How Did Colonists Bake Pumpkin Pies?

Colonists baked pumpkin pies by stewing pumpkins in milk, honey and spices before cooking them in shells or pots placed on hot ashes. Pumpkin pie with a pastry shell didn't exist until 1651 when the French recipe "tourte of pumpkin" was brought over by English settlers. Other recipes used by the colonists through the late 1700s include "pumpion pie" and "pompkin pudding."

Colonists made tourte of pumpkin by boiling pumpkin in milk and then straining it into a thick sauce mixed with sugar, salt and butter. The sauce is poured over a pastry shell, baked and sprinkled with sugar. The "pumppion-pie" recipe of 1670 calls for cutting the pumpkin into thin slices, dipping the pieces in beaten eggs and spices, and frying the pumpkin pieces. The colonists then placed it in a pie with currants, raisins, butter, sugar and apples.

Colonists made the pumpion pie of 1671 by beating pumpkin slices with marjoram, rosemary, parsley, and thyme and adding in cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. They mixed in 10 eggs and sugar to taste, and then fried the mixture. The pumpkin mixture was spooned into a pie with apples, currants, and butter and baked.

Colonists made pumpkin pie, or pompkin pudding, in 1796 by combining 1 quart of stewed and strained pumpkin with 3 pints of cream, 9 beaten eggs and sugar to taste along with nutmeg and ginger.