Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Is everyone sick of pumpkin-filled things yet? I think it’s some sort of North American rule that we need to consume pumpkin baked goods from Canadian Thanksgiving until American Thanksgiving. Even if that isn’t the official rule, it seems to me the accepted, unspoken rule.

I found a variation on pumpkin pie from one of my old cookbooks that involves gelatin and beating egg whites to stiff peaks, and I thought to myself, Now this looks like it has needless amounts of wrist work and painfully long setting times! Where do I sign up?

As thrilling as that sounds, I had genuinely hoped this would be a delicious take on traditional pumpkin pie. Or perhaps something like a pumpkin mousse pie. But no. I had issues with it.

Most of my issues with this pie are egg related. I guess I just don’t like uncooked egg whites in things, but where I was expecting the pie filling to be mousse-like, it was foamy instead. And I’m not sure if there was some bit of egg yolk in the filling that wasn’t blended thoroughly, or if there was a chunk of not-fully-dissolved gelatin in it, but I had a mouthful of pie that contained something distinctly stringy and protein-like. It was unpleasant.

Also, I should probably note that I felt sick for the rest of the evening after eating some of this pie. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe it’s just my mind telling me that I should be sick and making it so in an unfair and sad nocebo effect. Or maybe it’s the fact that there are were three lukewarm, re-chilled raw eggs in this pie filling. We may never know. All I know is that I was swigging Pepto Bismol for the rest of the night like it was chalky, pink whiskey.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

  1. Mix 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin, ½ cup of sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger together thouroughly in the top of a double boiler.
  2. Beat together 3 egg yolks and ¾ cup milk; add gelatin mixture. Add 1¼ cups canned pumpkin. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until gelatin is thoroughly dissolved, about 10 minutes.
  3. Chill until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon.
  4. Beat 3 egg whites until stiff; beat in ½ cup sugar. Fold in gelatin mixture.
  5. Turn into 9-inch baked pie shell or crumb crust. Chill until firm.
  6. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

The recipe featured in this post is from the Gel-Cookery Recipe Book, published as a promotional booklet by Knox Gelatine (Canada) Ltd. in 1959.

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

6 replies on “Morbid Curiosity: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie”

Um, my Mum definitely owns the Gel-Cookery Cookbook (we inherited it from my Nana) but has never made anything out of it.  Speaking of gelatin, my jiu jitsu dojo is next to a gelatin factory… tonight at practice was a particularly gelatin-smelling night. Consequently I got a tad queasy reading this. :-P

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