Tourte of pumpkin.
Boile it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds; let all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste; bake it. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve.”
- Francois Pierre La Varenne. The French Cook , Translated into English in 1653 by I.D.G., Introduced by Philip and Mary Hyman [East Sussex: Southover Press} 2001 (p. 199-200)
This will make a pie that’s amazing like a most of the Pumpkin Pies that will be on our Thanksgiving tables. It does seem a little ironic that the earliest pumpkin pie recipe to show up in England is from a translation from a French cookbook. And the ones that show up in English cookbooks are very different then the pumpkin pies we now know and love.
Edward Johnson in The Wonderworking Providence of Sion’s Savior in New England of 1654 says, “…so that in this poor Wilderness hath not onely equalized England in food, but goes beyond it in some places for the great plenty of wine and sugar, which is ordinarily spent, apples, pears, and quince tarts instead of their former Pumpkin Pies.” (p. 210, 1910 ed.)
Apple pie we still love; Pear pies we really don’t love enough; and as for Quince….when was the last time you had a really great Quince tart? Or even a meh one? But former Pumpkin Pies? Did New England give up Pumpkin Pie – even when the fruit trees came in?