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When Pumpkin Pies were called Pumpion Pies

Updated on November 11, 2015

It is very interesting how the early settlers cooked and baked compared to our ways to bake with modern day appliances.

Early Settlers, Native American Tribes, French Chef and Author, and English Cooks had different ways to make their version of pumpkin or pumpion pies.


Sure ovens did not exist way back in 1621. Not exactly what modern day considers an oven, but what about hot ashes, the heat rising, surrounding, slowly simmering, smoking, frying and sizzling the food that the settlers wanted to eat. These hot ashes served a purpose, and a good one at that, leading the way to serving fresh pumpkin pie, for the festivities and traditional family gatherings on Thanksgiving Day for many years to follow.

The early settlers way back in 1621, (The European Settlement), would clean (shell, remove the seeds) a pumpkin, add milk, honey, and spices to the pumpkin, they would place the prepared pumpkin and place it on hot ashes.. The pilgrims, were indeed, very amazing people.

The Native Americans tribes grew squash and pumpkins. They would roast or boil them for eating. These Native Americans brought pumpkins as gifts to the first settlers, taught them the many ways and uses for pumpkins. The teachings to the settlers, from Native American tribes, developed in the pumpkin pies, 50 years after the first Thanksgiving in America. Very Interesting.


In 1651, FRANCOIS PIERRE la VARENNE, a famous chef and author of the most important cookbook of the 17th century called, "LE VRAI CUISINIER FRANCOIS", (The True French Cook), it held the recipe for a pumpkin pie that included the pastry. AMAZING

"TORTE OF PUMPKIN - Boile it with good milk, pass it trough 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. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve."

(Notice the amounts are not listed)


By the 1670's recipes were appearing in the English cookbooks:,

"THE QUEEN-LIKE CLOSET" by Hannah Wooley, 1670:

"To make a Punpion-Pie - Take a Punpion, (pumpkin) pare it, and cut in thin slices, dip it in beaten Eggs and Herbs shred small, and fry it till it be enough, then lay in into a Pie with Butter, Raisins, Currans, Sulgar, Sack, and in the bottom some sharp Apples, when it is baked, butter it and serve it in."

"THE COMPLEAT COOK" by W.M., 1671:

"Pumpion Pie - Take about halfe a pound of Pumpion and slice it, a handful of Tyme, a little Rosemary, Parsley and sweet Marjoram slipped off the stalks, and chop them small, then take Cinamon, Nutmeg, Pepper, and six Cloves, and beat them: take ten Eggs and beat them; then mix them, and beat them all together; and put in as much Sugar as you would think fit, then fry them like a froiz; after, it is fryed, let it stand till it be cold, then fill your pye, take sliced Apples thinne round ways, and lay in a row of the Froiz, and layer of Apples with Currans betwixt, the layer while your Pye is fitted, and put in a good deal of sweet butter before you close it; when the Pye is baked, take six yolks of Eggs, some white-wine or Verjuyce, & make a Caulde of this, but not too thick; cut up Lid and put it in. stir them well together whilst the Egg and Pumpions be not perceived, and so serve it up."

(Notice 50 years later, from 1621, the amounts of ingredients not listed

Research on the word FROIZ, in the recipe, could not be found. The crust maybe, not sure?

Four hundred years, plus; still going, Thanksgiving Day, is not only pumpkin pies, to keep that day, each year a memory, but the warmth, laughter, excitement of being together with family, friends and neighbors, thankfulness for all given and shared.


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    • Bidd Waxx profile image

      Barb Schindel 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you, it is a pleasure reading your comments and writings

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That kind of information is always fascinating to me, so thanks for it. As for the writing, I'm always looking for an interesting introduction, and you supplied it. A job well-done!

    • Bidd Waxx profile image

      Barb Schindel 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you. You are good writer, you should bring that out

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 3 years ago from India

      Happy to go through this, there is history for every fruit and vegetable too. I have some gathered and may be i will come up with all the info and will present a hub for each in here.