The recipe is courtesy of the Beckett family, passed down from mother to daughter to date. Last year when Colleen (my daughter-in-law) spent her first Thanksgiving in Italy, she asked her family to send the recipe for the famous “Pumpkin Pie” of her Great Aunt Grace, a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. It was nice for her to receive a package with hard-to-find ingredients in Italy, such as molasses and evaporated milk, accompanied by a handwritten piece of paper where this was recipe was written.
We recently discovered that molasses and evaporated milk are also found in ethnic stores in Italy that have popped up here and there to respond to a population that is increasingly more cosmopolitan. I think it’s one of the positive aspects of globalization, we are now able to taste and learn about other cuisines, while maintaining our roots.
With a European pasta frolla (short crust pastry) base and typical American ingredients, we obtained a delicious combination.
Preparation time: 60 minutes | Cooking time: 80 minutes
(For 12 people)
For the base:
½ cup flour (type 00, cake flour, or all-purpose flour)
1 cup of sugar
9 tablespoons of butter
1 egg yolk
½ lemon (grated lemon rind)
⅓ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Work the flour with the salt and cold butter in a bowl. Cut into chunks and add the lemon zest.
When the butter and flour are well incorporated, add the sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, and a ½ tablespoon of cold water and mix. The dough will be non-homogeneous.
Combine the ingredients in the palm of your hand and form a ball.
Repeat three times, the dough will become smooth. Let stand for about 30 minutes to cool.
MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE FILLING:
15 oz. steamed sugar pumpkin
¾ cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 ½ tablespoons melted butter
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
½ tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
a pinch of salt
Clean a sugar pumpkin, cut it into chunks, and steam it for about 10 minutes.
Blend the steamed pumpkin in a bowl with the dark brown sugar, pumpkin pie spices, and a pinch of salt.
Beat the eggs then whisk in the dark molasses, melted butter, and evaporated milk, stirring constantly.
Combine the two mixtures into a single bowl.
At this point turn, heat the oven to 450°F.
Take the ball of dough and placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
Grease a baking dish with a little butter. Place the base of dough inside and form a high rim. Pour the mixture.
Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325°F. Continue cooking for about an hour and 15 minutes, checking after 45 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean, the pie is ready.
Remove from the oven and serve cold with puffs of whipped cream.