September 28, 2015
By: Celia Shantz

 

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my gramma Millie. She is a woman of faith, she is loving and caring, and she was always cooking or baking something fantastic in her kitchen. She truly is beautiful inside and out.When I was a young girl she was someone that I looked up to and aspired to be, and still do today.

Throughout my teenage years I would visit my gramma once a week and get her to teach me how to cook or bake something new. Who better to teach me than a woman who has spent 75 years perfecting Mennonite cooking?

When asked to pick a squash for our fall squash challenge I jumped at the chance to take home a pie pumpkin. I quickly got on the phone with my gramma and asked her to come help me. After all, Mennonite pies are the best pies!

We spent the morning talking, singing silly little songs and of course baking.

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Beautiful locally grown pumpkins!

First we washed our pumpkins. Then I watched as my tiny 80 year old gramma smashed the tops of the pumpkins against the counter to break off the stems. As we cleaned out the inside seeds and goop, my gramma said “I grew up in the Great Depression you know, we saved those seeds and roasted them!” But another recipe, for another time.

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Gramma Millie scooping out pumpkin seeds

After we finished chopping up all of the pumpkin we put it in a pot, half filled with water and let it boil. While waiting for our squash to cook we made the crust. There are lots of different recipes you can use for this. I eat gluten free so I use the Glutino Perfect Pie Crust flour mix. But here is my gramma’s recipe:

Gramma Millie’s Perfect Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of Crisco
  • pinch of salt
  1. 1. Mix all ingredients together with hands
  2. 2. Add tablespoons of water as needed so it sticks together but isn’t too sticky
  3. 3. Flour your counter and your ball of dough and roll out with your rolling pin
  4. 4. Makes 2 pies

 

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Crimping the edges of the pie crust

I always loved the way my gramma crimps the edge of her pies. You use two fingers and just pinch all the way around the outside of the pie.

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Crimping the edges of the pie always makes it look more homemade

Once the crust is made, and the pumpkin is cooked it’s time to make the filling! Mix together in a bowl the pumpkin, sugar, milk, cornstarch (or flour if preferred), eggs, and spices. Pour your filling into the crust and sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Bake the pie for 45 minutes at 375F

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Two Zehr girls proud of their old fashioned Mennonite pumpkin pie

Once finished serve your pie with fresh whipping cream, or as me and my gramma prefer, vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!

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Pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh mashed pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (or flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  1. 1. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl
  2. 2. Fill pie crust
  3. 3. Sprinkle with lots of cinnamon
  4. 4. Bake at 375F for 45 min
  5. 5. Wait until cooled and enjoy with fresh whipping cream or ice cream!