Pumpkins are such multi-purpose entities. Cinderella’s fairy godmother turned a giant pumpkin into a lavish carriage. Children annually carve pumpkins into Halloween jack-o-lanterns, which one can often observe rotting on porch steps across America around mid-November. As members of the gourd family, pumpkins can be fashioned into many an instrument.
Alas, this same large mass that makes them ideal for ornamental and musical purposes is also used to the advantage of car vandalizers. But it’s not the pumpkin’s fault for having a bulky frame. The pumpkin is inherently good, useful, and delicious. Especially delicious. Our orange, fleshy friend has many scrumptious uses, ranging from pumpkin butter to pumpkin pie.
The latter is unequivocally the best idea throughout all pumpkin use history. Perhaps I’m biased; I did, after all, have the luxury of knowing the best pumpkin-pie-maker in the world (i.e. Grandma).
Unfortunately, this pumpkin-pie-making, adventure-seeking, bulb-nosed, hard-headed, and overall anomaly of a woman passed away a few weeks ago. So numerous were the lives she touched that they couldn’t possibly fit within the acres of fields she farmed.
Since she parted from this earthly existence, she left behind a legacy like no other. And one small, yet ever important fragment of this legacy was her pumpkin pie. Everyone has been searching frantically for her recipe, hoping to be able to replicate a confection that would lend, on each tastebud, a gastronomical memory of Grandma.
I’ll first and foremost inform you that my grandmother rarely kept written record of her recipes. Many of them sat in the confines of her mind, like mental cookbooks whose pages could be flipped to with fluid ease.
While sorting through things in her kitchen, one of her extremely antiquated cookbooks was found. It was here that I decided to begin my taste-testing journey to find her famous pumpkin pie recipe – a recipe that was as big in reputation as it was on flavor. Sadly, my first trial pumpkin pie recipe from this book was not the same. That’s not to say it wasn’t delicious, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Once I find the original recipe, I feel compelled to share that vestige of my grandmother. The world would be better with her pumpkin pie.
And from the better place she’s in, she would be proud to know people everywhere could have a taste of her legacy.
Crustless No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie (gluten-free and reduced sugar)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup Stevia (or sugar, if you so desire)
- 1-1/4 cups pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 envelope (1 Tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- With an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and Stevia until thick. Add pumpkin, milk, salt, and spices.
- Soften gelatin in cold water. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, cook pumpkin mixture over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened (about 10 minutes). Cool pumpkin mixture.
- Stir together gelatinous mixture and cooled pumpkin mixture until well-incorporated.
- Whip egg whites, adding sugar gradually, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into pumpkin mixture.
- Pour into pie pan and chill in refrigerator overnight, or until set.