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.
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.