Real Pumpkin Pie

I can’t think of anything better than enjoying a meal or two with the entire family. The drama, laughter, tears, shouting and over indulgence is better than any football tailgate party or episode of Entourage. Ever since I can remember, the holiday and occasional Sunday get togethers were full of simmering emotions, uneven food contributions and at least one mildly inebriated relative passed out on the couch. There was never any lack of fodder for many a future therapist.

One side of our family could be counted on for entire meals that were brown. There was some sort of “roast”, potatoes in gravy, buttered brown bread, iced tea, bourbon for a discreet few and, in the fall, (and if we were lucky) a pumpkin pie. All brown but, with the addition of the pie, all good. The acrid sweet smell of my grandmother’s cheap perfume combined with the cloud of Chesterfield smoke was enough to squash my already fragile appetite. But the pie, the pie made the whole day nearly worthwhile. Stats

There were so many moving parts to these days on the other side of town, where I couldn’t walk home, that the memories are as hazy as the front porch filled with all of the smokers. My grandmother (and hence my father) was Catholic. This is another whole story that is not the least bit appetizing. I only mention it so you understand this next twist in the Sunday lunch. My uncle, his wife and six kids always came in two cars. No one thought anything of it. They were a big family and needed that much transportation. They came from over two hours away, which, as it turned out, was a blessing. It was not until years and years later, and way after the death of my grandmother, did I find out that they had been divorced the entire time, but showed up as a family unit on those occasions. That is but a morsel of the family drama that I often missed by being too young. What was just under the surface has since surfaced and what fun it is to think back and realize what was really going on. Thank goodness for the pie.


  • 1 Medium Sugar Pumpkin (Yielding 3 Cups)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Pie Shells (See Earlier Recipe)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon All Spice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla  Extract
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream or Half and Half



  • 2 Pie Plates
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Wire Whip
  • Blender, Stick Blender or Food Processor
  1. Pre heat oven to 400.
  2. Clean, peel and cube the pumpkin.
  3. Place in a single layer on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.
  4. Roast the pumpkin for 30-45 minutes, until soft.
  5. Let cool a little.
  6. Puree pumpkin. This should take about 3-4 minutes with a stick blender.
  7. In mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, spices, eggs and milk and whip or blend with a hand mixer or stick blender. You want a smooth mix.
  8. Pour into pie crusts.
  9. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn down to 350 for 50-60 minutes. A knife should come out clean when poked anywhere in the pie. Don’t make a mess.

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