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Victorian pumpkin pie

No Thanksgiving table is complete without a classic pumpkin pie. For a retro variation, try this recipe from the late 1800s.

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If you are not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, you may prefer this version. The molasses cloaks the pumpkin flavor and the absence of cinnamon may trick your taste memories away from declaring,”Oh, I’m eating pumpkin pie. It must be Thanksgiving.” The ginger is not overpowering at all, and a smooth finish of whipped cream pairs very nicely with the molasses flavor.

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Kendra Nordin is a staff editor and writer for the weekly print edition of the Monitor. She also produces Stir It Up!, a recipe blog for CSMonitor.com.

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With the arrival of Libby’s canned pumpkin in 1929, came the annual tradition of baking a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Molasses got the boot.

This earlier version calls for stewed pumpkin. I ended up roasting my pumpkin before puréeing it. You’ll also want to let it sit in a sieve for a few minutes to let the extra juices run out.

Victorian pumpkin pie may not be as fashionable as mini pumpkin flans swimming in caramel sauce, but if you show up at Thanksgiving dinner offering one of these, you’ll be so retro you’ll be hip.

Victorian pumpkin pie

2 cups stewed pumpkin purée

 1 cup rich sweet milk (I used sweet condensed milk)

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon ginger

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten lightly

Sift flour over bottom of pie shell. Bake until pie is brown in center. (I started the oven at 425 degrees F. for 10 minutes, then reduced the heat to 325 degrees F. and baked for 45 minutes. When a knife inserted near the center came out clean, it was done. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately with whipped cream or refrigerate.)

This post is part of the First Saturday program at The Mary Baker Eddy Library, which is sponsoring a month-long look at 19th-century foodways.

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