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Reader shares flavorful ‘old-fashioned’ pumpkin pie

Wed., Dec. 4, 2013

The secret to the best pumpkin pie is in the ingredients, specifically evaporated milk, dark brown sugar and dark molasses.

Lael Cifka, 89, swears by it.

She cut the recipe out of a newspaper right after World War II and has been using it ever since.

It’s for “real, old-fashioned” pumpkin pie that’s “full of flavor,” and it’s been a longtime mainstay of her holiday table.

“Anything that we’ve ever had from a store or any other source cannot compare,” Cifka said. “In my family’s opinion, it’s got to be this.”

To her, the recipe is “priceless.” She keeps the clipping attached to a 3-by-5 card, but admits, “It’s pretty well worn by now.”

It originally came from PET, a brand that makes evaporated milk.

The Hayden great-grandmother said she hasn’t seen the PET brand on shelves in the Pacific Northwest for years.

These days, her oldest son – he’s in his 60s and “quite a good cook” – makes the pie. “Before that,” Cifka said, “I always made it.”

“It has a dark look because of the molasses and the dark brown sugar, which I think makes the pie much more appetizing,” she said.

Cifka wanted to share the family favorite with another generation and recommends serving slices with real whipped cream, sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla to taste.

Top with a generous amount of chopped pecans, and it’s simply “divine,” Cifka said.

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Shared by Lael Cifka of Hayden

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

2 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, see note

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin

1 1/2 cups canned, evaporated milk

2 slightly beaten eggs

2 tablespoons dark molasses

Prepare your favorite recipe for unbaked pie crust. Press the pastry dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges, if desired. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together brown sugar, flour, spice and salt. Add in pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and molasses, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture into unbaked, pastry dough-lined pie pan. Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake about 40 minutes, or until firm in the center. Cool before serving. Serve with whipped cream and chopped pecans, if desired.

Note: Instead of pumpkin pie spice, the following mixture may be used: Combine ½ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and ground ginger, 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.

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