Tuesday, November 25, 2014

To Grandma's House I Went - With a Pumpkin Pie

I attended college in the United States, but my parents lived overseas, - too far for me to go home for any of the shorter breaks during the year. My grandparents, however, lived about three hours away from my campus, so I would catch a ride to their house during Thanksgiving break.  It was always fun to spend the weekend with them, and most of my mother's side of the family would gather for the Thanksgiving meal.

My sophomore year I decided that I should contribute to the meal. I offered to make the pumpkin pies.  My friends questioned my sanity, when they learned I had assumed responsibility for such an important part of the dinner. They asked, "Aren't you worried they won't turn out? People take pumpkin pie seriously on Thanksgiving."



Well, I wasn't worried - until they told me I should be.

Suddenly, canned pumpkin didn't sound like such a worthy ingredient.  I didn't have a car, and I have no memory of how I transported a big pumpkin back to my dorm; but I do remember cutting one up, boiling it, mashing it with a potato masher, and then draining the puree in a colander.  It took a long time, and was a lot messier to make in my small dorm kitchen than I had expected!

I was so worried that the pie would not be special enough, that I made a lot of changes to the recipe.  I still have the cookbook I used, with most of the amounts of the ingredients crossed out and changed. For example, I doubled the recommended amount of all the spices. It is surprising the pie turned out at all!  But - it did.

My pumpkin pies were a huge hit at Thanksgiving that year. I thought perhaps my relatives were just being kind. However, I have made the very same pumpkin pie recipe many times since, and it has always received rave reviews. Fortunately, somewhere along the way, I discovered that using canned pumpkin does not make a difference in the texture or taste ... which greatly simplifies the preparation.

I became very close to my grandparents during those college visits.  I have always been thankful for the "home-away-from-home" that they provided for me. Making this pie always brings back those good memories.


Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving Pie recipe?

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10 comments :

  1. I love pumpkin pie - it's actually one of my favorite breakfast foods! How wonderful that you got to spend that time with your grandparents.

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    1. I think it is wonderful for breakfast too!

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  2. Much as I love pumpkin, I have never had pumpkin pie. It is a savoury meal in my head...

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    1. It is actually a very sweet pie. Hard to describe though, if you have never had it. A custard, sort of - but thicker.

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  3. Absolutely adore pumpkin pie. Nothing says Thanksgiving to me like it! I taught a friend's daughter to make it and we used the sugar pumpkins - great size and perfect for the job. I tend to use canned more often than not though. How special that you were able to connect with your grandparents on such a special level. My nephew was the same. His folks lived in another province when he was going to university but happily my parents were a mere 20 minutes away. He had dinner with them every Thursday.

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    1. My grandmother outlived my grandfather by about a decade and our relationship continued to deepen over time. She lived to attend my wedding, and I still miss her very much. How nice of you to give some cooking lessons to a friend! Your post inspired me to buy some mincemeat the other day - I may need to get your ratio for the other ingredient you add (AKA rum), so I can make some mincemeat tarts!

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  4. Great story. I love pumpkin pie (made with canned pumpkin). The first pie I made once married (and for a gathering at my husbands family) I forgot the sugar ;-). Happy Thanksgiving

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    1. I hope you just pretended like you meant to leave it out - and blamed someone for not serving it with the first course!

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  5. I have never made a pie that didn't come out of a box first! I feel like a slacker!

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  6. When I first moved to Greece I really missed those canned pumpkins. Down here things were made from scratch. SoI had a lot of improvising to do. This recipe looks a lot like mine. I'm going to pin it and make it for this year. Thanks.

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