Making Pumpkin Cream Pies

My mom has been making this recipe for pumpkin cream pies for as long as I can remember. It’s been handed down for several generations. It’s the only pumpkin pie I’ll eat. We only make them at Thanksgiving, primarily due to the time they take to prepare.  The filling must be stirred over heat for 90 minutes and then allowed to cool down for two hours.

And tonight, stirring the pumpkin pies was task Kim felt I could handle.

Only once during those 90 minutes did I scream when a blob of super hot pumpkin filling bubbled out of the pan and onto my bare knee. I must have made quite a racket because Kim ran up the stairs thinking I’d dumped the pan on the floor. I guess my small knee blister won’t be getting much sympathy.


A day or two before Thanksgiving 2001, I called my mother to get the pie recipe and I wrote down the above measurements.

My four year old daughter’s penmanship is more legible than this mess. I received low marks in penmanship back in grade school, and I’ve done nothing since then to prove them wrong. And who spells ‘yolks’ correctly the first time anyway?

Stirring pies brings back a lot of good memories. My mom would pull up a chair and keep me company which made the time go by faster. I’d stir for an hour and feel certain the filling was finished cooking. I’d ask if cranking up the heat would reduce the cooking time (it doesn’t). My mom would make the crusts by hand, but she never felt they looked very good. I’d tell her the only thing that mattered was how they taste. And they always tasted so very good.

Finally, at around the 85 minute mark, mom would take the oversized wooden spoon from my tired hands. She’d fill the spoon full of filling and turn it over. If it hung for a second or two, it was done. I usually had to stir for a few more minutes until mom ran the same test again. Although I’d question her rulings, I never once convinced her to pull the pan off the burner prematurely.

It was fun to chat with Kim tonight as we both took turns stirring the last 15 minutes. Our kids will devourer the pies topped with whipped cream tomorrow.

I doubt they will understand it’s now 4 am, and I just put the four finished pies in the fridge. Covered by 4 squares of wax paper.

Just like my mom taught me.

5 thoughts on “Making Pumpkin Cream Pies

  1. Well, I’m not one for pie but I’m sure I’d savour each bite of yours. What a labour of love. I don’t think I would EVER do that. What were you doing to occupy your multi-tasker’s mind? TV?

    I have NEVER made a pie. I don’t understand how some people can love pie crust that much. It’s just a shell to hold good stuff, as far as I’m concerned (and unless it’s a tart lemon meringue, it’s not that “good”). You’d never see me munching on a pie crust. It’s just dry, and flavourless. Not sweet at all or even salty. I don’t understand….


  2. Didn’t your church leaders ever talk to you about the evil ways of pumpkin. You don’t remember those lessons from the Strength of Youth?
    Everybody knows pumpkin is a gateway addiction to something far more sinister: candied yams.


  3. We had relatives over for Thanksgiving and out of courtesy (also because I was full and playing Xbox 360) I waited until everyone else got their dessert. Little did I know that when I finally got up to get my dessert, that’s when people started to leave, taking their respective dishes home. That included a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc. We were left with the turkey drumsticks and I found one piece of pumpkin pie left in the fridge the next day. I think next year, regardless of who makes or brings what for Thanksgiving, we should still make everything ourselves the next day so we don’t miss out on the awesome left overs.


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