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The History of Pumpkin Pie

The History of Pumpkin


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When was the first Pumpkin pie?
The basics of pumpkin pie go back to
writings in Medieval times sometime before the 1500's
where pumpkin was stewed with sugar and spices and
wrapped in pastry.

Pumpkin pie is very popular in the United States and Canada.
In other parts of the world it is hardly ever served. It is most popular first during Thanksgiving and second Christmas holiday. To many it is a symbol of Fall and the harvest.

Some of the earliest recorded recipes of pumpkin pie may have come from the French.

"Tourte of pumpkin. (Pompion)
Boile it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds; let all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste; bake it. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve."
--- The French Cook , Francois Pierre La Varenne [1653], Translated into English in 1653 by I.D.G., Introduced by Philip and Mary Hyman [East Sussex:Southover Press} 2001 (p. 199-200)
[NOTE: the word pumpkin is thought to derive from the old French word pompion, which in turn is derived from the Greek pepon, meaning melon. The tip of this complicated linguistic puzzle!]

"To make a Pumpion Pie.

Take a pound of pumpion and slice it, a handful of thyme, a little rosemary, and sweet marjoram stripped off the stalks, chop them small, then take cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and a few cloves all beaten, also ten eggs, and beat them, them mix and beat them all together, with as much sugar as you think fit, then fry them like a froise, after it is fried, let it stand till it is cold, then fill your pie with this manner. Take sliced apples sliced thin round ways, and lay a layer of the froise, and a layer of apples with currants betwixt the layers. While your pie is sitted, put in a good deal of sweet butter before your close it. When the pie is baked, take six yolks of eggs, some white-wine or verjuyce, and make a caudle of this, but not too thick, but cut up the lid, put it in, and stir them well together whilst the eggs and pumpion be not perceived, and so serve it up."
--- The Accomplisht Cook , Robert May, facisimile reprint 1685 edition [Prospect Books:Devon] 2000 (p. 224)

By the time it got to early America the name had changed to Pompkin

1796"Pompkin (pie)
American Cookery, Amelia Simmons

This is from the Economical Housekeeper

by Esther Allen Howland


Recipes and Links

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake


Links and acknowledgementsOnline Etymology dictionary

The Penguin Companion to Food
Alan Davidson

Feeding America


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