The Story of Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Image By Brent Hofacker

Give Me Pie!

Is anyone else getting excited for the holidays and all of the glorious pie-baking that comes with it? I love pumpkin pie— provided that it’s my dad’s pumpkin pie! Store-bought pie has never done it for me. I’m not sure what bit of magic he sprinkles into the batter, but eating his fresh pumpkin pie is always a highlight. I would ask him for his recipe, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him use one! As you have probably already gathered, pie has been on my mind a lot recently and it has had me thinking: where did pumpkin pie originate? After doing a bit of digging, I’m here to tell you the story.

Thanksgiving Pie

It would be very nearly impossible for us to pinpoint the creator of dessert we know and love today, we can make some assumptions about when it likely came about. While there are earlier reports of using pumpkins in a variety of ways, it wasn’t until 1653 that we see a recipe by the French chef Francois Pierre la Varenne that instructs readers to boil pumpkin in milk and add it into a pie crust. In 1670 England, a writer named Hannah Woolley talks about a pie consisting of pumpkin and apple along with fragrant herbs such as rosemary and thyme. Pumpkin pies grew in popularity in New England during the 18th century and became part of their Thanksgiving feast. It is believed that in 1705, a town in Connecticut postponed their Thanksgiving celebration by a week because there wasn’t enough molasses to make their pies with. Furthermore, a recipe published in Amelia Simmons’ “American Cookery” cookbook contained a pumpkin pie recipe very similar to the custard version we indulge in today. Her cookbook was published in 1796 and was the first “American” cookbook to be published. It seems the pumpkin pie has gone through many evolutions!


Learning of the many different ways that pumpkin has been used over the years has opened my mind to new possibilities. An apple and pumpkin pie sounds amazing to me! Whether you stick to the classic custard version or mix it up in some way, I hope you find yourself enjoying the magic of baking this season!

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About Cali Naughton

Cali Naughton graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. She joined the marketing team at Empower Brokerage in the spring of 2021 as a marketing specialist and the department photographer.

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