How To Cook Pumpkin – 1891 Instructions

How To Cook Pumpkin – 1891 Instructions

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This 1891 article from Good Housekeeping emphasizes the lost art of making a proper pumpkin pie and how to cook pumpkin. It highlights the traditional method of preparing pumpkin by cutting it into strips, removing seeds and pulp, and slow-cooking it with minimal water until it becomes soft and tender. This approach enhances the pumpkin’s flavor compared to quicker methods. The article provides a recipe, recommending the use of strained pumpkin, sweet milk, spices, eggs, sugar, and cream to create a delicious custard. The pies are baked slowly until they are firm in the center. The article underscores the superiority of well-made pumpkin pie over squash pie and provides valuable insights into preserving the pie’s authentic taste and texture.

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A Correct Pumpkin Pie. Instructions from Good Housekeeping from 1891

It is a rarity to find a pumpkin pie nowadays properly made and baked as it used to be before people were too much in a hurry to do things as they should be done. It is difficult to find any semblance between the flavorless or over-spiced pies now prepared from pumpkin and the delicious old-time pie. The trouble begins with preparing the pumpkin, which is usually boiled up quickly in abundance of water in such a manner as to take all flavor from it. There is but one way to cook pumpkin properly. Cut it into long strips, remove the seeds and inside pulp and pare these strips. Put them into a porcelain-lined iron sauce pan, if you have one, or any thick sauce pan, in about two inches’ depth of boiling water. A four quart sauce pan filled with sliced pumpkin will require less than a quart of water. Cover the sauce pan, and the moment the water begins to boil set it back where its contents will merely simmer, being careful that it is covered all the time and that the water does not boil away fast enough to require that more should be added. After the pumpkin has slowly cooked in this steam for six hours, it will be soft and tender, all the water will be absorbed and it will be an entirely different vegetable from the same thing boiled half an hour or so in abundance of water. A well-made pumpkin pie is much better than a squash pie, a frequent makeshift for it even in New England.

After cooking pumpkin properly it is not necessary to wring it in a cloth, thus extracting all its flavor and leaving a dry pulp behind. It should be simply mashed and strained through the colander. Measure out two cupfuls of this strained pumpkin, add four cupfuls of sweet milk, half a teaspoonful of salt, two teaspoonfuls of ginger, one of mace, an even teaspoonful of cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Beat up five eggs with about three-quarters of a cupful of sugar and beat them into the other ingredients. Add, last of all, a cupful of cream, and taste the custard to see if it is sweet enough. Line rather deep earthen pie plates with plain paste, brushing it over with the white of an egg. Put around each pie a rim of puff paste, if you wish, and fill it with the prepared pumpkin. Bake the pies rather slowly till solid in the center in an oven well heated at the bottom.

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