Pumpkin pie graces many tables as a traditional dessert for Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas. There are a variety of recipes, and it all began due to some early American settlers from southern New England back in 1621. These settlers made a pumpkin pie of sorts, but without the crust. They stewed pumpkins or filled a hollowed out pumpkin shell with milk, honey, and spices, which was then baked in hot ashes.
By the beginning of the 18th century, as Thanksgiving had become an important regional holiday, pumpkin pie had earned its place at the table. So much so, that in 1705 Colchester, a small town in Connecticut, famously postponed thanksgiving for a week, as there was not enough molasses available to make pumpkin pie.
In 1796 Amelia Simmons created the first cookbook to be written by an American and published in the United States, called American Cookery. It was so popular that it was kept in reprints for 35 years. On pages 34 and 35, it contains the following recipes for what was then called Pompkin Pudding, which we now know as pumpkin pie. The recipe shown below is exactly as it was written, including the spelling.
No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints milk, six beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, cross and chequer it, and bake in dishes three quarters of an hour.
No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, alspice and ginger in a crust, bake I hour.
*Pastes No. 7 and 3, were pastry recipes for sweetmeats and tarts (pages 37 and 38).
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