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Friday, November 25, 2011

My Families Recipes - Pappy's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

 A page out of our family's history.

Some time ago, my Grandma Betty gave me my Pappy's old cookbook. He was a chef in a restaurant hotel in Seattle in the 1930's. Over the years, my mom has commented on the light and luscious pumpkin chiffon pie that Pappy used to make for the holidays. Here is the page in his book that shows this pie. I thought that he had typed the recipes in the book, but my mom said he didn't really type. The recipes are clearly for the restaurant and some of them are for very large quantities. Maybe the hotel issued this book to him. I will ask Grandma Betty when I see her next. 

I tried making a chiffon pie when I was in my 20's and it never set. Having good success with other pies, I just let it go. Somehow gelatin that was not Jell-o seemed too advanced for me. I'm delighted to say that my first attempt at this pie was very successful. I made this for my mom and grandma to enjoy and remember Pappy at Thanksgiving. 

The great thing about success with this technique is that a whole new world of chiffon pies is now open to me. The flavoring possibilities are endless. In fact, there are at least a dozen variations on this pie in Pappy's book. I'm excited to try them all - lemon, pineapple, chocolate, coffee, orange! Yum!
 Because we have some frail elders in our family, I wanted to make sure I used the most excellent eggs possible. These four beauties came from the backyard chickens of my friends, Paula and Laura. No possibility of salmonella here!
 The yolks were a gorgeous orange and the whites stood at attention!
This pie is light as air, smooth as silk and subtly spiced. 

I hope you consider investigating your family's holiday traditions and recipes this holiday season. I know that there was so much I took for granted until my elders began to leave us. I am  grateful to still have my grandma and to have become the keeper of my family's cookbooks.  It is an honor.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
1 prepared crust
1 envelope Knox gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs (I used four because they were smaller than commercial eggs)
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1/2 tsp. ginger (dry, ground ginger)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar (divided)

Soften the gelatin in the water and set aside. 

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, pumpkin, milk, salt and spices. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Pour the pumpkin mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge to cool. Stir from time to time as it cools. (Mine took about an hour.)

When the pumpkin mixture has cooled, beat the egg whites. When soft peaks form, beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until glossy.

Fold one scoop of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture to lighten it. Fold in remaining egg whites. When combined, mound into the prepared pie crust and chill until set. 

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