The Pumpkin Series: "To Make a Pumpion Pie"
To Make a Pumpion Pie
"Take a Pumpion, pare it, and cut it in thin slices, dip it in beaten Eggs and Herbs shred small, and fry it till it be enough, then lay it into a Pie with Butter, Raisins, Currants, Sugar and Sack, and in the bottom some sharp Apples; When it is baked, butter it and serve it in."
Hannah Woolley, The Queen-Like Closet 1670
So, to be honest, I tried with this venture not to make a pumpkin pie. I will now admit that I fully failed in this venture, mainly because if I did I wouldn't have been able to try out this receipt!
The thing I found most exciting about it was that, unlike the rest of the pumpkin pie recipes I have looked at, is that this is an imitation of an apple pie, rather than the pureed creamy custard we normally expect. And then, thinking back to the previous post about stewing "pompions" like apples, I realized that when the pumpkin was making it's debut in the European culinary scene that it had to be compared to something in taste and texture. And I guess, for the English anyway, that would be apples.
So, taking on this version of pumpkin/apple pie, I was excited to see how close it would get to being an apple pie. Or, if it didn't, what exactly it would look/taste like.
For this particular receipt, I decided to use the Delicata Squash. Now, unlike the other pumpkins I chose, this one is more of a summer squash. But it handles being fried and baked very well, and since this receipt called for both processes I decided it would work best.
So began the scooping of the seeds/membranes, pealing the outer skin (which was very easy since it was so thin), and then cutting the halves into thin, long half rings.
I then beats the eggs with "Herbs shred small". For this I used marjoram and thyme. I was very lucky when I did this that I still had fresh marjoram and thyme growing in my pots. I will say now I have to rely on my dried herbs. But if you have a small area to grow some herbs for cooking, marjoram and thyme are wonderful!
So I dipped the pieces of squash and fried them till both sides were brown and crunchy. And delicious! I had to try one, for quality purposes of course! Then I drained them on a paper towel.
Then I prepped my apple. For this one, I used a tart Macintosh, but you could use any tart apple you wish. I sliced it into the same size pieces as the squash.
Then I gathered my other ingredients. I sadly lacked raisins that day, so I had to make due with just currants. And I sadly didn't have any sack available, so I had to content myself with this bottle of wine... I mean use some of this wine instead... right... anyway...
I then prepped my pie dough. I made it with the simple flour/water/butter/eggs mixture. It keeps well in the fridge or even frozen! I then divided the dough in half and put it in a pie pan.
As per the receipt, it was a layer of apples on the bottom, which I put some sugar, currents and wine over the apples. Then a layer of squash with some more sugar/wine/currants and then another layer of squash with some more sugar/wine/currants. Then I put the butter at the top (I'm assuming to add some more moisture and flavor to everything, or because it's butter).
Then I rolled out the second half of the pie crust and laid it out on top. I did some amateur crimping along the sides along with a quaint air hole pattern on top. All along thinking of those elaborate pie crust videos on Facebook. Yeah, not for this pie!
So into the oven, 375 degrees for what was 75 minutes in total, mainly until the pie crust browned. I have a feeling my oven was being finicky that night so it might take much less time if you try it yourselves!
So, once properly cooled, I cut a slice and sat down next to my professional taste tester in my house, my husband! Thanks hon!
We both had a few bites and were VERY surprised about how much it taste like... wait for it... APPLE PIE!!!
I kid you not! In fact I hadn't told my husband what I thought it should taste like and he said to me "If you hadn't told me there was pumpkin in there I would have thought it was a warm apple pie."
Even with the savory-eggy crust on the pumpkin, it seemed to melt in your mouth when you took a bite. But still had some firmness. The sugar gave the right amount of sweetness yet the wine helped to give it that extra bite you expect from apples. Again, using something that has a tart note to help give the illusion of apples. Though this does have apple as well, the bulk of it is pumpkin.
Those English knew what they were doing! Especially Hannah Woolley!
So if you have some pumpkins leftover from this fall's harvest, I highly recommend this as an alternative to the custardy pumpkin pie we all know and love (or most people love)!
And, soon after we finished consuming this pie my husband inquired when I was to make it again. Hence gaining the highest seal of approval in the Booth Household!