B.C, as a staple of the Native American diet. They introduced it to European settlers who soon added it to their diet as well. The Europeans learned the versatility of the pumpkin, roasting its seeds, using it in stews, soups and breads, cutting the dried shells into strips and weaving them into mats. They used the leaves and blossoms raw or fried as vegetables. Pumpkins served medicinal purposes as a remedy for snakebite, a cure for freckles, and its seeds were considered a protection from prostate cancer.
The early European settlers made pumpkin pies by hollowing out the shell and filling it with milk, honey and spices before baking it. Whether this recipe came from Native Americans or not is unknown.
Whether you puree the remains of your Halloween pumpkin or take a can off the shelf, here's my favorite pie recipe for this season.
1 c. solid pack pumpkin
1 c. apple butter
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. undiluted evaporated milk
9 inch deep dish pie shell
 Streusel topping: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional).
 Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine filling ingredients in order given; pour into pie shell. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted two inches from center comes out clean. Top with streusel topping. Bake for additional 15 minutes.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie.
Note: Cover pie crust with foil pieces or cut 9 inch circle of foil; cut out center leaving 1 inch wide ring of foil, place foil halo over crust edges. 

Barbara Scott is the author of  West of Heaven, Cast a Pale Shadow, and Talk of the Town


heavy hedonist said...

Thanks, Barbara, for the idea of adding apple butter to pumpkin pie. I'm a long-time foodie, but I have never seen this recipe before. Can't wait to try it!

Barbara Scott said...

It is yummy. I learned the recioe after seeing the long line waiting to pay $5 a slice for it at a fundraising buffet.

marybelle said...

I have never eaten Pumpkin Pie. Not something that appeals terribly. I should give it a go since people rave.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks for the post, Barbara. You ALMOST made me want to cook. LOL

Donna M. McDine said...

Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Sounds delicious!

pptiger tiger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Marie said...

I have never visited this site before and was pleased to see it and hope to get some ideas.
I would like to have an Lincoln Party in Feb. Wondering if I should do a meal, or just go with an old time desert like your pie maybe. I have a good idea for the invite and am planning in my mind while I recuperate from being quite ill. Can you advise me at all? I am Helen Marie Thanks a lot.

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