- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 unbaked deep-dish pastry pie crust
In a large bowl, with wire whisk, beat pumpkin with all other ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350. Continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean. Cool. Garnish if desired.
Pumpkins have been part of the diet for Arkansas for centuries. Long before European settlers came here, Native Americans were growing them as a foodstuff — even before maize and beans. There are records of more recent times where the seeds were removed from the fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit, though often called a vegetable) and filled with honey, milk and spices such as sumac and baked directly on coals. The gourd, which gets its name from “pepon,” the Greek word for “large melon,” is cited as being used in pies back to 1570, where Bartolomeo Scappi recorded a recipe of pie blended with soft white cheeses like ricotta to make a proto-pumpkin cheesecake in his book “Opera dell’arte del cucinare.” François Pierre la Varenne in 1651 shared his take on the dish in Le Vrai Cuisinier François (The True French Cookbook) as being pureed pumpkin with ground almonds, butter and milk baked in a pastry shell. Amelia Simmons included pumpkin puddings, very similar to our modern pumpkin pies, in the first American cookbook, “American Cookery” by “An American Orphan,” in 1796.
There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned pumpkin pie. This deep-dish version actually goes by the name “Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie “and is accredited to Cleva and Charlie Smith. An identical recipe appears in Recipes from Arkansas by the Arkansas School Food Service Association. If you don’t have a deep-dish pie plate, go ahead and spread this into two separate pastry pie crusts in regular or slightly smaller dishes (8-inch works great). This will prevent an uneven pie. I also like to use the method of splitting your pie dough, rolling it translucent thin, laying in one layer and dotting it with butter before laying a second layer on, to provide a crispier crust for this dense, heavy pie.