Okay, now that we know what some truly historical pumpkin pies were like, I'm moving on to a much more recent historical style I love to gawk at-- '70s health foods. What did pumpkin pie look like in the age of alfalfa sprouts and granola?
The Rodale Cookbook by Nancy Albright (copyright 1972, although mine is from the 1977 printing) suggests this:
This might count as a pie, but barely.... No rich cream to make a luscious, velvety filling-- just a half cup of skim milk powder. Will it be sweet? With a quarter cup of honey and a tablespoon of molasses for the whole pie, it certainly won't be cloying. It's probably less of a dessert than the marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes served as a side dish at less health-conscious gatherings.
You might wonder about the suggested barley-oat crust. Wonder no more:
It's barley and oat flour held together with oil. (Or make it with whole wheat flour instead! Variety!) I'm sure it wouldn't be flaky, but at least it would probably be tender (and, as most '70s health food, heavy).
If you think this pie is spartan, at least it offers a crust. Gary Langrede's Tofu Goes West (1978) suggests getting rid of the crust entirely and using a special ingredient to make the concoction thick and creamy. (Given the book's title, I'll bet you have no idea what that ingredient might be!)
Yep-- tofu! And this has double the nonfat milk powder of the other recipe for double the goodness! At least this should be sweeter with a full cup of honey... and some orange juice. (The idea of oranges in a pumpkin pie just doesn't seem quite right to me, but maybe it would add some much-needed brightness to cut through all the tofu and powdered milk?)
These are not exactly swaying me from my original conviction that impossible pumpkin pie is the retro pie to make!