Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

When my wife and I were first married we had a few rough spots as I suspect all couples do. We had some minor conflicts about foibles and ways of doing things. But since we shared common values and loved each other we managed to make it through alright and many of our friends and family tell us that our marriage is one of the best they know of.

But holidays were one of the early sources of friction. First, there was the great “dressing vs. stuffing” controversy. My wife thinks that stuffing (cooked in the bird) is much tastier than dressing (cooked outside the bird). For me stuffing is an abomination since it dries out the turkey. Besides, the turkey won’t keep as well if it’s stuffed. And takes longer to cook.

We compromised. We make dressing but cook it according to the recipe her family used with bread crumbs (white and corn bread), onions, apples, olives, and Italian sausage.

As I said, my wife and I have common values. But one area in which we differ is that I grew up in a Joy of Cooking home and my wife grew up in a Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook home (along with Sunset magazine). This stands to reason since Joy is at heart a St. Louis cookbook and I’ve always felt that BH&G was a quintessential post-war California cookbook. My mom had a copy of BH&G as many brides of her age cohort must have had but I don’t recall her cooking from it.

One of the things that my wife loves and prepares from BH&G is this Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe. It’s very tasty and preserves the essence of pumpkin pie in a somewhat lighter form which it seems to me is very appropriate after the heavy Thanksgiving meal. I think the filling would also work nicely served in parfait glasses as a sort of pumpkin mousse.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ ground allspice
½ ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¾ cup milk
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
½ cup whipping cream, whipped
1 9-inch pie crust either graham-cracker or pre-baked (use your favorite recipe or use mine)

  1. Combine the first 7 ingredients a a saucepan..
  2. Stir in the milk, egg yolks, and pumpkin.
  3. Cook and stir the filling over medium heat until the mixture boils and the gelatin dissolves.
  4. Remove from the heat and chill until partially set.
  5. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  6. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the whites form stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the beaten whites into the pumpkin mixture with the whipped cream.
  8. Pile the filling into the crust.
  9. Chill until the filling is firm.

Note that, if you use a graham-cracker crust, this is a no-bake pie which can be pretty handy with all the trafficking through the oven that goes on on Thanksgiving.

I’ve added this recipe to my master list of recipes.

16 comments… add one
  • Deborah Currie

    I’m so happy you published this on line!!! I’m a Canadian living in Texas. When my husband and I got married 35 years ago I recieved a copy of the BHG cookbook at a shower and had to learn to cook from it. One of my favorite recipies is this pumpkin pie and I have made it in a big house with elecricity and I have made it in a hunt camp where we had to beat the cream by hand. Now my kitchen is packed to go home to Canada and I said I would make this pie for Thanksgiving dinner for some friends. I may have been able to wing it but I’m glad I thought to Google it. Thanks a bunch.

    Deb Currie

  • Karen Rader

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m 35, and this is the pumpkin pie recipe that my mom always made. She said that my dad didn’t like any other kind of pumpkin pie. When I got married, my mom gave me a box full of recipes, but she just referenced the page number for this pie. The recipe is not included in my newer version of the BH & G cookbook, and I’m so happy to have found it. Thanks.

  • Liz Bustamante

    I am so glad I discovered this recipe on your blog! I would have to include myself in the BHG Cohort. The new BHG cookbooks no longer include it. My oldest cookbook was from the 70s and somehow got lost in the shuffle….this is a wonderful dessert and I am going to make it for a Thanksgiving dessert get-together tomorrow. Thanks a bunch & happy Thanksgiving!

  • great recipe ideas ,I’m always interested in having a good list of surprises
    for guests etc.

  • Sarah

    Thanks so much for putting this online. I got this recipe a long time ago from a friend, but I lost it and I could not find one that was quite right since I had lost mine. Thanks so much. My husband does not like the other kind of pumpkin pie, but he loves this one.

  • Lynn

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I copied out of a BH&G cookbook that friends of my parents 25-30 years ago. Lost it about 7 years ago. My daughters love it so much that I have to make 3 or 4 so they can take some home with them. It never lasts long. I have been looking for it for all this time. It has to be the best pie I have ever tasted. Will include it in the recipe box I am making them for Christmas. I have converted a few people to pumpkin pie with this recipe.

  • Eric L

    Once again, thanks for this recipe. My grandmother always made this pie at Thanksgiving, and after she died my aunt and I started taking turns doing it. I always used my mom’s old BHG cookbook to make the recipe, but when I was going to make one of these I went to my newer version and couldn’t believe pumpkin chiffon was left out. I found some other recipes online, but I knew they didn’t look quite right. Thanks again, I will be printing this one out and putting it in our own recipe book!

  • Greytdog

    Thank you thank you thank you! I had a copy of this recipe for years – one of the first pies I ever learned to make – and forgot I had loaned the recipe card to a friend – who has since moved to England! I was frantic. . . but you’ve saved the day (and possible a friendship). Thanks!

  • Alyssa

    Thank you for this recipe. I made it when I was younger and haven’t found one like it yet. I can not believe it is not in the new Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Thank you again!!!

  • Pat Collier

    You’ve saved the day for me!!! Have made this pie every Thanksgiving for thge last 50 years. We just moved to Florida and though I took the receipe out of the old BH&G cookbook, couldn’t put my hands on it today. Just took a chance of finding the receipe on line. Many, many thanks as Thanksgiving wouldn’t have been the same without it!

  • Myron

    Ironically enough, even though the new edition of BGH doesn’t have this recipe, the new edition of “Joy of Cooking” does! It differs slightly in the cooking technique (double boiler instead of saucepan), but the grocery list is strikingly similar, which I would imagine leads to a very similar outcome. Check it out, folks!

  • Arlene

    I also add my thanks – at last the lost is found. My ‘girls’ (52 & 53) remember this pie which, along with apple pie, was a favorite. I looked and looked and wasn’t able to find it. Thank you so much!

  • Kathy

    I’ve used this recipe for years but have always replaced the graham crackers with gingersnaps for the crust (baking it just as the graham cracker crust before adding the filling). What a difference the gingersnaps gives the pie a wonderful flavor boost. Try it, you’ll like it.

  • julie

    thank you so much for putting this online! My mother gave me a Better Homes cookbook for my highschool graduation in 1970, and many of my favorite pages are stained and worn. This pumpkin pie recipe has been my tradition for 37 years of marriage, and somehow the page for this must have fallen out of my poor worn cookbook this past year or so! I thought I had it memorized, but am so glad I thought to google it! Thank you again!! I forwarded it to both my daughters, and my son!

  • Ann Julien

    The Barefoot Contessa reportedly puts a mashed banana in it too. Coincidentally i printed her recipe yesterday and was considering making it—i must have subconsciously remembered how yummy Janice’s pie is. Is it on the menu for Thursday? i am bringing stuff to make traditional pumpkin pies. So between yours and barbies and mine, i count we will have 5 maybe 6 pies.

    No such thing as too many pies 🙂

  • Mary

    So glad to find this recipe. It was a favorite from my 70’s cookbook. My family never wanted any pumpkin pie but this. I’m not at home (Pennsylvania) and my grown daughter is requesting it for our Thanksgiving dinner in El Paso. Was panicking till I found this site.
    It’s one of only a very few recipes that I can emphatically say “Don’t change a thing. It’s perfect!”
    Thank you for sharing an old favorite.

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