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Pie 14 Illinois' Pumpkin Pie

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

If there was ever a time to make Pumpkin Pie this is it. With Thanksgiving a week away I knew my next pie had to be ILLINOIS’ Pumpkin Pie. My husband spent part of his childhood in Rockford, IL. We’ve been back to visit his parents many times and have spent vacations in the great city of Chicago, but neither of us knew the significance of the pumpkin pie to the Prairie State. To my Friends and Family from Illinois this pie is for you.

In 2015 Illinois declared the Pumpkin Pie the official state pie. The town of Morton, IL calls themself the Pumpkin Capital of the World, celebrating with a yearly pumpkin festival, all things pumpkin. So how did this pumpkin notoriety begin? In 1835 Elijah Dickinson moved from Kentucky to Illinois bringing along his prized pumpkin seeds. Dickinson Pumpkins are actually larger in size, have a thinner skin than traditional pumpkins, and have more pulp, or ‘meat,’ that is useable. Illinois would provide the ideal climate for these to grow. 120 hot summer days without too much rain. Elijah started a canning company, selling canned pumpkin purée. Looking to provide his customers with some baking inspiration, Elijah added his Grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie recipe to the can, the first ‘Libby’s Pumpkin Pie.’ In 1929, at the start of the Great Depression, Elijah sold his canning facility to Libby. Today, Libby still uses ‘Dickinson Pumpkins.’ Farmers in Illinois are contracted to grow the pumpkins and Libby brings in a crew to harvest them. The pumpkins are picked and processed in less than 24 hours. Around 90% of pumpkins consumed in the US come from Illinois.

Painting leaves to decorate the pie using food gel and a little clear vanilla

Frosted Cranberries are a beautiful touch to holiday pies

Have you ever thought much about your Thanksgiving meal? I’m always so interested in the history of food, who’s idea was it up put the crispy onions in the green bean casserole? Yum! It’s amazing to me how the concept of pumpkin pie has been around for so long. The early colonists removed the seeds of the pumpkin, filled it with milk, spices, and honey and baked it in warm ashes. The first published recipe resembling today’s pumpkin pie appeared in Americas first cookbook, ‘American Cookery, by an American Orphan,’ in 1796. Next week over 50 million pumpkin pies will be consumed in the US. I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving Table without this heirloom dessert. I am definitely a pumpkin pie fan and this Easy Pumpkin Pie recipe from Taste of Home did not disappoint. Of course I had to use Libby’s pumpkin purée. This recipe is different than the one I usually make, it calls for maple syrup and maple extract. At first the filling seemed very liquidy, but it baked up perfectly. I was even able to avoid the crack in the center of the pie. My husband, who is not a pumpkin pie fan, actually liked this one, he said it had more flavor than other pumpkin pies he’s had. The recipe uses less spices which allows you to really taste the richness of the pumpkin. This classic, creamy, perfection of a pie will definitely be present on my Thanksgiving table. The history and tradition of pumpkin pie continues on.

Me and My Hubby- Chicago

The kiddos- Field Museum, Chicago

*Originally Published November 22,2019

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