Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Field Trip: My Grandmother's Kitchen

I loved visiting my grandparents when I was little.  They lived in Elburn, Illinois, in a house on a wooded lot that seemed to me, a city-girl, like it was way out in the county.  Their back yard had the softest grass and the earth was always cool beneath my feet on even the hottest of days.  They had a raspberry patch in the yard that yielded quarts upon quarts upon quarts of juicy, ruby red berries which we made into jams and cobblers and jellies all summer long.  Their house always smelled like freshly baked bread (sourdough baked twice per week) and cookies (baked almost daily), and my grandmother wore an apron dusted with flour much of the day.

It was in my grandmother's kitchen that I learned to bake and to cook.  She allowed me to help with anything, and I loved being with her, chatting breezily as we measured and mixed and waited for the dough to rise.  Most families have traditional recipes -- foods that evoke family gatherings and memories of generations together.  And my family is no exception.  My cousins and I always celebrated our summer birthdays with angel food cake smothered in fresh raspberry sauce.  And each Christmas a package of lefse would arrive via FedEx from my grandparents -- a treasure worth more than gold in our house.  But there is one food which our entire family loves more than any other:  pumpkin pie.

Now, this is not your ordinary pumpkin pie.  Nope.  This is a family recipe.  The best pumpkin pie in the world.  And one of the simplest, too.

I'm baking four pies this morning to take to our church's community Thanksgiving dinner today, and since you can't smell it through your screen, I guess I just have to give you the recipe. So, here's my holiday gift for you... my family's pumpkin pie recipe.

The Livdahl Family Pumpkin Pie

1 can pumpkin
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. white sugar
1 T. plus 1 t. molasses (the secret ingredient)
1/8 t. (heaping) powdered cloves
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. ginger
1/2 heaping t. salt
3 eggs slightly beaten
1 1/3 c. scalded milk

Stir the ingredients together in the order listed and heat on the stove a bit (until it starts to thicken).  Pour into a pie crust and bake at 400* for 15 min.  Then cool the oven down to 350* and bake for 30 minutes -- until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Cooking time totally depends on your oven and the depth of your pie pan.  The real test is always the knife.

Enjoy!  And have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  What foods will you be sharing with your family this year?

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