Old Time Mennonite Pumpkin Pie Recipe


I found this recipe eons ago in the Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter.   This vintage collection is fun to read simply for the colorful descriptions of rural life, back in the day,  and the quaint illustrations.  It’s also a treasure of old-fashioned recipes and useful ‘how tos.’  The by gone age this book hearkens back to is reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, though some Old Order Mennonites and Amish still live that way.  Maybe back-to-earth homesteaders do as well, although I suspect many of them have computers.  As  for the rest of us, the Mennonite Community Cookbook is entertaining and has many excellent recipes.  However, they weren’t created for the modern time conscious cook.  This is the ‘make it from scratch’ book.

Regarding  pumpkins, my youngest daughter Elise is an avid fan  so every May/June we set out our cherished seedlings and every July/August we fight a mostly losing battle to keep them alive.  But there was a time when every insect in the world didn’t attack our vines and we had enough pumpkins to make our own pie filling.  Wow, what a feeling.  Maybe someday.  Next summer we shall triumph in the garden!  We say that every year.  And we actually believe it.  Hope truly does spring eternal for gardeners.  Either that or we’re incredibly gullible.  I think the wonders of spring lure us to giddy heights.

Onto the recipe.  It assumes you, of course, grew your own pumpkins, but you can substitute canned.  If you do want to grow your own, seed catalogues specify which varieties are best.  These are the medium/small kinds with names like ‘Small sugar,’ not the ones grown for size.  The larger pumpkins produce a watery filling and are grown only for show.   Elise and I are ever in search of good organic methods to thwart vine borers and other pumpkin pests so if you have any tried and true suggestions, please share them.  We found planting radishes in the pumpkin hills and letting these go to seed seemed to help deter insects, as did planting pumpkins in random places where we’ve never grown them before, such as in with the native clematis vine taking over the backyard that we call ‘the beast.’  ‘The Beast cradled our last surviving pumpkin and hid the orange globe from evil doers.

Pumpkin Pie:

1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups scalded milk

3 eggs, separated

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tab. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cloves

Pastry for one 9 inch pie crust.

****

Cook pumpkin and rub through a sieve.

Add beaten egg yolks, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and mix well.

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Pour mixture into unbaked crust.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 30 minutes.

*I reduced the milk by 1/2 cup.

*I use good sized eggs

*Elise and her prize pumpkin saved by The Beast.

*Three of the best pumpkins for pie making are heirloom varieties: Small Sugar, Connecticut Field and the Cinderella Pumpkin (Rouge Vif D`etampes). This last one is the most beautiful deep orange ribbed pumpkin pictured above.  The smaller ones in the pic are small sugar.

16 responses to “Old Time Mennonite Pumpkin Pie Recipe

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Beth. I love pumpkin pie. My aunt always makes it from scratch. I’ve never tried. I think I shall this year and try this recipe. AJ

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  2. Thanks for the recipe. My grandmother was Mennonite, and they made everything from scratch. Pumpkin is a chore to cook and process, but you get a different flavor from fresh pumpkin than from canned pumpkin.

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  3. I love pumpkin pie but never tried to bake one. What I like even more is to dry the seeds and roast them in a oven. They are delicious to crack and munch on.

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  4. My Mom use to use this recipe when she made Pumpkin Pie ~ always a good one!!

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  5. Yummy. This actually sounds a great deal like my grandmother’s recipe, which I lost last year. Now I am hungry for it. I would caution people that if you use fresh pumpkin make sure you get rid off all the strings if the flesh has them.

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  6. this is a easy way to prepare pumpkins for backing. cut a top hat from top of pumpkin. not to big just enough to scrape out seeds pumpkin. this will be used a a hat when baking..you scrape out seeds and put top back on..then you bake in oven at 250 until soft . you then can scrape the pumpkin from the inside and it will fall like mashed potatoes.. no scraping hard pumpkin, diff time for size pumpkins. it makes it so easy. the top is like a lid as the pumpkin bakes…

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  7. Beth, I grow pumpkins every year (Connecticut Field, love ’em!), make my own pies & roast tons of pumpkin seeds. My daughters and I just carved our first pumpkins of the season last night! 🙂 This recipe is a little different than the one I use, but I’ll give it a try for Thanksgiving. My mom will love that it’s a Mennonite recipe. 🙂 One question, you have cloves listed twice, is that correct, a total of 1-1/4 ts. cloves, or is the ts. supposed to be cinnamon?

    And thanks again for the books, I know she’s going to love them!

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  8. I grew up in Denbigh, VA, Beth, and we were right in the middle of a Mennonite Colony. I remember riding my bike home with a pumpkin pie in the basket and a bag of peaches hung on the handle bars. Best produce in the world, but especially the peaches and the pumpkin pies. Of course there were apples and lots of vegetables, too, but I was partial to those. You have inspired me. think I’ll make a pie or two!

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