Hurry and get the work done,” said Ma. “And then, Laura, you go to the corn-patch and bring me a green pumpkin. I’m going to make a pie!” “A pie! But how…” Mary said, and Laura said, “A green pumpkin pie? I never heard of such a thing, Ma.” “Neither did I,” said Ma. “But we wouldn’t do much if we didn’t do things that nobody ever heard of before.
—The Long Winter
Pumpkin pie is one of my family’s favorite things about Thanksgiving. This traditional dessert has been gracing holiday tables for centuries. It’s so simple to make, and the taste highlights the best flavors of fall.
Pumpkin pie made an appearance on several occasions in the Little House on the Prairie books. Ma made this dessert for Thanksgiving, but that wasn’t the only time. In The Long Winter, she even managed to make a pie out of green pumpkins. Some of the pumpkin crop wasn’t able to ripen because the cold weather set in early that year, but Ma still found a way to get dessert on the table.
In modern times, many people take a shortcut and use canned pumpkin puree to make a pie. I’ve made many pies this way, but I also like to use fresh pumpkin sometimes. It’s easy to make homemade pumpkin puree by roasting sugar pumpkins. Either way, this classic pumpkin pie recipe will make everyone want seconds.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the crust, mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Slice the cold butter into small pieces and add them to the flour. Blend together with your fingertips until the mixture is uniformly coarse. Continue to toss the mixture with a spoon as you add up to 4 tablespoons of ice water. The dough is ready when it easily comes together. (Shortcut: You can also mix these ingredients together in a food processor.)
- Shape the dough into a ball and flatten the ball into a disc. Chill the dough in the fridge while you prepare the pie filling.
- To make the filling, place all the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine well.
- Dust a work surface lightly with flour and flatten the ball of dough on it. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle 2 inches wider than your pie pan and 1/8 inch thick. Roll from the center of the dough to the edge, giving it a slight turn after each roll. Carefully place the dough in the pie pan.
- Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the pie is set in the middle and the outer edges of the filling start to crack.
- Cool completely before cutting.
Do you grow pumpkins in your garden? Do you like to use pumpkins in other recipes? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below. Please see other Little House on the Prairie recipes for amazing old-fashioned foods.
The author drew ideas and inspiration from The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker (New York: Harper & Row, 1979). You can read a review of this wonderful resource by clicking here.
Annemarie Rossi is the creator of Real Food Real Deals and the author of Conquering Your Kitchen. Her website provides recipes and tips to help families eat healthy food on a budget. Annemarie’s work has been featured in many places, including the Non-GMO Cookbook, Edible Boston magazine, Fox News Online, Babble, and Huffington Post. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.