Authentic Victorian Pumpkin Pie

Eleanor Rose

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I discovered a recipe for a pumpkin pie from a Victorian-era cookbook, “The Art of Cookery: A Manual for Home and Schools ” by Emma P Ewing, that surprised me for two reasons: the heavy use of molasses and no cinnamon. Molasses was a common ingredient in early New England cooking. And the use of molasses in pumpkin pie gives it a much richer, browner color. Cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, or even pumpkin pie spice is not present at all in this simple version of pumpkin pie.

If you have family members (like my hubby, @Southern Unionist) who are not huge fans of pumpkin, they may actually like this version of pumpkin pie. The molasses will hide the pumpkin flavor and the absence of cinnamon will trick their taste buds.

This 19th century recipe calls for stewed pumpkin, but you can roast the pumpkin before pureeing it. You’ll also want to let it sit in a sieve for a few minutes to let the extra juices run out. Replace the rich sweet milk with sweet condensed milk.

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(Free vintage clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

Victorian Pumpkin Pie

2 cups stewed pumpkin purée

1 cup rich sweet milk

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon ginger

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten lightly

Sift flour over bottom of pie shell. Bake until pie is brown in center.


Eleanor 🌹’s tips: Start the oven at 425°F. for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F. Bake for 45 minutes. When a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, it’s done.
 

Eleanor Rose

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Member of the Month
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Location
central NC
I will have to try to look up the cookbook you got recipe from. I don't know that one. Do you have any information on the author?
The_Art_of_Cookery.png
(Public Domain)

Emma Pike Ewing was born on a farm in Broome County, New York, in July 1838. After the Civil War, Emma held several positions, including serving as dean of the Chautauqua Assembly Cooking School and later as the director of the Model Home School of Household Economics that was affiliated with Marietta College in Ohio. She was the author of several cookbooks:
Cooking and Castle-building (1880)
Soup and Soup Making (1882)
Bread and Bread Making (1883)
Salad and Salad Making (1884)
A Text-book of Cookery, for Use in Schools (1899)
Cookery Manuals (1890)
The Art of Cookery: A Manual for Homes and Schools (1896)

EMMA_P._EWING.jpg
Emma P. Ewing (Public Domain)
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
If you have family members (like my hubby, @Southern Unionist) who are not huge fans of pumpkin, they may actually like this version of pumpkin pie. The molasses will hide the pumpkin flavor and the absence of cinnamon will trick their taste buds.​

But... but... what's the point of a pumpkin pie that doesn't taste like pumpkin? 😟

That said, I'm tempted to try it. 😁 I love gingerbread of all kinds, as well as molasses crinkle cookies, so molasses and ginger seems to be a flavor combination I appreciate.

While our concept of pumpkin pie is so tight we have "pumpkin pie spice" -- cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and either cloves or allspice or both, depending -- the spice combination was clearly not established until much later. The Virginian Housewife recipe uses ginger, nutmeg and brandy, while Catherine Beecher's has cinnamon and ginger, and this one has molasses and ginger.
 

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