Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly #13: Ethnic Foodways

The Challenge: 13. Ethnic Foodways November 16 - November 29
Foodways and cuisine are at the heart of every ethnic group around the world and throughout time. Choose one ethnic group, research their traditional dishes or food, and prepare one as it is traditionally made.

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible) The Old Foodie posted about 18th and 19th Century Pumpkin pie and the differences between American and English pumpkin pies. This got me to thinking - the American pumpkin pie recipe from 1852 is different from the modern pumpkin pie but still fairly recognizable. Pumpkin pie itself is still completely necessary to any American Thanksgiving meal - making it a very traditional American dish.

The Date/Year and Region: Mid 19th C - American with some English elements added

How Did You Make It:

The original recipe:
Pumpkin Pie (American).—Take out the seeds, and pare the pumpkin or squash ; but in taking out the seeds do not scrape the inside of the pumpkin ; the part nearest the seed is the sweetest; then stew the pumpkin, and strain it through a sieve or cullender. To a quart of milk, for a family pie, 3 eggs are sufficient. Stir in the stewed pumpkin with your milk and beaten-up eggs, till it is as thick as you can stir round rapidly and easily. If the pie is wanted richer make it thinner, and add sweet cream or another egg or two; but even 1 egg co a quart of milk makes " very decent pies." Sweeten with molasses or sugar; add 2 tea-spoonsful of salt, 2 table-spoonsful of sifted cinnamon, and 1 of powdered ginger; but allspice may be used, or any other spiec that may be preferred. The peel of a lemon grated in gives it a pleasant flavor. The more eggs, says an American authority, the better the pie. Some put 1 egg to a gill of milk. Bake about an hour in deep plates, or shallow dishes, without an upper crust, in a hot oven.

Based on the Old Foodie's post, just 12 years earlier, there was still talk of English pumpkin pies being made with apples and pumpkin.

I know that going back to at least WWI, that apples are a common replacement for eggs. I use them due to my nephew's egg allergy. Rather than milk in the American recipe, I used Almond milk. I can easily trace that back - through each century- back to the 13th Century as a very common replacement for cow's milk. So, based on that, here's my recipe:

Pie crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, with another cup on the side
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of coconut spread, cut into thin slices
  • enough water to make dough

First the dough. I dumped everything in a bowl and mixed it until it got into a cohesive sticky lump. I then threw it down on some tin foil - for easy clean up- with more flour on the tin foil that I worked into the dough. Once I had a good dough, I rolled it out and had enough to line two tin foil pie pans. I put these in the fridge for 30 minutes. (I used coconut spread because I'm allergic to dairy)

Pie Filling:
  • 2 cans of Libby's Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 Box of Almond Dream Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
  • 3 Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of salt

Since I'm not completely crazy, I just used the canned pumpkin that everyone uses for modern pumpkin pie. I had to use about 4 cups of almond milk - which ended up being nearly the entire box. Rather than eggs, I used apples - which is similar to the English pumpkin pie. I boiled the apples, put them in the blender, and made...applesauce! I added this to the bowl filled with mushed up pumpkin and almond milk. Once I mixed this together, I added the salt, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. It became sort of like a watery pudding which looked correct to me. I then poured this into the pie shells I made earlier and cooked the pies for an hour at 350F.

Time to Complete: 2 hours if you include the time it was in the oven
It ended up being in the oven for 2 hours and 40 minutes before the pie finally set.  Amazingly, the crust didn't burn!  I read online that a lot of other people had issues with Libby's pumpkin not cooking - one individual said it always takes them nearly 3 hours.  So...I'm not too worried. 

Total Cost: Maybe $10? I think. I wasn't paying much attention. The canned pumpkin was on sale and I had a coupon so I know that wasn't more than a couple of bucks. The almond milk was $2.19. Most of the rest I had in the pantry.

How Successful Was It?: We'll see tomorrow!!!! It looks and smells good. So, I could have cooked it a bit longer. I also probably should have cut out some of the cinnamon - I think one tablespoon would have been enough. It wasn't bad but I do need to experiment some more.

How Accurate Is It?: (fess up to your modifications and make-dos here) Since almond milk is period correct and apples were common in the English version, I'm going with pretty decent. The pie crust is another story. I had to use the coconut though because of the dairy allergy. 


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