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Pumpkin Pie | Sleepy Hollow

“Such heaped up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives!”

“And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies…”

-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving

What is Pumpkin Pie?

Pumpkin pie is a sweet baked dish, made of a pie shell that lines only the bottom and sides. Filled with pumpkin, sugar, cream, eggs and pumpkin pie spice (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice), the filling becomes custard-like when baked. 

Origins

what is the history of pumpkin pie?

Pumpkin pie can be traced easily to the 1600s when it was spelt ‘pompion’.

Pumpkin is a type of squash and is native to North America. As early as the 1500s, pumpkins were exported back to England, where we find them recorded in old cookbooks. With such a long history across multiple continents, it’s not surprising to find several variations as the dish evolved over each century.

By the time we come to the 1800s when Washington Irving wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in America, it’s possible you would still find a version of ‘pumpkin pie’ where a pumpkin was stuffed with apples, spices and sugar, then baked whole.

However, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons in 1796 gives a recipe for Pompkin Pudding which we know as the pumpkin pie we see today.

historical recipe

Excerpt from American Cookery, Amelia Simmons (1796)

_Pompkin_.

No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and chequer it, and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.

No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice and ginger in a crust, bake 1 hour.

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How to make pumpkin pie

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Pumpkin Pie | Sleepy Hollow

1800s-Pumpkin-Pie-recipe-Washington-Irving-Sleepy-Hollow-party

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  • Author: Bryton Taylor; Food in Literature
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F/ 230C.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients and pour into the pie crust.
  3. Reduce heat to 325F/160C when you place the pie in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
  4. A knife inserted into the middle of the pie will come out clean when finished.

pie crust recipe

This makes enough for the three pies to be served for a Sleepy Hollow feast, including a topping for the apple pie.

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Pie Crusts | Sleepy Hollow

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  • Author: Bryton Taylor; Food in Literature
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 5 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/23/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. In your mixer, add the flour salt and sugar. Next piece by piece, add cubes of butter. At some point, pulse the mixer to help it create a course meal texture. Then slowly pour in the water in a slow stream. You don’t want the dough getting wet and sticky, just enough to make the dough hold together.

Notes

Makes 4 pie shells, or 2 pie shells and their top crusts

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