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Spice pumpkin pie

[Day of the Dead skeleton farmer with his Halloween pumpkins: 10k]

Make your pie crust edge as high as possible because the pumpkin filling puffs up while it's cooking, although it falls back down as it cools. To make one 9-inch pie (22.5 cm diameter, I don't know what the standard size is in metric utensils):

Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl:

16 oz. (480 ml) cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 can, about 13 to 15 oz. (480 ml) of either evaporated or condensed milk
3/4 cups (168 gr) brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1 1/4 teaspoon (6.25 ml) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground cloves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brandy or rum flavoring (optional)
1 cup (224 gr) walnut or pecan halves (optional)

Place nuts in single layer on the bottom of an unbaked, high edged pie crust. Pour in the filling.

Bake in the middle of a 400 degree F (190 degrees C) oven for 45 - 60 minutes, until a knife inserted halfway between the center and the edge of the crust comes out clean. If crust starts to brown too much, cover the pie lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil while it finishes baking. This pie may take up to 1 1/2 hours to bake, depending on your oven and the altitude.

Figure 1: Gentleman Farmer with Jack 'o Lanterns. Order Carolyn Leigh's Day of the Dead skeleton prints at CarolynLeigh.com

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Squashes and gourds appear as some of the earliest of the cultivated plants in the New World. They were part of the agricultural complex in the high valleys of central Mexico as early as 3400 to 2300 B.C. and present in the Basketmaker culture of the North American Southwest by 217 A.D. American Indian and Mexican families continue to raise crops of squash, including pumpkins. Pumpkin is boiled for harvest eating, dried for the winter or made into a very sweet pumpkin candy found in Mexican and New Mexican markets in the fall.

[2 Jack 'o Lanterns carved from pumpkins: 9k]

Anglo-Americans adapted pumpkins into their English culture. Jack 'o Lanterns are carved and displayed on Halloween, an acculturated form of All Hallows Eve. Instead of bonfires on hillsides to turn the shortening days of the winter back towards spring, parents in the United States put candles in the carved pumpkins which gleam cheerfully and wickedly out of the windows while their children go out in costumes into the neighborhood to "trick or treat" for candy and other treats.

After Halloween, the pumpkins are cut up, boiled and mashed for pumpkin pie. In the Southern United States, sweet potatoes or yams are used instead to make a sweet potato pie. The British make a lot of meat pies, but United States pies are usually made of fruits, nuts or in this case, a vegetable. Pumpkin pie is traditional at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in the United States.

During colonial times, the trade in the spices (cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg) was controlled by the trading companies and ships of the Dutch and Portuguese who dominated the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Sugar cane is believed to have originated in New Guinea from wild pitpit cane. This is an internationally flavored pie.

American Indian information from American Indian Food and Lore, 150 Authentic Recipes by Carolyn Niethammer, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1974. Excellent botanical and ethnographical information plus recipes for both wild and cultivated plants.

Recipe toc or browse Alamos lime pie | Blue corn posole stew | Boiled peanuts or soybeans | Chargrilled Atlantic salmon | Chocolate sour cream cake | Chutneys | Curried pumpkin soup | Eggplant parmesan | Flo Chang's fish recipes | Lemon basil salsa | Pasepa Swann's Fiji curry | Picadillo chili dip | Pie crust | Sepik River patrol curry | Slow-roast lamb | Smoked salmon soufflé with dill | Spice pumpkin pie | Sweet potato spread | Sweet rice | Tamale pie | Winter squash: acorn maple | Winter squash: butternut ginger

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