When my sister and I were growing up, Momma always made our holidays wonderful. The traditions, decorations, crafts, and food… Oh, the food! Holidays of my past are coated in warm, buttery memories. My mind’s eyes can still can still see her in the kitchen–apron on, stirring something, and listening to a favorite holiday song. Daddy would be close by reading the paper, drinking coffee, or rolling up his sleeves to help her in the kitchen. He was the official turkey carver and mashed potato whipper. Sweet, savory smells would wash over the house as the timer beeped and Momma clanged pots and pans together trying to reach the exact one she needed. We’d clamor into the kitchen begging to help, and she’d happily oblige by allowing us to stir and taste while she divulged some of her kitchen secrets. Yes, Momma was an amazing cook! Not only that, but she knew those moments spent together were the stuff of memories!
Holidays are a little harder now though. There is an empty place at our table where daddy once sat. And things just don’t feel the same without him. Momma still does her best to make the holidays magical though. The decorations go up and there’s no shortage of treats for my three little ones when they visit their Mimi. She still makes tremendous meals; perhaps taking a few more shortcuts than she once did.
She has also shared her recipes with us, so it’s my turn now… To put the apron on, roll up my sleeves, and make sweet memories with my kids. Today the kids and I made pumpkin pies using my momma’s recipe. Daddy used to teasingly call them her Pilgrim Pies due to the fact that she made them from scratch every year even down to cooking and straining her own pumpkins. In more recent years, she started using canned pumpkins, and I took the same shortcut today. The memories are no less sweet though. The kids and I had a wonderful time making pies together like I used to with my mother.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, I have a special treat for you! It’s my momma’s recipe for Pilgrim…I mean Pumpkin Pie. I hope you enjoy! But even more than that I hope you savor making sweet memories with your family this holiday season–in and out of the kitchen!
Sharon’s Pumpkin Pies
- 2 2/3 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 2 teaspoons cloves
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
- 6 cups cooked, strained pumpkin or canned pumpkin
- 8 eggs (plus one extra for the white portion of the egg)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups light cream or canned evaporated milk
- 4 9-inch pie shells, unbaked
Mix the sugar, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, lightly beaten eggs, and vanilla. Begin adding the milk and cream gradually. You may not need all of it. Continue adding until the pie filling reaches the desired consistency.
Brush the pie shells with egg whites. Divide the filling evenly between the four crusts, and bake each one separately in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake 40 minutes longer; or until a knife inserted near the edge of the custard comes out clean. Cool the pies at room temperature. Slice, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!
*This recipe makes four pies. My momma has always been a big believer in Southern hospitality, and making four pies each year has allowed her to share with others.