Norfolk Million Pie
A traditional Norfolk recipe for Pumpkin Pie
For the October issue, the Village kitchen decided to combine a little bit of Norfolk Folk lore with a recipe that will surprise many.
"Million" is the old word for melon, pumpkin or, indeed, any kind of gourde vegetable. Although this dish is now made with marrow, its original ingredient was pumpkin. This pie crossed the Atlantic to the new World with the Pilgrim Fathers, who came mostly from East Anglia; and Pumpkin Pie was served at the Thanksgiving dinner for their first harvest in the New World. Americans eat the pie at least once a year in honour of their founding fathers. Although the pumpkin has gone out of fashion in England, its memory lives on in this old Norfolk recipe.
8 oz (225 g) shortcrust pastry (see below)
1 lb (450 g) pumpkin with peel and seeds removed, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) slices)
1/2 pint (275 / 300 ml) water
2 oz (50 g) apricot, plum or greengage jam
11/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 oz (25 g) currants or raisins
Boil the pumpkin pieces in the water, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until they are soft (This should take about 10 minutes). Drain and cool.
Roll out the pastry and use it to line an 8 in (20 cm) flat tin or pie plate. Trim the edges of the pastry and keep the trimmings.
Spread the pastry case with a thin layer of jam.
Add the egg, sugar and most of the nutmeg to the cooled pumpkin and beat together with a fork or in a blender until smooth.
Mix in the dried fruit then spread the mixture in the pastry case, on top of the jam.
6. Sprinkle the rest of the nutmeg on a lattice of pastry strips cut from the pastry trimmings.
Bake in the pre-heated oven (200 degreesC ,400 degreesF or Gas mark 6) for 10 - 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 180 degreesC, 350 degreesF, Gas mark 4 and cook for a further 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve hot with thick cream, or cold on its own.
8 oz (225 g) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz (50 g) lard
2 oz (50 g) margarine
About 2 tablespoons cold water
Sieve the flour and the salt into a bowl.
Cut the fat into 1/2 in (1.5 cm) cubes and distribute evenly over the flour.
Rub the fat lightly into the flour with your fingertips, lifting up the mixture while rubbing to keep it as cool and airy as possible. Continue rubbing until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add water gradually while you stir it in with a knife. Use just enough water to produce a soft but not sticky dough.
Turn out the dough on to a floured surface and roll once only to the thickness required. The pastry will be heavy if you roll it too much
The Village Kitchen