Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie
I write a lot about my grandmother on this blog and for good reason. She’s an amazing cook who, next to my mother, influenced my culinary sensibilities the most. This is a woman who, for better or for worse*, defines herself almost entirely by her ability to make and serve delicious food for her family and community. My grandfather was the best fed man from the moment he met my grandmother until the day he died. When my grandmother lost her eyesight several years ago, she initially was dejected by her worries that she wouldn’t be able to cook and bake anymore. Wouldn’t you know, her desire to be in the kitchen was so great that she somehow taught herself how to cook by touch alone. She hasn’t used a recipe or a precise measuring device since but you wouldn’t know it because everything she makes is still perfect.
*I mention worse because she recently nearly put herself in the hospital because she, at 90 years of age, was bending over and peeling bushels upon bushels of granny smith apples to make jars of her famous apple pie filling that she puts up every autumn to use for pies at the church’s fundraiser turkey supper and pie stand at the town’s 4th of July celebration. Her poor old back just couldn’t handle it, and she was in a great deal of pain and experiencing a lot of nasty problems from all the bending and had to be forced to give up her paring knife.
I grew up with my grandmother’s delicious pumpkin pie and was doomed to despise all other pumpkin pies in the world once I left home. You see, my grandmother’s pumpkin pie does not have a crust. It is simply the most moist and delicious custard you can possibly imagine, baked to perfection directly in the pie plate. No, it’s not fair to judge all other pumpkin pies by this one, but it can’t be helped once you’ve tasted the unadulterated pumpkin-y-ness of this version.
Every visit home, since the day I left for college, has been an opportunity for my grandmother to bake me a batch (nearly always at least two and sometimes three!) of pumpkin pies to take back with me. I can’t say I’ve ever protested (at least not with any real sincerity), though really I probably should have when asked to eat three pies all by myself! Hmmm, yes, well…
Nowadays I have D to help me eat them, and he loves them just as much as me. This led to a serious depletion in my annual pumpkin pie consumption, one that could not be tolerated any longer. So, I asked for my grandmother’s coveted pumpkin pie recipe and, just like my mother’s mac and cheese, I undertook making it my own with equal parts uncertainty and determination. Wouldn’t you know, this has turned out to be probably the easiest recipe on this entire blog and I didn’t bother to do a thing with it as it actually tastes just like my grandmother’s when I make it myself.
This pie is absolutely best when served with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. But don’t be ashamed if you find yourself grabbing a fork and the entire pie to sit in front of the TV and eat it straight from the pan. Yes, I have done that. Don’t laugh or raise your collective eyebrows at me until you’ve made this pie. Then you’ll understand.
Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 C. milk
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. bisquik mix
1/4 C. soft butter
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 C. pureed roasted pumpkin
1/4 t. salt
2 t. pumpkin pie spice mix
1 T. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare two deep dish pie pans (glass works best) by buttering and dusting with flour. Set aside.
Blend all ingredients together in a mixer on high speed. Pour into prepared pie pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pies comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
(makes 2 pies)