Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pumpkin Pie with Cream


I am a pumpkin pie traditionalist* (the recipe on the can is fine by me, as long as the crust is homemade) but because so many others crave the next new thing, or something different, I present this super unusual pumpkin pie.  In fact, it's less a pumpkin pie than a custard pie beneath a thin layer of pumpkin custard and a slightly caramelized top "crust." (No one was more surprised than me when I cut into this beauty and discovered the layers.)

It's really, really good and would make a nice addition to the Thanksgiving table this year, if you aren't married to tradition (or to someone who is).

The recipe is old -- probably from around 1910 -- and appears in Mrs. Grace Osborne's Cakes of Quality, which you can read about here.  I've recently learned that Mrs. Grace Osborne didn't exist -- "she" was the creation of a married couple (Dr. and Mrs. C. Frank Porter) from Bay City, Michigan, who, along with their son, sold cookbooks ("written" by Grace) and baking supplies under that name.  (Mrs. Osborne appeared even before the other, more famous imaginary home cook, Betty Crocker, the latter making her debut in 1921.)

So, if you want to serve a pumpkin pie from a recipe more than 100 years old, start by mixing the pumpkin (canned is fine) and sugar.


Add the pumpkin mixture to the beaten egg yolks and then add the milk and cream, followed by the whipped egg whites.  Fold those in carefully with a rubber spatula.


Pour the batter into an unbaked 9-inch pie crust and place in a hot oven.  The layers will magically form during baking.


The indentations in the top are where I inserted a stainless steel knife (not the "silver fork" suggested in the recipe) to check for doneness.


Cutting into the pie revealed the surprising layers. It's actually a four-layer confection: crust, egg custard, pumpkin custard and top "crust" which forms while baking.


Production notes:
First, while the pie was delicious and worked perfectly (if, indeed, this is the way it was supposed to turn out), I only made it once, and can't guarantee its success, so baker beware.  Having said that, I would make this again in a minute -- it's that good.

I preheated the oven to 450 F and turned it down to 350 F after 10 minutes.  Then I baked it for 35 more minutes.  There will be slightly more filling than can fit in a 9-inch crust, so you can use a 10-inch pie pan or even possibly go deep dish on this.


*A still traditional, but extra special pie, is Arthur Schwartz's Custard Pumpkin Pie, which I make when I have the luxury of time.  Recipe is here.

14 comments:

  1. Entertaining and mouthwatering as usual. I like the author's "silver fork" detail. Those were the days!

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    1. Yes, Madeline, I admit that I used a stainless steel knife to check the pie!

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  2. Yes, that is the way it is supposed to turn out. It's the whipping the egg whites separately that does it, evidently. I just saw a similar pumpkin pie recipe from the WWII era that said it would do the same thing. Yours looks great! I plan to try it this weekend.

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    1. Good to know, Erika. Thanks for writing!

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  3. Mine are in the oven now....and smelling delicious! Good thing I had two crusts....both were filled. SO - an unexpected treat for my dinner guests...someone gets to take home a pie!

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  4. Hummm, my pies are almost exactly opposite of the layers that your picture indicates. Very large pumpkin chiffon-like top layer with a minimal "cream" layer. Wonder what happened?

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    1. Wow! I suspect yours are the way they should come out, otherwise why call it pumpkin pie with cream? (Mine would be more aptly described cream pie with pumpkin.) How did they taste? I have no idea what would have caused such a difference. And also the amount of filling you had was so much more. I know I overbeat the egg whites (too lazy to use cream of tartar to prevent that -- never again! and too tired to start anew). Maybe that had something to do with it?

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    2. The pies were actually a big hit. I called the top layer a "pumpkin chiffon" and the guests all pronounced it the lightest pie they'd eaten. Overall the taste was excellent (that's pretty high praise from me as I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie)
      As for the amount...yeah I was a little surprised as I built the filling.....I just kept looking in the bowl and back at the recipe to make certain I was measuring things correctly. Oh well....we ate one entire pie last night for a birthday desert and now I have another for Sunday supper desert.

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  5. TXLIFTR -- Glad to hear it was delicious. Your experience has made me so curious that I think I'll give this another whirl. I love surprises!

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  6. Did you use half and half for your cream, or heavy cream?

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    1. Just out of curiosity, I wonder what would happen if you eliminated the separate milk and cream and used 2 cups of half and half? That would make the equivalent of one cup milk and one cup cream, instead of 1 1/2 milk and 1/2 cup cream.

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  7. I just bought this recipe book by Grace at an estate sale and have read it cover to cover and found myself laughing and then embracing so much of the information. Reading about her on line then, was a bit disappointing as I had conjured up a particular cook in the kitchen pointing at me with her silver knife and giving me the dickens if not following her directions to a tee. I'll try the pumpkin pie!! And, I sent this to a friend who is a fabulous cook and will appreciate it like I do.

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    1. Mrs. Porter's mother was named Grace Osborn, and I suspect that it is her personality that is displayed in the book. So her daughter really got her comeuppance that way! The baking methods -- starting cakes in a cold oven -- are quite odd and, while they "work," I don't recommend them as the way to bake cakes. Does the book you purchase have recipes from other women, or are they only from "Grace?"

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