Hometown Cooking with Jenny Holiday
Hi! I’m Jenny Holiday. My grandma’s pumpkin chiffon pie makes an appearance at pretty much every Holiday family holiday (ha! get it?). Unlike straight up pumpkin with its dense, in-your-face presence, this is a light, airy, custardy delight straight out of the 1960s. People, it’s like eating a pumpkin cloud. AND WHO DOESN’T WANT TO EAT A PUMPKIN CLOUD?
Like all the best family recipes, there one comes with some mystery, namely WHY DOES IT NOT THICKEN WHEN THE RECIPE SAYS IT WILL? Alas, my grandmother isn’t around to ask anymore, and everyone just sort of gives it their best shot and the pie always turns out just fine.
Visit my blog for some action shots as well as some adjustments for the gluten-free among us:
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin
½ cup milk
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
Separate eggs. Beat yolks slightly. Add 2 cup sugar, pumpkin, salt, milk, and spices. Cook until thick in a double boiler, about 20 minutes. (IT WILL NOT GET THICK, DUDES. I just let it cook and be hot/simmer but watch closely so as not to scramble the eggs. Soften gelatin in water. Add to the pumpkin mixture. Mix thoroughly and cool. Beat egg whites, and toward the end of the beating, add ½ cup sugar. Beat until stiff. When pumpkin mixture begins to thicken (BECAUSE OF THE JELLO!), fold in the egg whites. (Yes, there are uncooked eggs in this recipe. Rocky Balboa did it, and you can, too.) Pour into a previously-baked pie shell. I think my grandma left things here, but the recipe has evolved in subsequent generations to add one final step: When cool, top with a layer of whipped cream to which a pinch of cinnamon and sugar to taste has been added. Chill.