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A Brief History of Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkins are native to the New World and their earliest relatives can be traced back 9,000 years to Mexico.  Over time, various forms of the vegetable migrated to the northeast United States, adapting to a cooler climate.  Related to squashes, cucumbers and cantaloupes, pumpkins and their seeds were both a food and medicinal ingredient of Native Americans, who called them 'isquotm squash.'  Typically prepared by cutting into strips and drying or roasting on coals over an open fire, this autumn squash was an important staple of winter survival.   


The first version of pumpkinpie originated when British colonists sliced off the top of the pumpkin, removed its seeds, and filled the hollow with milk, spices, and honey.  Baked in hot ashes, the end result was a sort of pudding rather than a pie.  When the pumpkin migrated across the Atlantic, it acquired its current name.  The English term for pumpkin originated with the Greek word 'pepon,' or 'cooked by the sun.' The French version, 'pompon,' became the English 'pumpion,' a form found in Shakespeare's 'Merry Wives of Windsor.'


The 17th century French chef François Pierre La Varenne is credited with developing the first recipe for a “pompion” torte around 1650, complete with a pastry crust.  English recipes including various dried fruits and nuts in the filling later followed La Varenne’s prototype.  It was only a century and a half thereafter, in 1796, that a dessert similar to modern pumpkin pie was created in the United States.


Don't forget to order enough of The Bunnery's famously delicious pumpkin pies to get you through the Thanksgiving weekend!  We only make them during the holiday season, so place your order no later than November 19th for Thanksgiving pickup at the restaurant.


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