Pumpkin Pie and Custards

Pumpkin Pie and Custards, adapted from Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie

My grandmother asked me to bake a pumpkin pie at the last minute on Christmas Eve.  Despite my protests to try something less pedestrian, she handed over her recipe and the ingredients and I got to work.

The recipe was just copied from a can of Libby’s canned pumpkin, but there were two additions written in that I neglected to notice at first.  At the end of the recipe she had noted to add a shot of whiskey and 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the filling mixture.  I had already prepared the filling and poured it into the pie shell when I noticed this, so I asked her if I could omit these ingredients.

It was as if I had asked if I could omit chocolate chips from Toll House cookies: “No! You MUST add the whiskey and butter!  My grandmother said that is what makes a great pumpkin pie!”

So, I poured the filling back into the bowl, added the whiskey and butter, and poured the filling back into the pie shell, grumbling the whole time.  But you know what?  My great-great-grandmother was right.  That was a damn good pumpkin pie, even though it started with the same plain old recipe millions of people follow to make their pumpkin pies every holiday season.

The recipe makes way too much filling for one pie, so I poured the additional filling into custard cups for some snack-sized treats.

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